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Ms. Harbarger's Emergent Literacy Design

Nnnnnnn, Goes the Boat Engine!

 Emergent Literacy Lesson

By: Connally Harbarger


Rationale:  It is crucial for a beginning reader to develop into a confident reader who recognizes letters and words automatically.  In order to be capable of attaining this skill, the reader must be aware of the different phonemes that are used to make up spoken words. This lesson will help children identify /n/ the phoneme represented by N.  Students will learn to recognize /n/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (driving a boat) and the letter symbol N, practice finding /n/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /n/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters. 



1.  Primary paper and pencil

2.  Chart with “Nate’s neighbor Nick was never nice”

3.  Drawing paper and crayons

4.  “No, David” by: David Shannon

5.  Word cards with NAP, NOTE, NECK, MEET, FAME, and NOD

6.  Assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /n/ (attached below).

7.  A picture of a motor boat driving on water.




1.  Say to the student:  Have you ever tried to break a code to get in somewhere or something?  Maybe your parents phone or iPad?  Well, when we are learning to read it is very similar to trying to break a code!  In order to be able to solve the secret code, we must learn what each letter stands for!  The first way we will start to solve the code is by learning how the mouth moves when we speak.  Today we are going to start by looking for the move the mouth makes when saying /n/. We spell /n/ with letter N.  When I sound out /n/, I hear the sound of a boat engine.  Do you hear the sound of a boat engine?  [Show graphic picture.]  In the lower case n, you could pretend to use the two legs as a steering wheel to drive a boat!


2.  Say:  Have you ever been on a boat or seen someone on a boat? I love riding in boats, but even better, would you like to drive a boat?  Let’s pretend to drive a boat and hear the engine /n/, /n/, /n/.  [Pretend to be driving a boat]  Do you notice where your tongue is and what the air of your nose is doing? (Touching the top of your mouth behind your teeth and blowing air out of your nose)  When we say /n/, we push our tongue against the top of our mouth behind our teeth and blow air out of our noses!


3.  Let me help you find /n/ in the word nose.  I am going to sound out this word in slow motion and listen for the boat engine and see if I feel my tongue push against the top of my mouth and blow air out of my nose.  Nnnn-o-o-ose.  Slower: Nnn-o-o-o-ssss-e.  I heard the boat engine and felt my tongue push against the top of my both and blew air out of my nose!  There is N in nose.  Now I want you to help me see if /N/ is in some other words.  If you hear /N/, then I want you to drive your boat!  If you do not hear /N/ then I want you to put out a stop sign.  Do you hear /N/ in next, shop, not, rain, no, lips?  


4.  Let’s try a tongue twister [on chart].  “Nate’s neighbor Nick never was nice.”  Now, everybody try saying this tongue twister!  Let’s see if we can say this tongue twister three times in a row.  Now we are going to try doing something a little different.  Let’s stretch the boat engine /n/ at the beginning of each word.  When we stretch the /N/ sound, lets pretend to be driving our boat. “Nnnnnate’s nnnnnnneighbor Nnnnnick nnnnnever was nnnnnnnice.”  Now let’s try this a different way for the last time. We are going break off the /N/ at the beginning of each word.  When you break off the /N/, I want you to point to your tongue pushing against the top of your mouth.   “/N/ate’s /n/eighbor /N/ick /never/ was /n/ice.” 


5.  We use letter N to spell /n/.  [Have students take out primary paper and pencils.]  Capital N looks like a zigzag.  Let’s try writing the lowercase n.  You will start just below the fence.  Draw a straight line all the way until you touch the sidewalk.  Once you have drawn your line to the sidewalk, you will trace your line back up to the fence and make an upside down u that will reconnect with the sidewalk.  Everyone show me your n’s!  I am going to come around and check your work, after I put a sticker on your page I want you to write 9 more just like it.  Now, let’s practice writing your capital N.  You will start at the sidewalk, draw a straight line all the way to the rooftop.  Then, draw a line going diagonal from the top of the rooftop back down to the sidewalk.  You will finish the N by drawing a straight line from the sidewalk to the rooftop.  This is one complete stroke! Everyone show me your capital N’s!  I am going to come around and check your work, once I put a sticket on your page I want you to write 9 more just like it. 


6. I will now call on students to answer these questions and ask them to explain to me how they knew the answer:  Do you hear /n/ in hot or new? Toe or nose? Torn or lose? Stone or stick? Nice or mean? Let’s move on to see if you can see the mouth move /n/ in these words.  Drive your boat if you hear /n/:  The, nice, nephew, ran, across, the, grass, to, the, new, neighbors. 


7.  I will say to students:  “Let’s look at a book called “No, David!” 

Booktalk: “This is a story about a boy named David who just keeps getting in trouble with his mom.  He does a lot of things to make his mom have to tell him no!  I wonder if there is anything that could make his mom happy with him? Let’s read to find out!”

After the story is read, ask the students if they heard any word repeated a lot that used the /n/ sound.  If they could or could not remember the /n/ word that was used repeatedly, re-read the story.  Say:  “We are going to re-read the story again.  I want everyone to be very closely listening for our boat engine /n/ sound.  Every time you hear the boat engine, I want you to act like you are driving your boat.”  I will then ask the students, “Is there something that you do that you know your mom/dad/grandma/grandpa would get upset about?  For example:  I know that I can not chew with my mouth open!  I want you to use the crayons to draw a picture or use invented spelling to write about this.


8.  Show NAP and model how to decide if it is nap or lap.  The N tells me to drive my boat, /n/, I also feel my tongue push against the top of my mouth and air blow out of me nose!  This word is nnnn-ap, nap.  We do not hear the sound that tells us to drive our boat when we say the word lap.  Now you try some: NOTE: note or coat? NECK: neck or peck? NEAT: meet or neat? NAME: fame or name? NOD: sod or nod?


9.  For assessment, distribute the worksheet.  Students are to complete the writing portion where they will trace and create their own capital and lower case n’s.  They will then color the pictures that begin with N.  I will then call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.


Assessment Worksheet: http://www.homeschoolhelperonline.com/worksheets/pre_school/tracer_n.shtml


Lightsey, Julia Revvin' It Up With N

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