Flying High with the Letter V

Emergent Literacy

Maegan Dennis


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 (airplane engine) and the letter V symbol. They will practice finding /v/ in words and apply phoneme awareness with /v/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.


Materials: primary paper, pencils, "Vinny's violin vexed Virginia" chart, cards with VENT, VERY, VERB, HEX, SAVE, and HIVE written on them, Vera Viper's Valentine by Maxwell Higgins published by Scholastic, worksheet



1. Say: Sometimes our written language is tough to learn. The tricky part is learning the sounds that letters stand for. Our mouth moves differently for each letter we say. Today we are going to be working on spotting the mouth move /v/.  We spell /v/ with the letter V. V looks like the nose of an airplane, and /v/ sounds like the sound that the propeller on an airplane makes.

2. Let's all pretend that we are airplanes with big propellers. Hold your arms out for the wings and make our propeller /v/ sound [Pantomime airplane movement]. Notice where your teeth are when you say /v/. They are touching your bottom lip. Your lips are almost together, and kind of look like you are about to give someone a kiss. Our voice box in our neck vibrates, and we blow the air out of our mouth between our top teeth and our bottom lip.

3. Let me show you how to find /v/ in the word five. I'm going to stretch out five in super slow motion and listen for my airplane. Fff-i-i-i-ive. Slower: Fffff-i-i-i-i-vvv-e. There it was! I felt my top teeth touch my bottom lip and I turned on my voice box. I can feel the airplane in five.

4. Let's try a tongue twister [on chart]. Say "Vinny's violin vexed Virginia" one time so students can hear how it sounds. Everyone say it three times together. Now say it again, and stretch out the /v/ at the beginning of the words. "Vvvinny's vvviolin vvvexed Vvvirginia." Try it again, and this time break it off the word: "/v/ inny's /v/ iolin /v/ exed /v/ irginia."

5. Have students take out primary paper and pencil. We use the letter V to spell /v/. The capitol letter V looks like the nose of a big airplane landing on your paper. The lowercase v looks like the nose of a little plane. Let's write the lowercase v. Start at the fence. Make a slanted line down to the sidewalk. Then, make another slanted line back up to the fence in the other direction. I want to see everyone's v's. After I give you a smiley face on your paper, I want you to make nine more just like it.

6. Say: I'm going to see if I can hear the letter v in some words. I wonder if I can hear the letter v in the words move or stay? Ssss-ttt-aaayyy. I don't hear it I that word. Let me see if I can hear it in move. Mmm-ooo-vvvvv. Oh! There it is! Now you try a few! Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /v/ in seven or eight? Give or take? Leave or stay? Save or spend? Over or under? Say: let's see if you can spot the mouth move /v/ in some words. Fly your plane if you hear /v/: Vicky heard velvety violin music coming from Virginia's van.

7. Read Vera Viper's Valentine. Say: I'm going to read you a book. It's about two vipers who are best friends and they play together every day. When Vinny viper stops coming to play with Vera viper, she becomes sad. To find out what has happened to Vinny we will have to read! As I'm reading, I want you to listen for the letter V. When you hear it, I want to you to move your arms like an airplane. [Read text] After reading each sentence have students repeat it.

8. Show VENT and model how to decide if it is vent or rent: The V tells me to fly my airplane, /v/, so this word is vvvv-ent, vent. Now you try a few. VERY: very or scary? VERB: verb or herb? HEX: hex or vex? SAVE: save or gave? HIVE: five or hive?

9. For assessment, distribute worksheet. Students should color the pictures of the words that contain the /v/ sound, and then write the letter at the beginning of each corresponding word. Call on students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.


Reference: Flying with V, Ashley Farrow


Assessment Worksheet:


Click Here for Awakening Index