Buzz Like a Bee With Z

Lauren Reynolds

Emergent Literacy Design


Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /z/, the phoneme represented by Z. Students will learn to recognize /z/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (buzzing like a bee) and the letter symbol Z. The students will also practice finding /z/ in words.



·Primary Paper



·Poster with Tongue Tickler (Zany zebras zoomed in the zoo.)

·Word Cards (zap, zone, zoo, zing, zero)

·The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z! by Steve Martin and Roz Chast

·Assessment worksheet





1. Say: Sometimes our written language can be very tricky, and it can be hard to understand what letters stand for. Today we are going to be learning the letter Z and the sound it makes /z/. We spell /z/ with letter Z. Z looks like a zig-zag and /z/ sounds like the sound a bumblebee makes when it is buzzing.


2. Let's pretend that we are bumblebees buzzing around, /z/, /z/, /z/. (Pantomine buzzing like a bee). When we say /z/, the tip of our tongues touch above the tops of our teeth. From now on when we hear /z/ or see a Z we are going to act like we are bumblebees zig-zagging through the air. Let's try it now by pretending to buzz through the air with our arms out like we are flying.


3. Let me show you how to find /z/ in some different words. Listen while I stretch out the word buzz very slow, and I want you all to listen for me buzzing like a bee. Bb-u-zzz. Slower: Bbb-uuzzzzz. Did you hear it? I did! While I was saying the /z/ sound my tongue touched above the top of my teeth. I can hear the buzzing sound /z/ when I say buzz.


4. Let's try a tongue twister together (on chart). Zany zebras zoomed in the zoo. I want everybody to say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time stretch the /z/ sound when you hear it at the beginning of the words. Zzzany zzzebras zzzoomed in the zzzoo. Now try it again, and this time, break the /z/ off of the word. /Z/any /z/ebras /z/oomed in the /z/oo.


5. (Have students take out primary paper and pencils). Say: we use the letter z to spell /z/. A capital Z looks like a zig-zag. To write a capital Z, start at the rooftop and write a big seven down to the sidewalk and then go back. Lowercase looks similar to the capital Z. To write a lowercase z, start at the fence and write a seven down to the sidewalk and then go back. I want everyone to write a lowercase z. After I have looked at your z and put a sticker on your paper, I want you to write nine more just like it.



6. Call on students and ask how they know the answer to the following:

            Do you hear /z/ in one or zero?

            Do you hear /z/ in lazy or sleepy?

            Do you hear /z/ in funny or crazy?

            Do you hear /z/ in furry or fuzzy?


7. We are going to look at an alphabet book called The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z by Steve Martin and Roz Chast. We will be focusing on the alliteration they give for the letter z. Read that page out loud and then ask them to come up with an alliteration that has 3 or 4 words on their own for the letter z using inventive spelling and then draw an illustration to go with it. Display their work.


8. Show ZAP (on note card) and model how to decide if it is zap or cap. The /z/ tells me to buzz like a bee. This word is zzzz-ip, zip. Now I want you to try some:

            ZONE: zone or lone?

            ZOO: zoo or boo?

            ZING: ring or zing?

            ZERO: hero or zero?


9. For assessment, distribute the attached worksheet and crayons. Students are to complete the worksheet by coloring the words that start with z. During this time I will call students up individually to read the phonetic cue cards from step #8.




·Murrary, Bruce. "Brush Your teeth with F."

·Danask, Sarah. "Zipping Zig-Zag Zippers with Zebras."


·Martin, Steve and Roz Chast. The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2007.

Return to the Caravans index.