Title: “S,s, s, Silly Snakes Say sssss”

Lesson Goal: Letter Recognition

By Lydia Hinshaw

Rational: This lesson is designed to assist children in learning the letter sound correspondence s=/s/.  Students will learn the sound and letter symbol with the help of a physical action (making their arms slither like a snake).  The students will have practice finding the letter s in words by choosing between rhyming words that are spoken by the teacher.  They will also have a chance to apply what they have learned about the grapheme by choosing the word that starts with /s/ off of the word cards. 

Materials (enumerated for one student):

One piece of students favorite color construction paper

25 Crayons  

1Pair Scissors

1 Glue Stick

Large tablet for word writing

1 Snake outline for student to trace

6 Note cards with the words slip, snake, sit, stop, so, say

Tongue twister: Sam’s silly snake Sally slithers silently across the sand written on tablet

Picture  that is above printed on cards

3 Pieces Primary Paper and a pencil

1 Sharpi for teacher to write on tablet

Text: Scary snakes by: Monica Hughes

1 Assessment sheet for the letter s found at the link: http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/s-begins1.htm


1. Did you know the words we say can be written down?  When we write down words they are in a secret code that you can learn!  You will have to learn the code to be able to read secret messages.  Today we are going to learn the letter /s/ and what our mouth does when we say the /s/ sound.  This is the letter s (show letter card with s on it) and we write it like this (trace with finger the snake on the picture card).  The symbol s looks like a snake as it slithers through the sand and the /s/ is the noise snakes make when they hiss ssssss. “A snake say sssss.”

2. Watch my mouth as I say /s/.  Now you make the sound.  Do you feel your tongue behind your teeth?  Do you see how my lips are open a little?  When you make the s sound air goes across the top of your tongue.  Now say the /s/ sound again and see if your mouth and tongue do the same thing as mine do.  When you hear the /s/ in a word I want you to put your hands together and make them slither just like me (model motion so that student can see what I mean).  “A snake says ssss” (show motion while saying this).  Now your turn (have student copy you).

3. Now we are going to try to hear the /s/ sound in words we says.  I am going to try and find the /s/ sound in a word.  Listen to me find the sound then it will be your turn.  Test…now I am going to stretch out the word to find the sound.  ttttteeeesssstt There it is I hear the “a snake says ssss” in the word.  Listen one more time slowly now: “tttttteeeeesssstttt” there is that sound when my lips are open and air goes across my tongue. 

Activity with phonemic awareness:

Now let us practice with the /s/ sound.  Do you know what a tongue twister is?  It is a saying where most of the words start with the same sounds and it is challenging to say correctly.  Here is the tongue twister written down.  Listen to me read it: “Sam’s silly snake Sally slithers silently across the sand.”  Now let us say it together: “Sam’s silly snake Sally slithers silently across the sand.”  This time I want you to say it three times and make your arms slither when you hear the /s/.  Now this time I want you to say each word as I point to it and stretch the /s/ sound out.  Model this by reading: “SSSam’s sssilly sssnake…” (have student do it once you have modeled).  Good now this time try to break the /s/ off the word like this (model) sssss/nake.  Your turn to break the /s/ sound off the words. 

Activity with Graphemes and Writing Them:

          Teacher pulls out the primary paper and asked student if they have ever used it.  Teacher should explain about the fence and the sidewalk so the student knows where to write on the paper.  Once student understands the paper (explanation only needed if student has never used primary paper before) the teacher should pull out the picture cards and show the student the letter /s/.  “This is how we write the letter s.  See how it looks like a snake?”  The capital letter S is written just like a big snake and a lowercase s is written like a small snake (teacher models how to write a capital and lowercase letter on the tablet).  “First form a c up in the air between

the rooftop and the fence, then swing back (teacher is modeling with the large tablet while she is speaking).  Now hand the student primary paper and a pencil for them to practice writing 6 uppercase S.  Look at the students work and tell them how great they did to encourage them to keep at it.  Now explain how the lowercase letter is just a smaller version of the same thing.  Lowercase s: Form a tiny c up in the air, then swing back.  Model a lowercase s and then have student make 3 lowercase s.  Put a snake sticker on the student’s paper and tell them they did a great job writing.


Activity with Finding Phonemes in Spoken Words

          Teacher will hold up the card and says “I will read the word on this card.  Is it tip or slip?”  “Do you hear the /s/ sound in the word tip or slip?”  teacher will continue through the whole stack of cards (so, say, slip, snake, sit, stop,).  The teacher will then ask the student to make their arms slither every time they hear the /s/ sound.  Do you hear /s/ in salt, sail, money, sit, group, bag, sample, and stop.

Activity-Practice with a Connected Text

Teacher will pull out the Scary Snakes text and show the student the cover.  “Have you ever seen a snake before?  This book shows lots of different types of snakes. We will read to learn about snakes and where they live.” She will ask the student to make their hands slither whenever they hear the s sound in the book.  Read book (or a couple of pages depending on the time).  Have students color cut out a giant s and color it to look like a snake.  Have them glue their snake onto a piece of construction paper and write with invented spelling the word snake. 

Activity with Reading Graphemes

          Teacher will use cards again and explain how to decide which words start with the letter s  “Is this word lit or sit?” “Do you see the s on the card? That /s/ tells us to make our arms slither and it also tells us that the word is sit.  Do you hear the ssss sound in sit?” “ssssssit.” Your turn now to find the word with the letter s.  Teacher now uses the rest of the cards to help the student learn s.  Examples: slip or lip, snake or bake , sit or bit.


Pass out the work sheet and explain to the student how to complete it.  The students should match the words that start with the /s/ sound with the letter s pictured on the page.  The teacher should model the first one.  Tell the student “first I have to figure out what the picture is.  It’s a boat.  Ok does the word boat start with an /s/? bbbbbboat when I say boat my mouth does a different movement then when I say a snake says sssssss.  So it must not start with /s/.”  Now let the student finish the rest of the worksheet without help.   http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/s-begins1.htm


Adams, M. J. (1990). Beginning to read: Thinking and learning about print. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Burr, Caroline. Sassy Sally Snake. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/doorways/burrcel.htm

Hughes, Monica (2006).  Scary Snakes.  New York: Bearport Publisher

Kidzone. Beginning Consenant Worksheet. http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/s-begins1.htm

Murray, Bruce.  Teaching Letter Recognition. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/letters.html

Murray, Geralyn.  Designing An Emergent Literacy Lesson. https://sites.google.com/site/readingwritingconnection/designing-emergent-literacy-lesson

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