Pop your popcorn with “P”


Kacie Nickles

Emergent Literacy Design


Rationale: This lesson will help students to associate the phoneme /p/ with the grapheme ‘P’.  I will use the illustration of the sound of a popping popcorn to help students make this association. Students will learn to identify the /p/ in words by using this illustration and associating that phoneme with the letter ‘P’. Students will also practice reading and identifying rhyming words based on the ending phoneme.


Materials: Primary paper, pencils, Disney’s Alphabet A-Z ( Bantam Books, 1989), card with  picture of popping popcorn and letter P on it. hand mirror. Word cards with the words: pop, mop, sop, pan, paint, pat, hop. Assessment worksheet identifying pictures that begin with /p/.



1.     Say: Each letter in the alphabet makes a different sound. Sometimes learning what sounds each letter makes can be tricky. To learn the sounds we can pay attention to the way  our mouths move when we say the letter. Tell the students that today we are going to talk about the letter P

2.     Show the students a picture of popcorn popping. Ask the students what sound popcorn makes when it pops. (/p/) Have the students practice popping their popcorn (this entails saying /p/ over and over and opening their hands each time they make the sound and immediately closing them back. This simulates popcorn popping.)

3.     Next give each student a handheld mirror. Say: I want everyone to pop your popcorn while watching the way your mouth moves in the mirror. Notice how your lips come together and press inward then your mouth opens and makes a narrow “O”.  Say: Now I want to show you how to find the letter ‘p’ in the word lamp. We are going to stretch the word out like this Llll-aaaa-mmmm-ppp. Did you hear it? Now we are going to stretch it out while watching our mouths in our mirrors. Everybody together, lllll-aaaa-mmmm-ppp. Lamp. Now check to make sure the students notice that the /p/ is the last sound in the word lamp.

4.     Introduce the tongue tickler to the students (on the chart). “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”. Have the students say it together 3 times fast. Next have the students slow it down and emphasize /p/. Say: Now we are going to stretch out the /p/ in all of the words. Every time we hear the sound /p/ we are going to stretch it out and pop our popcorn with our hands (motion taught earlier). Ppp-eter Pppp-iper ppp-icked a pppp-eck of ppp-ickled pppp-e-ppppp-ers. Next tell students to try again and this time break the sound from the word. /p/ eter /p/ iper  /p/ icked a  /p/ eck of /p/ ickled /p/ e /p/p/ ers.

5.     (Pass out primary paper) Say: The sound /p/ is spelled with the letter ‘P’ we are going to practice writing a lowercase p. Make a little ‘o’ start at the fence and circle down to the sidewalk but don’t go below it. Then bring your circle around the rest of the way and close it up back at the fence. Next on the left side of your little ‘o’ make a straight line that goes all the way down to the ditch. I am going to walk around and look at everyone’s little p. After I put a smile on it I want you to make 10 more.

6.     Call on students to tell how they knew: Do you hear /p/ in hot or pot? Paint or marker? Up or  down? Pan or Tan? Pepper or onion? Say lets see if you can spot the mouth move /p/ in some words. Pop your popcorn with your hands when you hear it. “Penny picks purple pickles for pink pie.”

7.     Say: Now we are going to look at an alphabet book with some of our favorite Disney characters in it. Everyone turn to the “P” page. You should see a picture of Peter Pan and a Pirate. Lets see what kind of ‘P’ words he can come up with. (Read Page) Now I want you to come up with 3 more words that begin with ‘P’. Have students draw a picture of the object and invent spelling.

8.     Show students POT and model how to tell if it is pot or hot. We listen for the popcorn sound ppppp-o-t.  Next give them some to try. PAINT, is it paint or faint. PANTS is it pants or ants. PRIDE is it pride or ride.

9.     *Assessment* Distribute worksheet. Have students complete partial spelling and color the pictures that start with /p/

Reading Genie