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Baking Banana Bread with Betty B.

Baking Banana Bread with Betty B.

Emergent Literacy Guide

By: Haleigh Walden

Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /b/, the phoneme represented by B. Students will learn to recognize /b/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation by using a tongue twister and the letter symbol B, practice finding /b/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /b/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.


  • Primary Paper
  • Pencil
  • Chart with “Betty B. bakes the banana bread batter.”
  • Drawing paper 
  • Crayons or markers
  • The Berenstain’s B Book (Stan & Jan Berenstain, Random House, 1971)
  • Word cards with BIG, BAKE, CRAB, BUFF, BORN, and PLAY
  • Assessment Worksheet: Identifying pictures with /b/ (URL below)1


  1. Say: Our written language is a secret code. The tricky part is learning what letters stand for—the mouth moves we make as we say words. Today we're going to work on spotting the mouth move /b/. We spell /b/ with letter B. Capital B looks like a line with two humps, and /b/ sounds like a beating drum.
  2. Let’s pretend to beat our drum, /b/, /b/, /b/. [Pantomime beating a drum] Notice how your lips come together when you say /b/. When we say /b/, we force air out of our mouth, making a sound.
  3. Let me show you how to find the /b/ in the word dibs.  I’m going to stretch out dibs in super slow motion and listen for my beating drum. D-i-i-i-b-s. Slower: D-i-i-i-i-b-s. There it was! I felt my lips touch together and force out sound. I can feel the beating drum /b/ in dibs.
  4. Let’s try a tongue twister [on chart]. “Betty B. bakes the banana bread batter.” Everybody say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /b/ at the beginning of the words. “Bbbetty Bbb. bbbakes the bbbanana bbbread bbbatter..” Try it again, and this time break it off the word: “/b/ etty /b/ /b/ akes the /b/ anana /b/ read /b/ atter.”
  5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use letter B to spell /b/. Capital B looks like a line with two small humps. Let’s write the lowercase letter b. Start at the rooftop, draw a line down the sidewalk, then make a little hump up at the fence, coming all the way around and down. I want to see everybody’s b. After I put a smile on it, I want you to make nine more just like it.
  6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /b/ in apple or banana? bird or plane? bottom or top? red or blue? Say: let’s see if you can spot the mouth move /b/ in some words. Beat on your drum if you hear /b/: The, big, bus, drove, beside, the, green, beetle
  7. Say: “Let’s look at an alphabet book. The Berenstain’s tell us about lots of animals who’s names start with a B. All these animals ride a bike together and get into a little bit of trouble. Read page 10, drawing out the /b/. Ask children if they can think of other words with /b/.  Ask them to make up a silly “B” animal using describing words that begin with “B.” Then have each student write out their animal with “B” describing words with invented spelling and draw a picture of their silly creature. Display their work.
  8. Show BOG and model how to decide if it is bog or fog: The B tells me to beat on my drum, /b/, so this word is bbb-og, bog. You try some: BIG: big or dig? CRAB: grab or crab? BAKE: bake or take? BORN: horn or born? BUFF: puff or buff?
  9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to complete the partial spellings and color the pictures that begin with B. Call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.


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