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Emergent Literacy: Bang the Drums With the Letter B

Bang the Drums With the Letter B

drum roll animated photo: Drum roll rolling animated gif drumroll.gif

Emergent Literacy Design

Kristin Byrd


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

Materials: Primary paper and pencil, Bouncing on the Bed by Jackie French Koller, paper and crayons for the students, assessment worksheet (link below), word cards with ball, big, make, and bug.

Procedures: 1. Say: Our written language is a secret code. The tricky part is learning what letters stand for. Also, we learn how the mouth moves to make each sound. Today we're going to work on learning and recognizing the letter b making the /b/ sound. We spell /b/ with letter b. The letter b looks kind of like a drumstick used to make music on a drum. The sound made by the letter b sounds like the banging vibrations (sound) on a kettledrum.

2. Let’s pretend to bang a big kettledrum. We will use our letter b drumsticks to make a /b/ sound /b/, /b/, /b/. [Pretend to be banging a drum.] What is our mouth doing when we make our drum sound? Notice how our lips push together and then blow out air with our voice box.

3. Let me show you how to find /b/ in the word elbow. I am going to stretch elbow out in and say it in super slow motion. Listen for my drumstick. Eeelll-bbbooowww. Slower: Eee-lll-bbb-oooww. There it was! I felt my lips touch when we said /b/. I can feel the /b/ in elbow.

4. Let’s try a tongue twister and listen for the /b/ sound. "Bill baked brown bread for Barbara's baby.” Now, let’s say it three times together. Now say it, but this time stretch the /b/ at the beginning. “Bbbill bbbaked bbbrown bbbread for Bbbarbara’s bbbaby.” Let’s say it one more time but this time break it off the word: “/b/ill /b/aked /b/rown /b/read for /b/arbara’s /b/aby.

5. [Have primary paper and pencil for the student.] We use the letter b to spell /b/. Lower case b looks like a drumstick.  Let’s write the lowercase letter B. Start at the rooftop, and draw a line straight down to the sidewalk. Then, go back to the rooftop and go down and around to the fence, repeat one more time from fence to the sidewalk. After I give you a sticker, practice 7 more just like that one.

6. I will call on individual students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /b/ in ball or cat, little or big, bucket or pail?” “Now, let’s see if you can spot the mouth move of /b/ in some words. Bang your drum if you hear /b/: bug, furry, bat, dog, blue, ball, hand, bounce.”

7. Now we are going to read the book “Bouncing on the Bed.” Book talk: “Sometimes, when it’s bedtime, I’m just not ready to go to bed. Does this every happen to you?” --- “Well, this boy in the book doesn’t go to bed and begins to bounce on the bed. What do you think happens to him?” After we have read our book we will read it again and look for the /b/ sound. Reread the book and this time look for the /b/ sounds. “Every time we hear the /b/ sound, lets pretend to bang our drums.” Now that we are really good at finding our /b/ sounds, write a word/sentence with the /b/ sound and draw a picture of it.” Display students work when finished.

8. Show BALL and model how to decide if its ball or tall: The b tells me to bang my drum, /b/, so this word is bbb-all, ball. You try some: BAKE: bake or make? BUG: bug or rug? BIKE: bike or hike?




9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet.


References or another activity: http://www.auburn.edu/%7Eksr0009/RiceEL.htm

Koller, Jackie French. Bouncing on the Bed. New York: Orchard Books, 1999.

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