Zipping Zippers With Z!

Emergent Literacy

Morgan Grace Deason

Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /z/, the phoneme represented by Z.

  Students will learn to recognize /z/ in spoken words by learning meaningful representation (zipping zippers) and the letter symbol Z, practice finding /z/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /z/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from ending letters such as fizz and drizz. They will even work with invented spelling creating make-believe animals at a zoo.


Materials: Primary paper and pencil; chart with “Zac zooms to zip his zipper”; drawing paper and crayons; word cards with LIZ, BIT,  ZOO, ZIP, ZOOM, and DRIZ. Assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /z/.  Itsby Bitsy Books- The Letter Z (See URL below for both)


Procedures: 1. Say: Our written language is a secret code.  The tricky part is learning what letters stand for-the mouth moves as we make and say words.  Today we’re going to work on spotting the mouth move /z/.  We spell /z/ with the letter Z.  Z sounds like zipping a zipper.

2. Let’s pretend to zip a zipper, /z/, /z/, /z/. [Pantomime zipping a zipper].  Notice that when we say /z/, our tongues vibrate inside our mouths.

3. Let me show you how to find /z/ in the word zip.  I’m going to stretch out zip in super slow motion and listen for my zipper.  Zzzzzz-i-i-p. Zzz-i-p. There it was! I felt my tongue vibrate.  I can feel the zipper /z/ in zip.

4. Let’s try a tongue twister.  “Zac zooms to zip his zipper.” Everybody say it three times together.  Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /z/ at the beginning of the words.  “Zzzzac zzzzzzooms to zzzzzip his zzzzzipper.” Try it again, and this time break it off the word: “/z/ ac /z/ ooms to /z/ ip his /z/ ipper.”

5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil].  We use letter Z to spell /z/.  Capital Z looks like a crazy zipper.  Let’s write the lower case letter z.  Start just


6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /z/ in zebra or lion? Zac or Sue? Zip or open? Home or zoo? Zit or bump?  Say: Let’s see if you can spot the mouth move /z/ in some words. Zip your zipper if you hear /z/: The, fuzzy, cozy, zebra, tried, to, zig, and zag, past, the, elephant, to, gaze, at, her, zit.


7. Say: “Let’s make a coloring book with the letter Z!” Hand out Itsby Bitsy Books coloring sheet. Go through each box and let them point out the letter Z in each picture. The last page of the book talks about a zoo. Define a zoo as a place where animals are kept in a safe and open area so people can go and see them behind glass or fences. “Now let’s make up our own zoo animal creatures. What kind of sounds will they make?” Ask them to make up a silly animal name like Zippy-zeffer-zong that make sounds such as buzzzzz. Then have each student write their silly name with invented spelling and draw a picture of their silly creature.  Display their work.


8.  Show ZIP and model how to decide if it is zip or rip.  The Z tells me to zip my zipper, /z/, so this word is zzz-ip, zip.  You try some: LIZ: Liz or fiz?  BIT: bit or mit? ZAC: Zac or Mac?  ZOO: zoo or moo?  HAZE: maze or haze?


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


Beginning Consonants Worksheet! KidZone Preschool and Kingergarten.

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