Popping Popcorn With P

Emergent Literacy Design

Kellie Lawrence


Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /p/, the phoneme represented by P.Students will learn to recognize /p/ in spoken words by learning through a meaningful representation (popcorn popping) and the letter symbol P. Students will practice finding /p/ in words and apply phoneme awareness with /p/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing words from beginning letters.


Materials: Primary paper and pencil; sound clip of popcorn popping http://soundbible.com/1710-Popcorn-Popping.html; card with popcorn picture, The Princess and the Pea book by John Cech;  flash cards with words PAT,DAD, SHIP, FROG, POND, TOY, CAP, MAN, POINT, TALL; assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /f/ (URL below).



 1. Say: Our written language is a secret code. The tricky part is learning what letters stand for and how we move our mouth when we say words. Today we are going to work on recognizing how the mouth moves when we say /p/. We spell /p/ with letter P.

2. Say: Have you ever popped popcorn before? What kind of sound did it make? Today we are going to listen to some popcorn popping (http://soundbible.com/1710-Popcorn-Popping.html). What sound do you hear? That’s right! The popcorn makes the sound /p/ /p/ /p/ ! When we say /p/ we put our lips together then blow a puff of air through our lips. Watch me make the /p/ sound.

3. Say: Let me show you how to find /p/ in the word happy. I'm going to stretch happy out in extremely slow motion and listen for my popping sound. hhh-aa-pp-y. Slower: hh-a-a-a-ppppp-y. There was my popcorn! I felt my lips come together then blow a puff of air out. I can feel the popping sound  /p/ in happy.

4. Say: Let's try a tongue twister "Playful Patty Picks Plump Pumpkins." Everybody say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stutter the /p/ at the beginning of the words. "P-p-p-p-layful P-p-p-p-atty P-p-p-p-icks P-p-p-p-lump P-p-p-p-umpkins." This time we are going to break off the /p/ sound from the rest of the word: "/p/ layful /p/ atty /p/ icks /p/ lump /p/ umpkins.” Great job!

5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use letter P to spell /p/. Let's write the lowercase letter p. First draw a ball on the sidewalk. Now draw a straight stick on the left side of your ball that starts at the top of the ball and stops at the ditch. I want to see everybody's p. After I give you a thumbs up, I want you to make nine more just like it. When you see the letter p in a word, that tells you to make the /p/ sound.

6. Practice hearing and recognizing the /p/ sound in. Call on students to answer and ask them: Do you hear /p/ in hop or fun? slippery or toe? on or pink? Lift or drop? apple or sore? Say: Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /p/ in some words. Move your hands like popping popcorn if you hear /p/: The, paint, clap, bug, dimple, pan, to, for, pink, push.

7. Say: "Now we are going to read a book called The Princess and the Pea. This book has lots of the /p/ popping sound. I am going to read the book twice. The first time I just want you to listen for the /p/ sound. The second time I read, every time you hear the /p/ sound, I want you to hold up your popcorn card. I will write each word on the board for us to talk about when we are done reading. This book is about a beautiful princess loves her sleep! One night, she feels something in her bed and can not sleep. She gets a new mattress, but still can't sleep ! She stacks up lots of mattresses, but can still feel something in her bed! What do you think it is? Will the princess ever be able to sleep?

8. Using word flashcards, Show PAT and model how to decide if it is pat or dad: The P tells me to pop the popcorn, /p/, so this word is ppp-at, pat. You try some: SHIP: shop or frog? POND: toy or pond? CAP: cap or man? POINT: tall or point?

9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to practice writing the upper and lower case letter P. They are to also identify which images begin with the /p/ sound and write a P under those images.

Assessment worksheet: Initial Sound P worksheet on http://bogglesworldesl.com/alphabet_worksheets/letterP.htm


Cech, John, Bernhard Oberdieck, and H. C. Andersen. The Princess and the Pea. New York, NY: Sterling, 2007. Print.

Let's Pop Some Popcorn by Meghan Ciampi




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