Emergent Literacy

~Slippery Snakes~

By: Shea Brennaman

Emergent Literacy

Rationale: Phoneme awareness is critical for emergent readers. This lesson is designed to instruct the s sound to emergent readers. Students will learn how to recognize the s sound by a meaningful representation (the sound a snake makes), by practice finding s sounds in words, using pictures, and learning the letter symbol s.


  • manipulatives (flash cards with a picture of what the word means on it) of words that begin with /s/ focusing primarily on words and pictures like snake, spoon, swing, stick, sun and use some cards that don’t have s sounds

  • a book that emphasizes words that begin with s “Sid and Sam” by Nola Buck

  • primary paper so the student can write out “sam saw a scary spider” and for them to write down s words on

  • pencils for students to use so they can write on primary paper and complete their assessment

  • white board for the teacher to use to write down s words

  • dry erase makers that the teacher can use to write on the white board

  • worksheets for assessment

  • crayons for students to use in assessment


  1. Say: all letters make sounds! Do you all remember what sound ‘s’ makes? Think of a snake ssslithering through the grassss! ‘S’ makes a sss sound and today we will review the sssuper fun letter ‘S’!

  2. Say: Let’s practice making the s sound! Keep your tongue behind your teeth, place your lips in a smile, the sides of my tongue are touching my teeth, the sound comes out of the middle of my tongue, after making the sound keep quiet!

  3. Say: Before we begin with our tongue ticklers I want to show you how to find the s sound in the word ‘snake.’ I’m going to say the word ‘snake’ very slowly and I want you to listen for the sound a snake makes, I want you to listen for that sss sound. SSS-nake. SSS-n-a-ke. Did you hear the snake make its sss sound?

  4. Say: We will now do a tongue tickler! This will help you all recognize the s in these words! I have one for you all to try! Try saying “We see slippery snakes on a safari!” “We see slippery snakes on a safari!”  Very good! Now this time let’s stretch out the beginning of the words that start with the letter ‘S.’ Let’s try it, “We SSSee SSSlippery SSSnakes on a SSSafari!” Ok, now we will say our tongue tickler again but this time we will break off the s from the word! “We /s/ee /s/lippery /s/nakes on a /s/afari!”

  5. Say: I now want us to practice writing down the uppercase letter S on primary paper! To write an S we will start out with a C above the fence then we will connect it with a backwards C below the fence! Very good! Now let’s try to write down the lower case s, let’s begin with a little c under the fence and connect it with a little c so that the bottom reaches the sidewalk!

  6. Say: Let’s look at some flash cards that have pictures on them! I’m going to show these to you and I want you to tell me if they have the /s/ sound in them! Some of these words do not have the /s/ sound in them but I want you all to be able to tell the difference in words that do and do not have /s/ sounds, so let’s practice!

    1. Snake

    2. Top

    3. Spoon

    4. Swing

    5. New

    6. Dog

    7. Stick

    8. Ant

    9. Sun

  7. Say: Now I will each give you a flash card with an /s/ word on it and with a picture on it, everyone take one card and we are going to go around the room and I want you all to stand up and hold your card out and tell everyone what your card is! After you tell the class what your card is I will write it on the board and we will all say it 3 times in unison. Say Tommy has a card that says ‘SUN’ and he stands up and holds out his card and tells us what his card is then I will go to the board and write ‘SUN’ and we will all say ‘SUN, SUN, SUN’ very slowly separating the s sound from the rest of the word like /s/un.

  8. Say: Next we are going to read a fun book called “Sid and Sam.” Everyone raise your hand whenever you hear the sss sound that a snake makes, you’ll hear it a lot in this book! In this book, Sid and Sam love singing, but Sid can’t stop singing! To find out what Sam does to get Sid to stop singing we’ll have to finish this book!  

  • Assessment: for assessment children will be given a worksheet with pictures on them, they will be instructed to color in the pictures of the words that begin with the letter s. Once students complete these I will grade them and review any necessary words with the whole class.