Bouncing B's

By: Kimberly Craig

Rationale: Since many young readers confused their b's and d's, it is important to work on each of these letters individually to really help children learn the differences between the two letters.  Therefore, this lesson focuses on the letter B.  The students will practice how their mouth should feel when saying the letter b so they will be more able to detect it when they hear it in certain words.  Students will also work on writing the letter b and finding it in words by reading the book The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss.   


Materials: The Butter Battle Book, pencils, primary paper, poster with tongue tickler on it  (Boys bounce the basketball off the back board of the basket), worksheet, crayons, dry erase board, dry erase marker



1. I would start the lesson off by talking about how each letter makes a different sound in the words we say.  "In this lesson, we will talk about how our mouth feels when we say the letter b."  When students later learn about the letter d (a letter that is frequently confused for b), students can understand the difference between the two just by noticing the difference in the way their mouth feels. 

2. Talk to students about how, when saying the letter b, one's lips bounce off of each other, similar to how a ball bounces when they are playing with it outside.  The students can even pretend as if they are bouncing a ball as they say the /b/ sound.  After modeling how one's mouth moves when saying /b/ sound, practice the lip movements with the students and show how their lips should bounce when saying the letter.  After practicing how one's mouth should feel, ask students to detect the /b/ sound in words that you say, such as batter, stumble, storybook, and bubble.  "Let's make sure we hear the 'b' sound in each word.  B-b-b-batter. Yes. Stumb-b-b-ble. The 'b' sound is there too! Now, storyb-b-b-book. Good. B-b-b-b-ub-b-b-ble. The 'b' sound is in all these words!" Make sure when students say each of the words that they emphasize the /b/ sound.  You could also throw in some words that do not have the /b/ sound to make sure students are really understanding it. 


3. After making sure all of the students are grasping the concept of the /b/ sound, go over the tongue tickler poster with them.  First read it for them: "Boys bounce the basketball off the backboard of the basket" then have them repeat it.  Next, have the students read it again but make sure that they overemphasize the /b/ sound when they say it and make their lips bounce.  Then, have them break off the /b/ sound completely from the word to really single out its sound.  "Say b-b-b-boys b-b-b-bounce the b-b-b-basketb-b-ball off the b-b-b-b-backb-b-b-board of the b-b-b-basket."


4. Pass out some primary paper and pencils and demonstrate on the board how students should write the letter b. "Start at the rooftop, bounce down, bounce over and around."  This also re-emphasizes the idea of bouncing that goes along with the letter B.  Check it after they write it once, then have them write it 10-20 more times depending on how they do. 

5. After students master how to write the letter b, see if they can detect the /b/ sound in words like "cake or bake," "bog or fog", "brag or flag," and "bicycle or tricycle." Say, "do you hear the 'b' sound in cake or bake? Bake? B-b-b-bake. Good! Bog or fog? B-b-b-bog. Great job! Brag or flag? Brag. B-b-b-brag. Yes, there it is! Bicycle or tricycle? B-b-b-bicycle. Nice work!"

6. Our final group activity will be to read Dr. Seuss's The Butter Battle Book and have the kids detect words with the /b/ sound as we read.  We can even make a list on the board as we go and we can review it at the end to further practice the /b/ sound. 

7. After reviewing the words we find in the story, pass out a sheet for the kids to do.  The link to the worksheet is below.  Basically, students will fill in the letter b to complete the words on the lines provided and then color pictures of the words that begin with the letter b. 



KidZone: Color the Pictures-Beginning Letter Sounds Worksheet


Haghighi, Lora. "Bouncing B". Auburn University


Dr. Seuss.  The Butter Battle Book.  Random House Books for Young Readers. 1984.


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