Emergent Literacy

Pop with P

Emergent Literacy

Ash Rogers


This lesson will help children identify /p/, the phoneme represented by P. Students will learn to recognize /p/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (flaring their hands) and the letter symbol P, practice finding /p/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /p/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.


    • Primary paper and pencil
    • chart with "Paul’s popcorn poured all over his parents"
    • drawing paper
    • crayons
    • Dr. Seuss's ABC (Random House, 1963)
    • word cards with PIG, PAIN, PETE, PAN, PORK, and PASS
    • assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /p/ (URL below)


  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 /p/. We spell /p/ with letter P. /P/ sounds like something popping.
  2. Let's pretend to pop a balloon, /p/, /p/, /p/. [Pantomime popping balloons] Notice what happens with your lips? (lips come together). When we say /p/, we blow air out our lips.
  3. Let me show you how to find /p/ in the word hop. I'm going to stretch hop out in super slow motion and listen for the pop. Hhh-o-p. Slower: Hhh-o-o-p There it was! I felt my lips touch and blow air. I can feel the pop /p/ in hop.
  4. Let's try a tongue twister [on chart]. "Paul’s popcorn poured all over his parents." Everybody say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, emphasize the /p/ at the beginning of the words. "P*aul’s P*opcorn P*oured all over his P*arents." Try it again, and this time break it off the word: "/p/aul’s /p/opcorn /p/oured all over his /p/arents.”
  5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use letter P to spell /p/. Let’s write a capital letter P. Start at the sidewalk and draw a line straight up to the rooftop and around to the fence. I want to see everybody's P. After I put a smile on it, I want you to make nine more just like it. Now let's write the lowercase letter p. Start at the fence, go straight down into the ditch, come up and put his chin on the sidewalk. I want to see everybody's p. 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 /p/ in pork or work? Pain or lane? pan or tan? mitt or drop? Stiff or tip? Say: Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /p/ in some words. Pop the balloon if you hear /p/: A, paper, plane, passed, over, my, head.
  7. Say: "Let's look at an alphabet book. Dr. Seuss tells us about a bear who wants to change the color of his pajamas!" Read the page, drawing out /p/. Ask children if they can think of other words with /p/. Ask them to make up a silly creature name like Pipper-pepper-pepp, or Pooter-plipper-pang. Then have each student write their silly name with invented spelling and draw a picture of their silly creature. Display their work.
  8. Show PIG and model how to decide if it is pig or dig: The P tells me to pop the balloon, /p/, so this word is p*-ig, pig. You try some: PAIN: pain or main? PETE: pete or meet? PAN: man or pan? PORK: fork or pork? PASS: mass or pass?
  9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to complete the partial spellings and color the pictures that begin with P. Call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.

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email me for further questions: anr0030@auburn.edu