“Bbbb-eautiful Butterfly”

Emergent Literacy Design

By Courtney Macurdy


Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /b/, the phoneme represented by B. Students will be able to recognize /b/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (through the use of butterfly) and the letter symbol B, practice finding /b/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /b/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.

Materials: Primary paper and pencils per each student in class; chart with "Ben’s beautiful box was bold and bright."; drawing paper and crayons per each student; word cards with BOX, BOLD, BEE, MOLD, BREAK; 1 copy of book Brown Bear Brown What Do You See? by Eric Carle; assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /b/ for each student. (URL below).


1.     Say: When written, our English language is like a decodable message. Letters sounds different than you think and there are many rules to remember. The challenging part is figuring out what the letters stand for—our mouth moves as we say words. Today we're going to work on moving our mouths saying the letter /b/. We spell /b/ with the letter B.  B looks like a butterfly, and /b/ sounds like b as in bubble.

2.     Let’s think about a butterfly, say bbb-utterfly /b/, /b/, /b/. When we write a capital B backwards and a B right next to it, it looks like a butterfly. Notice a neat thing about the letter B unlike most of the alphabet, when you say the letter, it’s impossible to not touch your lips together. Try!

3.     Let me show you how to find /b/ in the word robin. Listen as I stretch out

4.     Rrrr-o-o-bbb-i-nn. Now Slower: Rrrrrr-o-o-o-bbbbbb-iii-nnnn. Who heard the /b/? I felt my lips touch and make the /b/ sound in robin.

5.     Let's try a twisted tongue tie [on chart]. "Ben’s beautiful box was bold and bright." Everybody repeat it three times together. Great! Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /b/ sounds at the beginning of the all the words. "Bbben’s bbbeautiful bbox was bbbbold and bbbright." Does everyone hear the /b/? Good! Last time, and this time break it off the word: "/b/en’s /b/eautiful /b/ox was /b/old and /b/right”.

6.     [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. The letter B is used to represent the /b/ sound. Capital B looks like half of a butterfly.  Isn’t the cool? Now let's write the lowercase letter b. Start at the top of the line. Draw a vertical line to the bottom. Next, half way up the line write a backwards c to the bottom of the line. Can everyone try that? Good! Now write nine more so you practice a total of ten times.

7.     Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /b/ in brat or angel? Box or hot? Bold or mold? Bee or ape? Tab or tape? Say: Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /b/ in some words. Float like a butterfly if it sounds like /b/: “The baby sister brought bags of candy and fruit to the bride’s birthday.”

8.     Say: "Let's look at a book that focuses on the letter B.  How many B’s are in the title?"  Ask children if they can think of other words with /b/.  Ask them to name a bear with a B name. Next, the students will write their bears’ name on a piece of paper and have the students draw two B’s and color it. Display their work.

9.     Show BOLD and model how to decide if it is bold or mold: The B tells me it sounds like ‘butterfly’, /b/, so this word is bbb-old, bold.  You try some: BEE: Bee or pea? BAKE: bake or fake? BREAK: break or make? BRAT: brat or fat?

10.  For assessment, pass out the worksheet to the children.  Students will start by writing a story using at least 10 words with the letter B in it. After writing, students will trace the butterfly on the worksheet and may color it. Students will be assessed on the writing activity and their ability to correctly write the letter b.

Reference: Carle, Eric. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Harry Holt and Company. (1996).

Assessment worksheet: http://www.first-school.ws/t/pattern/butterfly-1.htm

Barrow, Morgan. “Zippy the Zebra Zooms Through the Zoo”. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/journeys/barrowel.htm

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