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Vvvvacuum with Vicky

Vvvvacuum with Vicky

Emergent Literacy Lesson

Courtney Boyd


Rationale: This activity will help children identify /v/, the phoneme represented by V. Students will learn to hear and recognize /v/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (vacuum) and the letter symbol V, practice finding /v/ in words and apply phoneme awareness with /v/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.

Materials: Primary paper, pencil; chart with tongue tickler “Vicky vacuumed while on vacation in Virginia.” Picture of vacuum, drawing paper, and crayons; Dr. Seuss’s ABC (Random House, 1963) Word cards with VEST, VAN, WOW, VINE, VOTE, CASE; assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /v/ (URL below).


1.    Say: Our written language is a secret code. Our mouth moves differently as we say words. Today we are going to work on spotting our mouth as it moves when we say /v/. We spell /v/ with the letter V. When we say /v/ it sounds like a vacuum cleaner when it gets turned on.

2.    Lets pretend we are vacuuming the floor, /v/, /v/, /v/. [Pantomime vacuuming] Do you notice how your mouth moves to make /v/? When we say /v/ our top teeth are pressed against our bottom lip and they vibrate together to make /v/. You are pressing air out against your teeth and lip.

3.    Let me show you how to find /v/ in the word shave. I am going to stretch shave out in slow motion and listen for my vacuum. Ss-sh-a-v-e. Slower: Ss-sh-a-a-vvv-e there it was! I felt my teeth against my bottom lip and it vibrates as I said shave. I can feel the vacuum /v/ in shave.

4.    Now that’s try a tongue tickler [on chart]. “Vicky vacuumed while on vacation in Virginia.” Everyone lets say it three times together. Now say it again and stretch out the /v/ at the beginning of the words. “Vvvicky vvacuumed while on vvvacation in Vvvirgina.” Lets try it one more time, this time break it off the word: “/v/icky /v/acuumed while on /v/acation in /v/irgina.”

5.    Tell students to take out some primary paper and a pencil. We use the letter V to spell /v/. Capital V looks like two fingers making the peace sign. Lets write the lowercase letter v. Start at the fence and draw a diagonal line down to the sidewalk (keeping in mind holding the peace sign on your fingers) and then continue it back up to the fence. I want to see everyone’s v. After I check and give you a smiley face, I want to see nine more just like it.

6.    Ask students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /v/ in vet or pet? Face or vase? Fine or vine? Prove or smooth? Groove or lose? Say: Lets see if you can spot the mouth move /v/ in some words.  Use your vacuum when you hear /v/: The, fine, hive, verb, best, have, wall, love, shave.

7.    Say: “Lets look at an alphabet book. Dr. Seuss tells us about a little girl who is not very good at playing her violin. Can you guess what her name is? Read the V page, drawing out /v/. Ask students if they can think of other words with /v/. Ask them to make up a silly name and instrument like Vera Violet Vinn. Then have the students write their silly name with invented spelling and draw a picture of their silly instruments. Display their work.

8.    Show VEST and model how to decide if it is vest or nest: The V tells me to use my vacuum, /v/, so this word is vvv-est, vest. You try some: VAN: van or can? VOW: vow or wow? VINE: shine or vine? VOTE: tote or vote? VASE: vase or case?

9.    For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to say the name of each picture and listen for the V sound. Work on writing lowercase and uppercase V’s by tracing the ones at the bottom of the worksheet. Call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.


Assessment Worksheet: http://www.kidzone.ws/prek_wrksht/learning-letters/v.htm

Vicky’s Very Violet Vacuum, Leigh Wagner http://auburn.edu/%7Elzh0018/wagnerel.htm

Picture Source: http://school.discoveryeducation.com/clipart/images/ani-cleanup.gif

Seuss, Dr. ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book (Random House, 1963)

Bruce Murray, Brushing your teeth with F http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/sightings/murrayel.html

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