Sammy Slinks Down the Slide into Sand

Emergent Literacy

Caitlin Steeb





This lesson will help children identify /s/, the phoneme represented by S.  Students will learn to recognize /s/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (throwing hands in the air as if on a slide) and recognize the letter symbol S.  Students will practice finding /s/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /s/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.



Primary paper and pencil

Picture chart with embedded letter and tongue tickler: “Sammy Slinks Down the Slide into Sand”

Drawing paper and markers

Dr. Seuss’s Oh the Places You’ll Go

Word cards with SAD, SIT, MOLD, SET, LEEK, SOOT

Assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /s/




1.  Say:  The words we write are a secret code and it is our job to figure out what each letter stands for.  Each letter tells us to move our mouth in a specific way in order to say words.  Today we’re going to learn to spot the mouth move in /s/.  We can spell /s/ with S (show picture chart with embedded letter).  S looks like a windy slide at the park and /s/ sounds like our bodies slinking and swooshing down the slide: S...s, swoosh!

2.  Say:  Let’s pretend we are slinking and swooshing down the slide at the park, /s/, /s/, /s/ (throwing hands in the air as if on a slide).  Notice that our lips are open slightly and our front teeth are closed together (point to teeth).  When we say /s/ we blow air through our closed teeth.

Teacher models

3.  Say:  Let me show you how to find /s/ in the word sand.  I’m going to stretch sand out very slowly; make sure you listen for s...s, swoosh like we are slinking down the slide.  Sss-aa-nnn-dd.  Now I will say it even slower:  Sss-aa, I heard it!  I felt air blowing through my closed teeth.  I heard myself say /s/ in sand. 

Activities - practice becoming familiar with phoneme

4.  Say:  Now let’s try a tongue tickler (show picture chart).  “Sammy Slinks Down the Slide into Sand.”  Now let’s all say it together three times.  Remember to throw your hands in the air as if on a slide whenever you hear /s/.  When we say it this time, let’s stretch the /s/ at the beginning of the words as I point to them on the picture chart.  “Sssammy ssslinks down the ssslide into sssand.”  This last time, let’s break /s/ off of each word: “/S/ammy /s/links down the /s/lide into /s/and.”

Activities - practice writing grapheme

5.  Say: (take out primary paper and pencil for each student) We use the letter S to spell /s/.  Capital S looks like a slinky slide at the park and lowercase s looks like the slinky slide for babies at the park.  Let’s write the lowercase letter s.  Start at the fence, make a small c, half the size it would normally be, and then make a backwards c, ending at the sidewalk.  I will come around and put a star by your paper once you have gotten it.  Then, write five more lowercase s just like it. 

Activities - practice finding phoneme in spoken words

6.  Say:  Do you hear /s/ in big or small?  Forest or swamp?  Rough or soft?  Snow or rain?  Chop or slice? (call on students to answer and have them explain their distinction).  Now let’s see if you can spot the mouth move /s/ in some new words.  Remember to put your hands in the air as if on a slide when you hear /s/:  candy, sweets, cupcake, snickers, brownies, cookie, sour patch kids, chocolate.

Practice with a connected text

7.  Say:  Let’s look at Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!  Dr. Seuss tells us that we can do anything we want in life.  But, sometimes things don’t always go our way.  How do we make things better for ourselves?  As I read, throw your hands in the air as if on a slide whenever you hear /s/ (read page 2, drawing out /s/).  If you could do anything you want in life, what would it be?  What are some jobs that start with /s/?  I want each of you to write what you want to do in life and illustrate it (students can use invented spellings; when students are finished display their work).

Practice reading grapheme of new phoneme

8.  Say:  I am going to look at SAD and decide if it is sad or mad.  The S tells me to throw my hands in the air as if on a slide, /s/, so this word is sss-ad, sad.  It’s your turn now: SIT: sit or fit?  MOLD: mold or sold?  SET: set or let?  LEEK: leek or seek?  SOOT: soot or foot?  

Assess phoneme awareness

9.  For assessment, I will distribute the worksheet (see attached).  Students will complete the spellings of words, using s when appropriate, and color pictures of words starting with s.  Students will read the phonetic cue words from step 8 as I call them up individually.



"Color the Pictures - Beginning Letter Sounds." Kidzone - Fun Facts for Kids! Web. 10 Feb. 2012. <>.


Murray, Geralyn.  “Creating Literacy Design.”  10 Feb 2012.


Seuss. Oh, The Places You'll Go! New York: Random House, 1990. Print.


Whitcomb, Amy.  “Sammy the Slimy Snake.”


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