Slithering Snake Says "SSSsssss"



Emergent Literacy


Maggie McKinney


Rationale: In this lesson, children will learn to identify the phoneme /s/ by learning a meaningful representation (slithering like a snake) and the letter symbol S, recognizing /s/ in spoken words, repeating an /s/ filled tongue tickler, writing lowercase and uppercase S's, and applying phoneme awareness with /s/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.



Tongue tickler written on chart paper: "Slippery Soap Slides Slowly Down The Stairs."

Primary paper


Pipe Cleaner

Googley eyes


Primary chart paper

Picture of Slithering Snake S

"What Begins with S" worksheet




1. Say: "Today we are going to learn about the letter 's' and the sound it makes, /s/.  To me, /s/ sounds a bit like the sound a snake makes as it is slithering along. To remember that the letter s sounds like a slithering snake, let's pretend that our arms are snakes. Put your hands together and wiggle your arms while making a "Sssssss sound like snakes makeā€¦/s/ /s/ /s/ /s/. Let's pay attention to how our mouths move when we make that sound. When we say /s/, notice where your top teeth are? (top teeth stacked on bottom teeth). Your tongue should be pushing up against the back of your bottom teeth. When we say /s/, we are blowing air between our top teeth and lower teeth.


2. Say: "Let me show you how you can find /s/ in the word 'sit'. I am going

to stretch out the word by saying it in very slowly and I want you to watch

what I'm doing and listen for the sound a snake makes. Sss-iii-ttt. Ok, now we will try it a little slower. I want everyone to stand up in front of your seat. You are going to 'sit' as I say it. The slower we say it, the slower you sit down. Ss-iii-ttt. I heard it! Did you hear it?"


3. Say: "Ok everyone let's all try a tongue tickler (on chart).  'Slippery Soap Slides Slowly Down The Stairs.' Great! Now let's say it three times in a row. Excellent! Now let's try stretching out the /s/ at the beginning of the words. ' SSSSlippery SSSoap SSSSSlides SSSlowly down the SSStairs.' Try it again and break the /s/ off of the word: "/S/-lippery/S/-oap /S-/lides /S/lowly down the  /S/-tairs.'


4. Have all the students take out primary paper and a pencil.  Say: "We will use the letter S to spell /s/ and the letter S looks like a snake. Let's write uppercase S. For uppercase S, first form a c up in the air between the rooftop and the fence, then swing back (demonstrate on primary chart paper). Can everyone show me their uppercase S?  Great job everyone! I'm going to walk around and look at everyone's S. If I put a sticker on your paper please practice writing ten more just like the first one. Now we're going to write lowercase s. For lowercase s, form a tiny c up in the air between the fence and the ditch and then swing back (demonstrate on primary chart paper). Can everyone show me their lowercase s? Great job! I'm going to walk around and look at everyone's S. If I put a sticker on your paper please practice writing ten more just like the first one."


5. Say: "Now we are going to make our own slithering snake. I am going to hand you each a pipe cleaner and I want you to form an S with it. When you are finished I will pass out the glue and googly eyes for you to glue on your S.  Once you are finished, you will have a slithering S snake."


6. Say: "I am going to read a couple of sentences and I want to see your letters each time I say /s/.

"Sally and Sam sat on the swings singing silly songs."

"Skyler and Sarah slid down the slide slowly"


7. Say: "I will now read a couple words together to see if you can tell which word contains the letter s. If you hear /s/ I want you to raise your slithering S snake in the air. Do you hear /s/ in third or second?   Happy or sad?  Stop or Go? Walk or Skate? Skip or run? Dive or Swim? Side or Front? Winter or spring?"


8. Show SLOW and model for students how to decide if the word is flow or slow.  Say: "The S tells me to slither like a snake so this word is Ssss -low. Now you try: SAW- is this saw or law? SAP- is this map or sap?  SUM- is this sum or bum? SET- is this word set or met?"


Assessment: I will pass out a worksheet. The students will practice printing the letter S and decide which pictures begin with S. Also, I will call students forward to individually read the words from number 8 above.


References: (Slither Like a Snake With S By: Casey Wilson) (Slithering Snake Says Ssssss By: Haley Hollis)




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