Willie the Whale Waves!

Katie Griggs

Emergent Literacy Lesson


Rationale: Students need to learn the relationships between phonemes and graphemes before they can become fluent readers. In this lesson students will learn how to connect the phoneme /w/ with its grapheme W or w. Throughout the duration of this lesson, students will use tools such as pictures, gestures, tongue ticklers, and decodable texts to help them develop their awareness of the /w/ phoneme.



o   Poster board with the tongue tickler written on it – Willie the Whale Waves in the Wind.

o   A copy of Willie the Whale by: Joy Oades

o   Picture of someone blowing out candles (http://images.clipartof.com/small/5613-Man-Blowing-Out-Candles-On-A-Birthday-Cake-Clipart-Illustration.jpg)

o   Primary writing paper and pencil for student

o   Assessment worksheet (http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/w-begins2.htm)



1.     Show the picture of the man blowing out his candles. Say: Does anyone in here like birthdays? I do and I love to blow out my candles on my cake! Does anyone else like to blow out candles? Can you demonstrate what you do when you blow out candles? Allow the student to show the class what it looks like to blow out a candle.

2.     Say: Now I am going to show you how I blow out my candles. Notice what my mouth is doing? (making a small circle). When we say /w/, we blow air through the circle our mouth makes.

3.     Let me show you how to find /w/ in the word wish.  I'm going to stretch wish out in super slow motion and listen for my toothbrush.  Www-i-i-s-s-h.  Slower: Www-i-i-i-s-s-h. There it was!  I felt my mouth make a circle and blow out air. I can feel the candles in /w/ in wish.

4.     Let's try a tongue twister [on poster board]. "Willie the whale waves in the wind." Everyone say it three times together. Try it again and this time break it off the word: /W/ illie the /w/ hale /w/ aves in the /w/ ind. [Make sure this is said in a clear and organized way so the students understand].

5.     [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use letter W to spell /w/. Capital W looks like candles sticking out of a cake.  Let's write the lowercase letter w. Start at the fence. Draw a tilted line all the way down to the sidewalk. Then draw a line tilted the other way up to the fence.  The draw another tilted line the other way back down to the sidewalk. And then draw another line the other way back up to the fence. I want to see everybody's w. After I check your w, I want you to make nine more just like it.

6.     Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you here /w/ in whale or dolphin? We or us? Will or not? Want or have? Say: Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /w/ in some words. Blow out your candles if you hear /w/: The wide white whale waved when he saw Willie wave in the wind.

7.     Say: "Let's look at a W book.  This book names different things that start with W and is about Willie the Whale. Every time you here the /w/ sound in the book act like you are blowing out your candle and make the /w/ sound with your mouth by making a small circle and blowing air out.  Listen as I give you an example. I am reading the title Willie the Whale, so I will pretend I am blowing out a candle and blow air out of the circle my mouth makes because I hear /w/ in Wwwwillie the Wwwwhale. Does everyone understand what we are doing? The teacher should read the book aloud and pause each time the /w/ sound appears.

8.     The students will complete the worksheet by coloring in the words that begin with W and complete the partial spellings for their assessment.



Murray, Bruce. Emergent Literacy Design: Brush Your Teeth with F.

Oades, Joy. Willie the Whale. New York. Picture Window Books. 2004. 32 pages.

Picture of man blowing candles: http://images.clipartof.com/small/5613-Man-Blowing-Out-Candles-On-A-Birthday-Cake-Clipart-Illustration.jpg

Assessment worksheet: http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/w-begins2.htm

Return to the Canvans index.