Roaring Lions Run Rabbits Off!


An Emergent Literacy Lesson

Taylor Bullard

Rationale: This lesson teaches students that the consonant r = /r/. This goal is important because, in order to be able to read, students must be able to connect each letter to a mouth move and think about what their mouth is doing as they say the sound. In this lesson, children will learn to recognize  words containing the r sound. To help students reach the goal of knowing that r = /r/, they will learn a meaningful representation (a roaring lion makes the r sound, the round part of the R could be his ear), practice finding /r/ in words, and apply phonetic awareness with /r/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.


1.Graphic image of roaring lion

2.Primary paper and pencil for each student

3.Chart with "Roaring Lions Run Rabbits Off"

4.Drawing paper and crayons

5.Rosie's Roses by Henry Cole

6.Word cards with: Rosie, rainbow, walk, ribbon, big

7.Assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /r/




1.Say: In order to become expert readers, we need to learn the code that helps us pronounce words. We have already learned short vowel sounds a, e, i, o, and u so now we will move to the consonants. We are going to learn that r = /r/. When I hear /r/ I think of a lion roaring loudly! (roar for children). Show image and repeat that r = /r/. "See if you can say this tongue tickler: Roaring lions run rabbits off." (let them say it together in unison). Emphasize that they must say it in a low voice so that we don't disturb other classes. Have students say it with teacher and drag out the r. "rrroaring lions rrrrrun rrrrabbits off." Notice how my mouth moves when I say /r/. It is open a little and my tongue moves up. Can you say /r/ one more time and see if your mouth does the same thing? Good, did you feel your tongue go up and your mouth open a little bit? (Wait for answer). Very good! Lions roar loudly, and it can be scary!


2.Say: Now let's pretend to be a lion. Model for the students how you want them to put their hands up like claws and pretend to be a lion. Can you do it with me? Remember our mouth is open a little bit and our tongue moves up. Let's do it. /r//r//r///r/.


3.Say: Let me show you how to find /r/ in the word brat. I'm going to stretch brat out in

              super slow motion and listen for my lion. Bb-rrr-aa-ttt. Slower: bb-rrr-aaaa-ttttt.

              There it was! I felt my mouth open and my tongue move up. I can feel the roaring lion in      



4.Say: Let's try a tongue twister [on chart]. "Roaring lions run rabbits off". Everybody

             say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /r/ at the

             beginning of the words. "RRRoaring lions rrrrrun rrrrrabitts off."Try it again, and

this time break it off the word: "/r/ oaring lions /r/ un /r/ abitts off".


[Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. Say: We use letter R  to spell /r/.

Capital R looks the ear of our tiger. (Show picture.) Let's write the lowercase letter r. Start at the fence and go straight down to the sidewalk. Now go straight back up to the fence and make the ear. (model). I want to see everybody's r. After I put a green check  on it, I want you to make nine more just like it.


5.Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Say: Do you hear /r/ in work or

fun? finger or toe? Yellow or red? Lift or drop? Stiff or sore? Say: Let's see if you can spot

the mouth move /r/ in some words. Brush your teeth if you hear /r/: raining, rest, little, read, bed.


6.Say: Let's look at a book with the letter /r/. Rosie's Roses. For Aunt Ruth's birthday, Rosie wants to get her 4 roses tied with a rainbow ribbon. As Rosie rambles through the forest, they mysteriously disappear. Where are they going? Can you guess? Read the first page and ask the students if they heard /r/. Where did you hear it? Tell the students to do their lion roar whenever they hear the /r/ as you read the rest of the story. Now ask them to make up a silly creature name like Ruffle-raffy-rue, or Rupping-rainy-rob. Then have each student write their silly name with invented spelling and draw a picture of their silly creature. Display their work.


7.Show ROSIE and model how to decide if it is Rosie or fosie: The R tells me to make my lion roar, /r/, so this word is RRR-osie, Rosie. You try some: RAINBOW: rainbow or dainbow WALK: talk or walk? RIBBON: ribbon or pibbon BIG: pig or big.



8.Say: That was a fun story. What was happening to Rosie's roses? Right! Why did that happen? Right. Before we finish up our lesson on the roaring lion r I want you to take this work sheet and color the pictures that begin with the letter r. (Take up sheet to monitor individual progress.)



              Lesson Idea:

Haynes, Ellen. R is Grrrrrrrreat! Fall 2011. Auburn University.


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