Peter's Pickled Peppers

Emergent Literacy

By: Angela Pridmore

To learn to read and spell words, children need the alphabetic insight that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words. Before children can match letters to phonemes, they have to recognize phonemes in spoken word contexts. This lesson will help children identify /p/. They will learn to recognize /p/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then practice finding /p/ in words.

Primary paper and pencil, chart with ãPeter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.ä, class set of cards with p on one side and a question mark on the other side, word list of the words: pepper, play, cape, pig, lamp, stick and Peter, worksheet with pictures of objects beginning or not beginning with p ( pig, park, paint, pocket, shoe, picture, popsicle, car, plate), and the text, Patâs Jam by Sheila Cushman.


1. Explain to the children that today we are going to talk about the mouth movements for the letter p and work on finding the mouth movement for it. Have the children watch each other say words beginning with /p/. Have the children describe the way their mouth looks to each other.
2. Ask the students: ãHave you ever heard the sound that popcorn makes when it is popping?ä ãYes, it makes the /p/ sound.ä ãWe are going to look for the /p/ sound in some words.ä ãBefore we do that though, letâs practice making the /p/ sound with a hand movement to go along with it. (Hands popping open) Teacher models first, and has students join in.
3. First say the tongue twister to the students, and then say the tongue twister on the chart together. ãPeter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.ä Now letâs say it a few more times. The last time we say it letâs pop open our hands every time you hear the /p/ sound. 4. Now take out your paper and pencil and practice making the letter p. Start on the grass. Go down to the ditch and back up without taking your pencil off the paper. Now without lifting your pencil letâs add a loop to the right side of our line that touches the fence. I want to see everyoneâs p. Once I put a check mark on your paper, I want you to make nine more just like it.
5. Pass out cards with p and a question mark on them. Tell the children you are going to say some words. If you hear /p/, hold up the side of your card with p on it. If you do not hear /p/, hold up the side with a question mark. Read the words: pepper, play, cape, pig, lamp, stick, Peter, shoe, toe.
6. Read the story, Patâs Jam and have the students pop open their hands when they hear a /p/ in the story.

The teacher will hand out a picture page and help the students name each picture. Ask the students to circle the pictures containing /p/.


Adams, Marilyn Jager. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print. 1990.

Cushman, Sheila. Patâs Jam. Educational Insights. 1990.

Pam Riddle, Pop, Pop, Popcorn.

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