Hissing S Snake Learns to Blend in With Others

Rationale: In order for children to learn to read and write, they need to understand phonics.  When students see letters they need to be able to know the sound the letter makes in order to be able to sound out words, learn to read, and ultimately be able to comprehend. Being able to blend correspondences together is one of the steps that children need to be able to do, in order to read effectively.  Making blending fun can help a child accomplish the task of blending faster.  The goal of this lesson is to teach children how to blend sounds together to make words.

Materials: class set of The Smallest Tree, class set of “merry-go-round” game, class set of “Elkonin boxes” and class set of the following 1 inch letters and digraph: a, b, c, e, g, i, k, l, m, n, o, p, s, t, u

The “merry-go-round” game is made by cutting out two circles, one bigger than the other and held together by a paper fastener.  The paper fastener in the center of the circles will allow the circles to be able to turn.  The top, smaller circle is the actual merry-go-round and the bottom larger circle is the ground surrounding the merry-go-round.  A letter should be chosen to ride the merry-go-round, which is an onset.  Around the merry-go-round on the ground are rimes that will be blended with the onset.

1. Class, today we are going to learn how to blend phonemes.  We have already learned that phonemes are the sounds made by letters or groups of letters.  Today we are going to learn how to blend phonemes together in order to read a word.

2.   Do you know what kind of sound a snake makes when it is hissing?  ssssssssss
      Great!  That is the sound we are going to work on today.  When we see S in words
      that is our signal to say hiss ­ sssssssss.  Today we are going to learn to blend /s/ with
      other phonemes to make words.

3. Have a poster size “merry-go-round” game made to teach the students how to blend and play the game.

Students, we are going to play a “merry-go-round” game today.  The hissing s snake selfishly wants to ride the merry-go-round by himself.  He is going to have to learn to blend in with others and get along.  As he comes to each group of friends wanting to ride, he will blend with them to make a word.  I’m now going to turn the merry-go-round and have the hissing s snake team up with different friends.

Model for the students how to play the game.  The first group of letters we come to is cale when combined with s it makes scale.  Next we have cab. When the hissing s snake decides to play with cab we have scab.  Do we have any volunteers for the next word?  Great! Top combined with s is stop.  Continue doing the “merry-go-round” game with the students to model how to correctly blend and play the game.


5. I’m going to pass out “Elkonin” boxes.  Each box stands for the number of sounds that you here in a word.  I’m going to tell you how many boxes that you need to have open at a time.

Open four boxes.  I want you to spell: snap, spat, slim, smog, skin, slat, slum, smell, scab

Open five boxes.  I want you to spell: skunk, slant, split,

Now I’m going to write the words that I had you spell on the chalkboard and I’m going to call on different students to read the words.

6. We are going to read The Smallest Tree as a class.  I will call on each student to read a sentence from the book.  (Not only will you assess student’s understanding of blending, when they individually play the “merry-go-round” game, but also as they read, noting any miscues.)

7. Assessment:  “Merry-go-round” game.  Go around the room and ask students to individually read words from the “merry-go-round”.

Instructions:  I’m going to pass out  “merry-go-rounds” to everyone.  Remember the hissing s snake is to learning how to blend in with others and make friends, by sharing his turn on the merry-go-round. As s comes to a group of friends, I want you to blend the s with his new friends.  They will make a team.  I want you to see what word they make together as a team.  I will be coming around the room, to ask you what words the different friends make when blended with their friend the letter s.


Crowley, Sharon J. & Merritt, King. (2000). Remediating Reading Difficulties, (Boston: McGraw Hill) 3, p. 19.
Murray, B.A. & Lesniak, T. (1999).  “The Letterbox lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding.”  The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.
“Wallach & Wallach’s Tongue Twisters.”  http://www.auburn.edu~murraba/twisters. html.
Eidson, Kim & Murray, Dr. Bruce (Winter 2000). The Road to Reading Success.  .  “Go Down the Roller Coaster” p. 33.

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