Swimmy Swim Swiftly
Emergent Literacy
Jessica Wallace
In order for children to begin to read, it is important for them to have a foundation of letter to sound correspondence. It is important for children to be able to recognize each letter of the alphabet and the sound that they make. By the end of the lesson each student should be able to recognize the grapheme s in text, hear the phoneme /s/ it spoken words, and write the upper and lower case forms of s. Some studies have shown that the best predictors of reading success are letter recognition and phoneme awareness. So it makes it easier for a student to become a successful reader once they are able to recognize letters and their corresponding phonemes.

  1. One big picture of ãSwimmyä cut out and glued on a Popsicle stick.
  2. Small pictures of ãSwimmyä on Popsicle sticks for each student
  3. Book: Swimmy by Leo Lionni
  4. Chalk Board or dry erase board with primary writing lines drawn or taped on it.
  5. Chalk or dry erase markers
  6. Primary writing paper (enough for each student)
  7. Pencils
  8. Poster with Tongue twister on it. ãSwimmy swims swiftly past the scary slithering snake.ä
  9. A worksheet of 6 pictures, 3 that start with the phoneme /s/ and 3 without: snake, sun, squirrel, house, bear, dog.
  10. Cards with individual alphabet letters on them.

  1. Explain why: At first it is important to explain to the students what you want to accomplish in the lesson, or what will be covered. ãSo far we have learned many letters of the alphabet and the sounds that they make. Today we will learn a new letter!! We will learn the letter about the letter s, how to write it and what sound it makes.

  1. Review: It is important to review previous material or background knowledge to trigger the students thinking about the new topic or fill in missing pieces some may not know. We will review some of the letters we covered before the letter s. You could go over the entire alphabet by showing each student a card with a different letter and let them give the name of the letter and the sound it makes. For example, ãNow class lets go over some of the letters we have covered so far. Susie what is the letter and what sound does it make (showing the letter D). Great! Thatâs right!ä And continue on.

  1. Explain How: To introduce the letter S, I will bring out the paper puppet of ãSwimmy.ä
ãOkay boys and girls, today my friend, Swimmy is going to help us learn all about our new letter s.ä I will draw an s on the board. ãHas anyone seen this letter before? The letter is S. Does anyone know what sound it makes? Well Swimmy is going to help us with the new sound.ä

  1. Model: When you say S like when you say Swimmy Swims it makes a ssssss sound. To make this sound everyone needs to but your teeth together, your lips kind of puckered, and you blow air through your teeth while you keep your tongue down. What kind of animal makes this sound? Yes a snake. Great. Now can everyone make that sound with me? SSSSS. Sounds great. Swimmy doesnât like snakes so Swimmy swims swiftly past it. Everyone put your hands together and move them back and forth quickly like Swimmy swims in the sea. Now as we are saying the ssss sound move your hands swiftly so Swimmy can get away from the snake. Great learners. Now we are going to say our tongue twister (bring out the poster with the tongue twister on it). I will say it first, (as you point the the words in the sentence) ãSwimmy swims swiftly past the scary slithering snake.ä Now I am going to say it again slowly and every time you hear the sssss sound I want you to make your own Swimmy swim away from the snake.ä Now we will practice saying the sentence together and stretching out the phoneme /s/.

  1. Simple Practice: ãNow we are going to learn how to write the letter s upper and lower case.ä I will demonstrate for the students how to write the letter s, upper case on the board with the primary lines. ãBoys and girls I am going to show you how to draw the Capital S. ãFirst form a c up in the air between the rooftop and the fence, and then you swing back through the fence and make a curve to the sidewalk so that you have an shape that is looks like a c backwardsä.

ãNow boys and girls itâs your turn to practice your capital S. Take out your primary paper and pencils.ä The first time the students write the letter, I will call at the steps aloud as I am making another S on the board at the same time. Then the students will practice writing the capital letter S 5 more times. I will walk around and observe the class to make sure they are going through the steps properly.
ãGreat job making the Capital Sâs, now we will work on the lower case s.ä I will once again model the s on the board. ãFor the lower case s we will start at the fence and form a tiny c in the air and swing back to the sidewalk, like with the Capital s.ä I will once again have the students practice their first s by practicing along with me and then they will write the lower case s 5 more times. ãOnce again you have done a great job with your letters.ä

  1. Whole Texts: ãNow students I am going to give you your own ãSwimmyä puppet and we are going to read a book by Leo Lionni. It is called Swimmy. As I read the book, every time you hear a word that begins with the ssss sound, I want you to hold up your ãSwimmyä puppet.

  1. Assessment: To conclude the lesson pass out a worksheet to assess what they have learned. The worksheet has pictures of some objects that start with the letter s and some that donât. ãNow I am going to give you a worksheet. Some of the pictures on here start with the /s/ sound and some do not. If you think the picture makes the /s/ sound the color the picture but if the picture does not, put an X on itä.


Adams, Marilyn Jager. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print. Illinois (1990) p. 44.

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