Sammy the Super Slow Snake

 Emergent Literacy


By Holly Johnson



In order to become phonemically aware must understand the symbol for each letter as well as understand the sounds (phonemes) that each letter contains. 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 (hisss of 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. Through practice and pronunciation, students will be able to identify the letter symbol as well as recognize /s/ in spoken and written words.



Primary paper and pencil; chart with "Sammy the snake slithered down the sidewalk on a sunny summer day" written on it; Snake Stickers; 1 Snake Puppet per student (The students will cut out a picture of a snake and glue it onto a Popsicle stick); 1 NO S Sign per student (The students will cut out a picture of a snake "crossed out" with the word NO! and glue it onto a Popsicle stick); The Stray Dog by Marc Simont; snake coloring picture; crayons.; assessment sheet



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. Throughout our lesson we will be learning all about the letter S .We will learn the special sound that it makes, what it looks like, how to write it, how to hear it whenever we talk, and how to recognize it whenever we read.


2. We spell /s/ with letter S. S looks like a snake so we are going to remember this sound by thinking of the sound a snake makes. Has anyone ever heard the sound a snake makes?

Let's pretend to be a snake and make the snake sound /ssssss/ [slither hand like a snake]. Very Good!

3. Now let me show you how to find /s/ in the word bus. I'm going to stretch left out in super slow motion and listen for the snake sound. B-uuuu-ssss. Slower: B-uuuuuuu-ssssssss.  There it was! I heard the snake in that word! Did you? Say that word with me while we stretch it out B-uuu-ssss. Great Job!


4. Let's try a tongue twister [on chart]. " Sammy the snake slithered down the sidewalk on a sunny summer day." Now everybody try to say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /s/ at the beginning of the words. " Sssssammy the ssssnake ssssslithered down the ssssidewalk on a sssssunny ssssummer day" Great job! Let's say it again and break off the S from the words. Like this.        /s/-ammy the, /s/-nake, /s/-lithered down the, /s/-idewalk on a, /s/-unny, /s/-ummer day.

5. (Give the primary writing paper and a pencil to each student).  "Let's use the letter S to spell the sound /s/."  (Model how to make the letter S on primary paper).  "Let's make an S!  First, we are going to make a C up in the air between the rooftop and the fence, and then we are going to swing back and let our S rest on the sidewalk.  Now I would like for everyone to try and make an S on their paper.  I am going to walk around and watch everyone make an S.  When I have watched you make your S, and you have received a snake sticker, then I would like for you to continue in making an entire row of S's. 

6. "Now we are going to play a game!  I am going to read a word to you and if you hear the /s/ sound in my word then I want you to hold up the Snake Puppet.  If you do not hear the /s/ in my word then I want you to hold up your NO S sign.  Let's begin!" Read each of the following words and allow time for students to respond with puppets. (soon, man, guess, time, sniff, top, kid, less, grass, real)

7. Next I will read aloud The Stray Dog and talk about the story with the students. I will reread the story and ask the students to hold up the snake puppet every time they hear the /s/ sound. Then I will ask the students to think of other animal names that begin with S. I will hand out a picture of a snake and they will fill up their snakes with words that describe it and decorate it.

8. For assessment, I will give each student a picture page. We will name the pictures together, then I will ask the students to write an s underneath the pictures that have the /s/ sound then I will have student come up one by one and read two pages of The Stray Dog.


Bethany Bice, The Slimy, Scaly, Slithering Snake

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