Emergent Literacy Design

Benny Brown Bear


Rationale:  It is important that children learning to read understand that letters stand for phonemes and that spellings represent the phonemes in spoken words.  Children need to have clear instruction and practice with short vowels because they can sometimes be very difficult phonemes to recognize.  In this lesson, students will focus on recognizing /b/=b.  Students will learn to recognize and identify /b/ in spoken words and will practice finding words with short /b/.   Students will understand this correspondence by focusing on what moves the mouth makes when saying the sound and doing a letterbox lesson to spell and read words with b=/b/.



1 cut out picture of a bear and a boy to show /b/

2 sentence strips with tongue twister: "Blake the baker bakes black bread.

3 letterboxes (1 set per student)

4 bag with letter tiles with the letters (a,b,c,f,g,k,l,m,n,p,s,t,) (1 bag per student)

5 index cards with the words written out that the students will spell (bebat, bag, bun, back, block, bunk, bran, bring, blast)

             6 Over-head projector or document camera for index cards so all students can see to read

7 the book, Bubble Reader (Alphatales)

8 picture page (bear, boy, bat, bubble, big, book, brag, bite) for assessment



Begin the lesson by explaining to students that our written language is a secret code.  We must learn what letters stand for.  The mouth moves when we say words.   Say:  "Today we are going to learn about /b/."  Explain to students how the mouth moves as we say /b/.  Say: "Everyone listen to me ‘Bbbbbb’, now you say it, ‘Bbbbbb.’"


Discuss with students the way your mouth moves when you say the letter /b/.  Say:  "Class, when I say /b/, I bring both my lips in and push them out with the sound (demonstrate by exaggerating the letter) "Bbbbbb."  Now let's all push our lips out as far as we can and make the biggest /b/s we can.”



Put the tongue twister sentence strip on the board for the class to see.  Say: "Let's look at this silly sentence.  Look at the words while I point and read them.  "Blake the baker bakes black bread."  Now everyone read this sentence with me and really listen for the /b/.  Now let's stretch out that /b/ as we read this sentence again and this time push your lips out as far as you can when you hear the /b/."  Model: "Bbbbbblake the bbbbaker bbbbbakes bbbblack bbbbbread."


To make sure students can recognize the /b/ in spoken words ask them to identify which word they hear /b/.  Call on students individually and ask them how they knew which word was correct.  Say:  "Do you hear /b/ in did or bid?  Do you hear /b/ in back or sackBed or redBig or dig?"  Observe carefully to make sure that ALL students understand.


Next, begin the letterbox lesson.  See that all students have their own letterboxes and letter tiles.  Be sure to model for the students.  Say: "I want to spell the word "ball."  I have three letterboxes that will go along with each mouth move that I make.  I will say it slower so that I can hear which letters need to go in each box.  B-b-b-b-a-a-a-a-l-l-l-l.  The first sound I hear is /b/, so I know I will start with the letter "b."  Then I heard /a/, so that is an "a."  Finally I hear the /l/ so I will put the letter "ll" in the last box.  I have now spelled out the word ‘ball.’"  Start with just two letterboxes and then move up. (2) be, (3) bat, bag, bun, back, (4) black, bran, bunk (5) bring, blast.  Walk around and observe students spelling out the words as you call out the words to be spelled.  Provide help for students who are struggling.  Allow several minutes for students to work on this.


After the students have spelled out the words using the letterboxes, bring out the index cards with the words written out.  Put the cards on the projector for the students to read aloud.  If there are students having trouble, use the letter tiles and spell the word out.  Show students how to use the cover critters to decode words.


Next, give each student the book Bubble Bear.  Say:  "We are going to read this book about a bear who loves to blow bubbles.  Badger tries to ruin Bear’s fun. Bear blows a bubble that is bigger than any bubble he’s ever blown.  Let's read to find out what happens to Bear’s bubble."  Have students to do the big mouth motion when they hear the /b/.


Assessment:  To see if each child has a true understanding of the short a, pass out a picture page with eight pictures on it.  Students will circle the pictures that they hear the /a/ for : (man, bat, hat, flag).



Murray, B. A., &  Lesniak, T. (1999).  The letterbox lesson:  A hands-on approach for teaching decoding.  The Reading Teacher52, 644-650.


Kayla Vernon: Apple and Alligators



Pat's Jam.  Phonics Reader.  Educational Insights

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Bear Image:  https://www.google.com/search?q=bear&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=gcpNU9_fEpPksATq0oCoBg&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&biw=1920&bih=895#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=pw9gpRNdiKNdVM%253A%3BgRH4ewHIlxLusM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fpocketrangerblog.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2013%252F10%252FBrown-bear-female-and-its-children-play-with-a-ball-in-Kamchatka-Peninsula-Russia-801276.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fpocketrangerblog.com%252Fbear-safety-101-2%252F%3B615%3B722