Sink with SSSSSS

Barbara Jane Hall

Emergent literacy


Rationale: This lesson will help children identify the phoneme /s/. It is represented by the grapheme s and S. Students need to be able to recognize the phonemes that each letter makes. This is the key for them to be able to recognize letters in words. In this lesson the students will make a connection with /s/ through activities so they can remember the sound. They will practice picking out the /s/ in spoken and written words. Also, the will get to practice writing the grapheme s and S.



Primary paper

Poster with tongue tickler (Sam said he was sorry he put salt in Sally's sandwich.)

Picture of an inner tube loosing air

Word cards with: sit, six, lip, sin, tail

Silly Sally by: Audrey Wood (HMH Books March 1, 1999)



Worksheet – there is a link to it at the bottom.



  1. Today we are going to learn about the sound /s/. The sound /s/ is made by the letter S. Then you will write a big S and little s on the board
  2. /s/ sounds like an inner tube running out of air. If an inner tube runs out of air you sink. So when we say /s/ we should sink (slouch your body over). Demonstrate a sinking s. everyone can you be a sinking /s/. Good job. What did you feel you tongue do when you say /s/. It touches the top of your mouth and your lips go out. Practice being a sinking /s/ a few more times.
  3. Now let me show you how to find /s/ in the word fist. I'm going to stretch fist out in super slow motion and listen for the air coming out of the inner tube the sinking S. Fff-i-i-i-st. Slower: Fffff-i-i-i-ssss-ttt. There is was! I felt my tongue touch the top of my mouth and my lips open. I can feel the sinking s.
  4. Let's try a tongue twister. (get out the tongue twister poster). "Sam said he was sorry he put salt in Sally's sandwich." Everybody lets say it together. Ok lets say it three times. This time when we say it everyone stretch out the /s/ and do the sinking motion. "Sssam ssaid he was sssorry he put sssalt in Ssally's ssandwich." Try again and this time break it off the word: "/s/ am /s/ aid he was /s/ orry he put /s/ alt in /s/ ally's /s/ andwich."
  5. (Have students take out primary paper and pencil). We use the letter S to spell out the /s/ sound/ Lets practice writing the lower case s. You need to start at the fence and go to the ditch line but not into the ditch.  I want to see everybody's s. After I put a sticker on it I want you to write 9 more.
  6. Call on students and to answer and tell how they new: Do you here /s/ in sat or bat? Suffer or pain? Sick or fever? Let's se if we can stop the mouth move /s/ in some words. Be a sinking s every time you here /s/: The, six, sour, sweets, made, the, boy, sick.
  7. Now boys and girls we are going to read the book Silly Sally. Everytime you hear /s/ I want you to give me a thumbs up. Book talk:  Silly Sally is a wild girl.  She walks upside into town.  Her animal friend join her on her walk into town forming a parade, but what will the towns people think about Silly Sally and her animal friends?  Let’s read and find out how the towns people reacted.
  8. Next hold up the Sit card and model how you would know the was sit not bit. Next hold up cards: SIX six or fix? LIP sip or lip? SIN sin or bin? TAIL sail or tail?
  9. For the assessment they will complete the attached worksheet where they will color the picture with words the begin with the sound /s/ and write the letter.



Murray, Bruce-Brush Your Teeth with F

 Adams, M.J. (1990) Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print.  Center for the study of Reading and the Reading Research and Education Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.




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