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Wilson Says Woof with W

Wilson Says Woof

Emergent Literacy Design

By Lauren Romano

Rationale: This lesson will help the student identify /w/, the phoneme represented by W. Students will learn to recognize /w/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation of W by saying “woof” like a dog and learning about the wonderful dog Wilson who wags his tails in what looks like a W. Students will apply this knowledge in phonetic cue reading when they work to distinguish rhyming words from initial and beginning letters.


A picture of a dog wagging his tail in a “w” motion

Chart page with the tongue tickler “Wilson wants waffles with watermelons”

Primary paper and pencils- one per child

Teacher utensils to grade and comment on work

The book Mrs. Wishy Washy by Joy Cowley

Flash cards with the words Wit, When, Why, and Wait

Assessment worksheet with pictures (most of the words start with W) and a section of partially-completed spellings with pictures. Ex: picture of a glass of water: this glass is full of _ater.



1.     “Our language is a code with many letters, so now we have to learn what the letters stand for. Our mouths move to help make the sounds that we say come out right. Today we are going to work on moving our mouths so they make the /w/ sound. The sound is spelled with a /W/ and looks like a dog wagging his tail up and down.” (SHOW A PICTURE/GIF of DOG WAGGING TAIL IN SHAPE OF /W/). “When you see a dog wagging it’s tail you might say “WOW!” This word has the /w/ sound in it. Can you say it slowly? Notice how your mouth moves when you say wwww-ooo-wwww to make the /w/ sound”.

2.     “Has anyone seen a dog wag it’s tail before? When the dog was happy to see you or when he was chasing a ball? What does it look like?” Give time for children to think of the answer and provide background knowledge. “Now let’s pretend like we are dogs. Move your body like you are a dog wagging your tail and say “wow” like what you say when you see a cute dog. Notice the shape of your mouth as we do this and notice how you are blowing air out of your lips”.

3.     “Let me show you how to find the /w/ in the word WHEN. I’m going to stretch it out so you can hear the sound better. Wwwwwww-hhhh-eeee-nnnn. Wwwwww-hhhhhh-eeeee-nnnn. Can  you feel the air blowing through your lips? You are blowing to say the /w/ in when!”

4.     “Now let’s say a tongue tickler. These are silly sentences with the same sound over and over again so we can practice it”. (HAVE A TOUNGE TICKLER WRITTEN OUT ON A CHART). “I’ll say it first: “Wilson wants waffles with watermelons” let’s all say that together three times.” After the third time tell them good job, but “now we will say it one more time and stretch out the /w/ sound by wiggling our bodies like we are wagging our tails. “Wwwwwwwilson wwwwwwants wwwwwaffles wwwwwwwith wwwwwwatermelons”.


1.     Have children get out primary paper and pencils. “I am going to show you how to write the W that makes the /w/ sound. Let’s start with a capital W. (DEMONSTRATE ON BOARD) “First, start at the rooftop and slant down to the sidewalk, then back up to the rooftop, another slant to the sidewalk, and then one more slant up to the rooftop. I want you to try it yourselves and I will walk around and star your work. Once I draw a star on your paper, I want you to write nine more “w’s”.

2.     Ask questions so that the students can practice identifying the phoneme. “Do you hear the wagging w in wait or stop? “wit or pit?” “why or guy?”

3.     “Let’s see if you can spot our wagging w mouth move in this sentence. If you hear it, I want you to wag your tail like dogs.” Then say slowly, “Wilson wagged his tail while waiting on waffles”

4.     “Let’s look at a book that has lots of w’s. This book is about Ms. Wishy Washy who washes all of the animals on her farm. What kind of animals do you think she has? Will it be easy to wash all of them? We can finish to find out what happens to Ms. Wishy Washy. While we are reading, listen carefully to practice your /W/ mouth movement when you hear /w/.”

5.     Pull out cards with words. “I am going to show you how to decide if this says WIT or BIT. W says /w/. So this word wwwww-ii-tttt, wwwww—iiii—tttt WIT!” Now the students will try. WHEN or THEN? WHY or GUY? WAIT or BAIT?


(Hand out worksheet) Students are to circle pictures of items that begin with W and fill in the partially completed spellings. Star papers who have done it correctly and help other students make corrections.


Faith Karl


Ms. Wishy Washy, Joy Cowley, McGraw Hill, 1996

/W/ worksheet:


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