Slithering Snakes say SSSsss

Emergent Literacy

By: Nicole Lawyer


Rationale: This lesson will help children identify the /s/, the phoneme represented by S. Students will learn to recognize /s/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (making a wave with arm) and the letter S by practicing finding /s/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.


Materials: Primary paper and pencil; word cards with SIT, SINK, SUN, TELL, FAT, and SOLD; assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /s/ (URL link below), drawing paper and crayons, poster with Silly Sally sings super sad songs



1. Our language is tricky because we must learn what the letters sand for and how our mouth is suppose to move in order to form those sounds. Today we're going to work on spotting the mouth move /s/. We spell /s/ with the letter S. S looks like a snake, and /s/ sounds like hissing snake.


2. Let's pretend to be a snake, /s/, /s/, /s/. [Pantomime making a wave with arm] Notice where your teeth are? (Touching teeth). When we say /s/, we blow air between our teeth.


3. Let me show you have to find /s/ in the word rest. I'm going to stretch rest out in super slow motion and listen for my snake. Rrr-e-e-st. Slower. Rrr-e-e-sss-t. Did you hear it? There it was! I felt my teeth clench together and blow air out between them. I can snake /s/ in rest.


4. Let's try a tongue twister. Silly Sally sings super sad songs. Everybody say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /s/ at the beginning of the words. Sssilly Sssally sssigns sssuper sssad sssongs. Try is one last time, and this time break it off the word: /s/ illy /s/ ally /s/ ings /s/ uper /s/ ad /s/ ongs.


5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use letter S to spell /s/. Capital S looks like a snake. Let's write the lowercase letter s. It is exactly the same as the capital S except the lowercase s is a baby snake. I want to see everybody's s. After I put a sticker on it, I want you to make eight more just like it.


6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /s/ in stop or than? hang or sleep? cake or safe? grow or spice? sand or mean? Say: Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /s/ in some words. Make an arm wave if you hear /s/: The, sassy, silly, girl, seemed, really, sad, about, something, someone, had, said.


7. Say: Let's look at an alphabet book. Eastman shows us pictures of things that begin with the letter S. Can you guess what they might be? Ask the children if they can come up with another words that begin with the letter S. Ask children to draw a picture of their word and write a sentence using their word with invented spelling. Display their word in the hallway.


8. Show SIT and model how to decide if it is sit or kit: The S tells me wave my arm, /s/, so this word is sss-it, sit. You try some: SINK: sink or link? SUN: fun or sun? TELL: yell or tell? FAT: fat or sat? SOLD: mold or sold?


9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to complete the worksheet by drawing lines to items that begin with the sound of s. Students are also expected to color in the pictures of items that begin with the sound s. Call on students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.



Assessment worksheet:

Reading Genie

Covin, Janie. Slithering Sneaky Snakes Say SSSss.




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