Shaving Your Face with V

Emergent Literacy

Wendy Counts

Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /v/, the phoneme represented by V. Students will learn to recognize /v/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (electric shaver) and the letter symbol V, practice finding /v/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /v/ in phonetic cure reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.


-Primary paper and pencil (one for each student)

-Chart with "Virginia visited Vicky and gave her vegetables with vitamins" (one per student)

-Drawing paper (one piece per student) and crayons (one pack per student)

-Dr. Seuss's ABC (Random House, 1963) (one copy)

-Word cards with VAN, VOW, VAIL, VILE, VADE, VAIN, VANT, VOTE (one per student)

-Assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /v/ (one per student)


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 for /v/. We spell /v/ with the letter V. V looks like a flock of geese flying south for the winter, and /v/ sounds like an electric razor.

2. Let's pretend to shave with an electric razor. /v/, /v/, /v/, [pantomime shaving face]. Notice where your top teeth are with you say /v/. When we say /v/ our top teeth rest against our bottom lips and we blow air through our teeth.

3. Let me show you how to find /v/ in the leave. I'm going to stretch out leave in super slow motion and listen for my razor. LlllEEEvv. Slower: Lll-E-E-E-vvv. There it was! I felt my teeth touch my lip and blow air. I can feel the electric razor /v/ in leave.

4. Let's try a tongue tickler [on chart]. "Virginia visited Vicky and gave her vegetables with vitamins." Everyone say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /v/ at the beginning of the words. "Vvvvvirginia vvvisited Vvvvicky and gavvvve her vvvvegetables with vvvitamins." Try it again, and this time break it off the word: "/v/ irginia /v/ isited /v/ icky and gave her /v/ egetables with /v/ itamins."

5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use the letter V to spell /v/. Capital V looks like a flock of geese flying south for the winter. Let's write the lowercase letter v. Start at the middle line, diagonal left down to the floor, and then go back up diagonal left back towards the middle line making a point at the floor. I want to see everybody's v. After I make my flock of geese I want to see you make nine more just like it.

6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /v/ in have or had? Vase or lamp? Brave or heroic? Say: Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /v/ in some words. Use your electric shaver if you hear/v/: The, very, brave, otter, moved, over, the log, to, see, the, grave, of, the, vulture. 

7. Say: Let's look at the alphabet book. Dr. Seuss tells us about a funny creature whose name starts with V. Can you guess? Read page ___, drawing out /v/. Ask children if they can think of other words with /v/. Ask them to make up a silly creature name like Viffer-veffer-veff. Then have each student write their silly name with invented spelling and draw a picture of their sill creature. Display their work.

8. Show VAN and model how to decide if it is van or man: the V tells me to use my electric shaver, /v/, so this word is vvvv-an, van. You try some: VOW, is this cow or vow? VAIN, is this vain or main? VILE, is this pile or vile?

9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to complete the partial spellings and color the pictures that begin with V. Call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.

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