Emergent Literacy Lesson Design

Dribbling With D

By: Carly Dumas 

Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /d/, the phoneme represented by D. Students will learn to recognize /d/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (dribbling a basket ball) and the letter symbol D, practice finding /d/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /d/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters. Students will also apply phoneme awareness with /d/ by coloring pictures that start with the letter D. 


- Primary paper and pencil

- Poster with tongue tickler (Daniel's dentist didn't like his dirty dog) embedded at the top

- Crayons

- Don and Dots by Veronica Angel

- Word cards with DOG, DEN, MIND, DULL, BACK, DOWN

- Assessment worksheet identifying pictures that start with /d/.


1. Teacher says, "Our written language is a secret code. The tricky part is learning what letters stand for. They tell us to move our mouth in a certain way when we say words. Today we're going to work on spotting the mouth move /d/. We spell /d/ with letter D. D  looks like a circular basketball, and /d/ sounds like the sound of a bouncing ball "d, d, d."

2. "Let's pretend to bounce a basketball, /d/, /d/, d/. [Pantomime bouncing a ball up and down] Notice where your lips are? (Touching open lips). When we say /d/, we put our lips apart and let the air come out of our mouth. Our tongue also touches the top of our mouths. Do you feel that?"

3. "Let me show you how to find /d/ in the word ride. I'm going to stretch ride out in super slow motion and listen for d, d, d with the ball bouncing. Rrr-i-i-i-d. Slower: R-i-i-i-i-d. There it was! I felt my tongue hit the roof of my mouth and my lips opened. I can also hear myself say /d/ in slide."

4." Let's try a tongue tickler [on chart]. "Daniel's dentist didn’t like his dirty dog." Everybody say it three times together and bounce your ball each time you hear /d/. Now say it again, this time break it off the word: “/D/aniel's /d/entist /d/idn’t / like his /d/irty /d/og /.”"

5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use letter D to spell /d/. Capital D looks like a round ball, but lowercase d looks like a ball on a stick.  Let's write the lowercase letter d. Start at the fence, draw a curved line down to the sidewalk, like our lowercase c, then draw a straight line from the rooftop to the sidewalk. Now you have a little d. After I put a smile on your paper, I want you to make five more just like it.

6. Call on students to answer and ask, "Do you hear /d/ in dog or fog? Den or Pen?  Four or Door? Dull or bull? Town or Down?" Say: Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /d/ in some words. Bounce your ball when you hear /d/: wish, dance, mad, word, fair, deer, smile.

7. Say: "Lets read the book Don and Dots!  Booktalk: This story is about a little boy named Don who sees dots on a pad. Don loves the dots. He starts putting dots everywhere! Don even puts dots on his friends Pat and Dan. One day Don decides he is going to put dots on his dad. We will have to keep reading to see if Don's Dad gets mad or if he lets Don put the dots on him" Read the book and have students dribble the imaginary basketball every time they hear the sound /d/ in the book. After reading, draw out the letter /d/. Ask students if they can think of something they loves that starts with the letter /d/. Lastly, have them write what they come up with using invented spelling and then represent it as a picture. 

8. Show dust and model how to decide if it is dust or must: The D tells me to bounce my ball and put my lips apart, /d/, so this word is dd-u-st, dust.  You try some: DIN: din or fin? DATE: mate or date? MIND: find or mind? DOOR: door or floor? DIG: dig or pig?


For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to trace the letter D  beginning at the dot  and color the pictures that begin with D. Call up students individually to read the phonetic cue words from #8. 



Assessment Worksheet: http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/phonics-beginningsounds/letter-d_WFFZB.pdf

Ashley Baas: http://www.auburn.edu/%7Eanb0019/baasel.htm

Bruce Murray. Emergent Literacy Lesson. “Brush Your Teeth With F”


Don and Dots: Written by Veronica Angel and Illustrated by John Kastner. Reading a-z


Lauren Mitchell: https://sites.google.com/site/mrsmitchellsreadinglessons/home/d-d-d-says-the-dribbling-ball


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