Dribbling the basketball with D


Madeline Manifould

Emergent Literacy Design


Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /d/, the phoneme represented by D. Students will learn to recognize /d/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (dribbling a basketball), and the letter symbol D, practice finding /d/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /d/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters. This lesson is geared towards an appropriate literacy goal for students at the emergent literacy or pre-alphabetic stage of literacy development.


Materials: primary paper and a pencil for each student; chart paper with "David's daddy's dog didn't dig dirt in the dark" written on it; copy of Duck on a Bike for each student; word cards with Dance, Dirt, Was, Door, Nose, and Did; assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /d/ (below).



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. Today we're going to work on spotting the mouth move /d/. We spell /d/ with letter D. D looks like a basketball cut in half, and /d/ sounds like the noise you hear when you dribble a basketball.

2. Say: Let's pretend to dribble our basketball, /d/, /d/, /d/. [Pantomime dribbling basketball]. Notice where your tongue is? (At the top of your mouth). When we say /d/, we touch the top of our mouth with our tongue to start.

3. Say: Let me show you how to find /d/ in the word: rude. I'm going to stretch rude out in super slow motion and listen for my ball dribbling. Rrrr-uu-u-dde. Slower: Rrr-u-u-u-ddd- There it is! I felt my tongue go to the top of my mouth. I heard my basketball dribbling in the word rude.

4. Say: Lets try a tongue tickler (from the chart paper). "David's dog didn't dig dirt in the dark." Everybody say it three times together. (Lead students in repeating the tongue tickler three times). Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /d/ at the beginning of the words. "Ddddavid's dddog dddidn't dddig dddirt in the dddark." Try it again, and this time break it off the word: /D/ avid's /d/ og /d/ idn't /d/ ig /d/ irt in the /d/ ark. Can everybody feel their tongues going to the top of their mouths? Can everybody hear their basketball dribbling at the beginning of each word? (Give time for student responses).

5. Pass out pencils and primary paper to students. We use D to spell /d/. Capital D looks like a basketball that's been cut in half. (Show students example on the board). Lowercase d looks like half a basketball with a line coming up from it. Let's practice writing the lowercase letter d. Start by writing a little c, then draw a line from the rooftop to the sidewalk to make it little d. I want to see everybody's d. Everybody copy a letter d onto your paper.  After I put a sticker on it, I want you to make nine more just like it.

6. Now, I want to see if you can hear our /d/ sound. Listen for the dribbling basketball! Do you hear /d/ in work or drink? dance or sing? do or stop? dream or sleep? light or dark? (Call on students to answer and ask how they knew). Say: Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /d/ in some words. Dribble your basketball if you hear /d/.  Repeat the words listed: The, darling, dolphin, dreamed, about, doughnuts, during, the, night.

7. Say: Let's look at our book, Duck on a Bike. This book is about a silly duck who lives on a farm. One day on the farm, he see's a bike. What do you think the duck is going to do with the bike? How do you think the other animals on the farm are going to act? We will have to read to find out! While we read this book, I want you to dribble the ball every time you hear the /d/ sound.  Ask the children to write a short sentence with a character that stars with /d/. Then have each student draw a picture of their /d/ story. Have a few students share their responses and display their work.

8. Show students the word Dirt and model how to decide if it is dirt or skirt: The D tells me to dribble my ball, /d/, so the word is ddd-irt. You try some: DANCE: dance or France? WAS: was or does? DOOR: door or floor? NOSE: nose or dose? DID: did or kid?

9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to complete the partial spelling and color the pictures that begin with D. Also, students will be called up individually to read the phonetic cue words from step number 8.


Assessment worksheet: http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/d-begins2.htm

Shannon, David. Duck on a Bike, 2002

Mitcham, Lynn "Duh! I know my D!" http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/doorways/mitchamlel.htm

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