SSSSnake Talk

Emergent Literacy

Anna Choron



Children need to understand phonemes in order to be successful with phonics, spelling, word recognition and reading. Before children can recognize different phonemes and sounds, they must first learn to match the letter to the vocal gesture in spoken contexts. This lesson is designed to help children understand the sound and spelling of /s/. This lesson will help them learn the letter s and the sound it makes /s/.  They will practice using and identifying the letter s in written and spoken context. 



- Animal Trunk by Charles Chigna

-20 copies of the poem "Snakes" from Animal Trunk

-1 crayon per student

-Primary paper and pencil per student

-Poster of Tongue Twister

-Construction paper- 1 piece per student

-Set of markers per table

-1 pair of scissors per student

-2-3 glue sticks per table. 

-Assessment Worksheet


1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that our written language is a secret code.  Explain to the students that the complicated part to learning what letters represent is the mouth moves that we make as we say the words. "Today we are going to be investigators. We want to find out what movement our mouth makes when we say the / s / sound. At first / s / will seem a little hidden in words, but as you begin understanding it, you will be able to uncover /s/ in all types of words."


2. Ask students: "How does a snake talk? /sssssss/.  That is the mouth move we’re looking for in words.  Lets pretend our hand is a snake, and everyone move and talk like a snake."


3.  "Let’s try a tongue twister (on poster).  Sally the snake was sly and sneaky while playing hide-and-seek.  Lets all say it three times together.  Now say it again, and this time, stretch the / s / at the beginning of the words.  When we say the /s/ sound I want everyone to talk and move like a snake.  Sssally the sssnake was sssly and sssneak while playing high-and-sssseek. Lets do it again and this time let’s break it off the word.  / s / ally the / s / nake was / s / ly and / s / neak while playing hide-and- / s / eek."


4.  Have students take out writing paper and pencil.  "We can use letter s to spell /s/.  Let’s write it.  As I write on the board, I want you to write on your paper.  Start up high at the rooftop (top of line) and begin to make a c, when you get to the fence (middle line), loop back around with a tail and finish on the sidewalk (bottom line).  Let me look at your s. After I come and put a stamp on your paper, you may begin and write nine more just like it.  Now we know when we see the letter s alone in a word, it is time to say /s/."


5.  "Raise your hand when you can tell me the answer and tell me how you got that answer: Do you hear / s / in Sock or Rock?  Sit or Bit?  Lock or Sick? See or Me?  Lee or Sara?  Car or Staple?"


6. "I am going to read the poem Snakes and I want everyone to be listening for snake talk."  Read it again, and have students talk like snakes when they hear words with /s/.  Pass out the poem copied for each student and have the students underline the s in the words they see and hear s in.  After they have completed that, hand out construction paper, and let each student draw a picture of the snake the poem has just described.  Have the students cut out the poem paste it under their snake.  Display their work.  


Snakes are slender.

Snakes are sleek.

Snakes like playing


Snakes are sneaky.

Snakes are sly.

Snakes will look you

In the eye.

Snakes are clever.

Snakes are fast.

If you see one

Let it pass by.


7. For assessment, distribute a worksheet with pictures of items and help students name the picture.  Have students circle the pictures whose names have /s/. 

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 Animal Trunk: Silly Poems to Read Aloud  By Charlie Chigna

Melissa Roddam