What’s the Buzz With Z?

Emergent Literacy

Niki Streeter

Rationale: This lesson will help students identify /z/; the phoneme represented by the letter z. Students will be able to recognize /z/ in spoken words by connecting it to the sound of a buzzing bee. We will practice finding /z/ in words and using phonemic awareness to identify the correct usage of /z/.

Materials: Primary paper with pencil, paper and crayons, word cards with BUZZ, BOX, FUZZ PRIZE, ZOO, and MOO, worksheet about identifying /z/.

Procedure: 1. "Our alphabet is very tricky, there are many letters with all different sounds. Today we will be working with the letter z. Let’s look at how our mouth moves when we say the letter z. This is how we write the letter z, /z/ sounds like a bee flying by your ear.

2. Let’s pretend there is a bee in the room, what do you hear? Buzz. When we say /z/, we blow air between our top and bottom teeth with our tongue slightly touching our teeth.

3. Let me show you how to find /z/ in the word maze. I am going to stretch maze out very slowly and I want you to find the bee flying by your ear. Mmm-A-zzzz. There’s the bee!

4. Let’s try a tongue twister using /z/. "Zizzi's zippy zipper zips." Now you say it four times back to me. Now say it one more time and stretch the /z/ at the beginning of each word.

5. We use Z to spell /z/. A capital Z looks like this while a lower case looks like this z. Let’s practice writing both of them. The capital Z starts at the rooftop, short line to the right, cross down then line to the right again. The lower case z is very similar except it starts in the middle. After I have approved it I want you to do nine more just like it.

6. Do you hear /z/ in maze or cage? Fuzz or tug? Zoo or moo? Now let’s see if you can pick out the words with the mouth move /z/. The small zoo keeper blazed through the gazebo.

7. Think of a creature that starts with Z. We will now come up with other words with /z/ and we can record them. Now we will come up with a silly name for our creature that starts with /z/. I want you to write your funny name on your paper along with a picture. Spelling does not count so I want you to do your best.

8. I will show the word ZIP and model how to decide between zip and tip. The Z buzzes between my lips and teeth.

9. Students will be given a worksheet with a number of word boxes on it. There will be a color coding key that tells the students what to do if the word has or does not have /z/.

Reference: www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/odysseys/shellel.html Bruce Murray




 Name: ____________________________________________________________

Circle the correct word.


1.    Do you hear z in maze or mat?

2.    Do you hear z in moo or zoo?

3.    Do you hear z in zip or tip?

4.    Do you hear z in tone or zone?

5.    Do z in fizz or fit?

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