Ssssneaky ssspies are like sssly ssssssnakes!

Emergent Reader

Linzee Garrison



Readers must be knowledgeable with phonemes to succeed with word recognition, spelling, and reading. Readers must first be able to tie the letter to the vocal gesture in spoken contexts before recognizing different phonemes. This lesson will help children identify /s/, the phoneme represented by S. Students will learn to recognize /s/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation- students will move their hands like a snake- and the letter symbol S, practice finding /s/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /s/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.



Primary paper and pencil

 Poster of tongue tickler: "Sam the spy slyly snuck across the stadium"

 Drawing paper and crayons

Equity cards (cards with student names)

Junie B Jones and Some Sneaky Peeky Spying by Barbara Parks     (Random House, 1994)


Assessment worksheet: identifying pictures with /s/


1. Procedure Introduction:

Say: Who knows what a code is?  (Student response) Spies use codes when they want to keep a secret. Our written language is like a secret code. Learning the mouth moves that we make as we say words is the hardest part of learning what the letters, our secret code, represent. Today, we are going to crack the code like spies! We are going to find out what movement our mouth makes when we say the /s/ sound. /s/ can be a tricky sound! It likes to hide in words, but nothing is too tricky for us! Why? Because we are super spies! As we learn more and better understand /s/, we will find /s/ in many words!

2. Say: How does a snake talk? /ssss/. Watch my mouth as I say it. /ssss/. My tongue is touching the roof of my mouth while I push air through. /ssss/. Now you try! This time let’s pretend out hand is a snake, like this [move hand like a snake]. Snakes are sneaky like spies. Now say /ssss/ and move your hand like a snake. Sssssuper!

3. Model Procedure


Let me show you how to find /s/ in the word sat.  I'm going to stretch sat out very slowly and listen for s.. /ssss/ snake.  Sss-nnn-aaa-kkkk.  Slower: S-nn-a-a-a-kkk. There it was!  I felt my tongue on the roof of my mouth. I can hear myself say /s/ in sat.

4. Tongue Tickler

Say: Let’s  try a tongue tickler! Sam the spy slyly snuck across the stadium. Let’s say it together three times and move your hand like a snake each time you hear /s/.  Now, I want you to stretch the /s/ sounds at the beginning of each word like this, ssssam the ssspy ssslyly sssnuck across the ssstadium. Ok, say it with me while stretching the /s/ sound and move your hand like a snake. Let’s do it again! This time, break /s/ from the word like this /s/am the /s/py /s/lyly /s/nuck across the /s/tadium.

5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencils]

Say: The letter S can be used to spell /s/. Let’s write lowercase S! I am going to write on the board, watch as I write. Start at the fence and make a C, when you get halfway below the fence loop back around and finish with a tail on the sidewalk. Now it’s your turn! Let me look at your S. After I put a sticker on your paper, I want you to write five more just like it! Now we know when we see the letter S alone in a word, it is time to say /s/.

6. Activity : Finding phonemes in spoken words

 Call on students, using equity cards, to answer and tell how they know.

Say:  Do you hear /s/ in song or long? Pat or sat? See or me? Sad or mad? Happy or silly? Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /s/ in some words. Move your hand like a snake when you hear/s/:  slate, stump, too, sunk, snot, sink, dog, skinny, stop, late.

7. Practice with a connected text

Say: Ok sneaky spies, I am going to read Junie B Jones and Some Sneaky Peeky Spying by Barbara Parks .  Junie B. sees her teacher eating grapes she did not purchase!  Can you guess what happens?

Read page 4, drawing out /s/; explain to students they should move their hands like a snake when they hear /s/.

Say:  What words had /s/ in them?  Use this word in a sentence; talk about what happened at the grocery store and draw a picture of it. Use your own spelling to tell me about your picture!

{The writing task will allow students to apply phoneme awareness}

8. Practice reading grapheme

Show SONG and model how to decide if it is song or long.

Say: The S tells me to move my hand like a snake and say /s/ like a sneaky snake! [Show SONG]. So this word is ssss-ong, song.  You try some: SAT: sat or pat? SEE: me or see? SAD: sad or mad? SILLY: silly or happy?

9. Assess phoneme awareness

For assessment, distribute the worksheet.  Students are to say the words out loud and color the pictures. Call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.






Anna Choron: Ssssnake Talk



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