Z for Dazzle!         


              Emergent Reader Lesson Design
    By: Anne Jones



In order for children to become skillful readers, they must initially be capable of recognizing and understanding phonemes and corresponding letters. This lesson will help children identify /z/, the phoneme represented by Z. Students will also understand how their mouth moves when making the /z/sound. Activities that include the letter Z, accompanied by a piece of literature will assist the students learn and remember the letter Z.



-Large poster of tongue ticker written on it
-Illustration of a buzzing bee
-Copy of Fuzzy Wuzzy for each student
-Copy of Do You Like to Buzz? for each student
-Piece of construction paper for each student
-5 ‘Z’ paper letters for each student
-Gluestick for each student
-Coloring worksheet for each student
-Crayons for each student
-Piece of lined paper for each student
-Pencil for each student


1.     I will begin the lesson by asking students, “Can anyone tell me what sound a bee makes when it flies?” I will hold up the bee illustration and demonstrate the ‘buzz’ sound and emphasize the sound of the ‘z’ phoneme.

2.     I will then introduce a tongue tickler with the phoneme /z/. I will say “The zebra zoomed zig-zag in the zoo.” I will then have students say it with me and we will put extra emphasis on the sound ‘z’ in each word. “Notice how our mouths move when we say this sound, and how we make the sound by putting our tongue at the top of our mouths while pushing sound out. “

3.     I will then have students practice looking for the /z/ sound in different words. I will ask them, “Do you hear /z/ in FIST or FUZZ? ZERO or NERO? SLEW or ZOO?” I will explain to students how to test a word for the letter z, and that is to sound the word out and see if their mouths and tongues come together to make the zzzz sound.

4.     Students will then do an engaging activity where they will make a Z collage. I will emphasize on the fact that the word ‘zig zag’ contains the /z/ sound, so they are to make a collage with z’s that zig-zag throughout the paper.

5.     We will read a poem called Fuzzy Wuzzy. “Alright class! Let’s make a circle on the floor and read a poem that contains words with the letter z.” Before reading the poem, I will give a short talk explaining the poem, saying, “This poem is about a bear named Fuzzy Wuzzy. What do you think the bear looks like when you hear his name? There is something very odd about Fuzzy Wuzzy’s name and what he actually looks like. Let’s read to find out!” I will read the poem aloud to students, and then have them read it aloud. Each time they hear the sound /z/, they are to give a thumbs up. We also will sing a short rhyme, titled Do You Like to Buzz? I will pass out a copy of the words for each student to look at and read. The short rhyme is sung to the tune of Do Your Ears Hang Low?. I will sing it aloud first, and then the students will sing, giving the thumbs up every time they hear the /z/ sound.

6.     Assessment:

Students will complete a worksheet in which they are to color in all the pictures that contain the /z/ sound. They will also be passed out a sheet of lined paper in which they are to write at least 3 different words that contain the letter z.




‘Z’ Letter Collage:


Fuzzy Wuzzy children’s rhyme
Rudyard Kippling, 1890

Do You Like to Buzz? children’s tune
Author/date unknown

The Reading Genie
Dr. Bruce Murray

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