Popping Popcorn

  Emergent Literacy Lesson

By Pearson Mathews


Rationale: In order for children to be able to decode words and succeed in reading, they must have an accurate understanding of phonemes. 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 (popping popcorn) and the letter symbol P in written words. Students will also learn to write the letter P in both upper and lower cases.



Primary paper,


 Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss

chart paper with tongue twister (Peter Piper picked a pair of pickled peppers) chalkboard/chalk.

Coloring page with words starting with "P"



1.  Begin by talking to students about the alphabetic code, explaining that our language is full of different sounds. Talk to the students about the different sounds letters make and how our mouths move a different way for each letter/sound. "Today we will be working on the letter /p/ and we will focus on how it sounds and the way our mouths move"


2.  Ask the students "Have you ever popped popcorn before? Did you notice that it made a popping sound? Can you make that sound? Great! It is the same sound you hear when you pop a bubble, each time you hear the /p/ sound. For example, you hear the same sound in poke and pass. The /p/ sound is in the beginning, let's sound it out /p/ - /o/ - /ke/ and /p/ - /a/ - /ss/. Did you hear the /p/ sound? When you make the /p/ sound your lips are together and then you let out a little breath, this makes the /p/ sound!


3.  Show students tongue twister on board.  "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers."  Now let's say it together, and really emphasize the /p/ sound:  "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers."  This time break off the /p/ sound from the words.  "/p/ eter /p/ I /p/ er /p/ icked a /p/ eck of /p/ ickled 
/p/ e /p/ ers." GREAT JOB!


4.  Now take out your primary paper and a pencil.  "Let's practice writing the letter /p/.  Watch me write it first, and then we'll write it together.  Start at the rooftop and make a straight line to the sidewalk.  Then pick up your pencil and put it back where you started.  Then make a hump down to the fence.  Now you try.  (Assist if needed, put smiley face on correct papers)  Now let's make a lowercase p.  Start at the fence, go straight down into the ditch, come up and put his chin on the sidewalk.  Now you try.  (Assist if needed, put a smiley face on correct papers.)  Now make two rows of Ps. Now write one row of capital Ps and one row of lowercase Ps.

5.  In order to assess the students, give them words and ask which word has the /p/ sound. "I am going to give you a word and if you think it has the /p/ sound, clap your hands and push them up and around as if you were popcorn popping, like this (model the representation of the sound). Hop? Give? Jump? Rock? Sat? Map? Bag? Put? Game? Pail? Dog? Push? Lip?

6.  Read Hop on Pop. " I am going to read a story and there are going to be a lot of words with the /p/ sound. The first time I read the book, simply listen. I will read it for a second time and when you hear a word with the /p/ sound, do our same "popping" action." I will read the book and when I read it a second time I will write down the /p/ words they hear and discuss them.

7.  To assess the children I will give them a coloring page with pictures that start with /p/ and some that do not: pot, map, pencil, paper, popcorn, pig and ones that do not: balloon, car, bear, grass. The students will be instructed to color ONLY the words with the /p/ sound. While they are doing this I will call up individual students and have them read 3-4 pages in Hop and Pop (or the whole book if time allows). This will be an easy and accurate way to see if the students understand what the /p/ sound is within written words as well as spoken words (they would have to sound it out to themselves).


Jordan Orso - Auburn University http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/discov/orsoel.html


Kasi Lankford- Auburn University http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/discov/lankfordel.html

Dr Seuss, Hop on Pop.  Random House:  New York, New York. 1987.

Adams, Marilyn Jager.  Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print.  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  c1990.


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