Plenty of Popping


Emergent Literacy

Shealy Melton



            In order to learn how to read and write, children need to be aware that spoken words have phonemes that are the sounds of the letters.  They also need to understand the relationship between these sounds and the letters that represent them.  In this lesson students will learn to identify p = /p/ in written and spoken words.


-Primary paper and pencil

- Chart with “Peggy Prince sipped pink lemonade at the park.  Peggy put her straw    

  deep into the cup and patted her puppy and ate a pile of popcorn.  Then she sipped

  and sipped the pink lemonade.”

-Picture cards of the following:  pig, pen, cat, soap, pear, bat, dog, plane, apple

-“Hop on Pop” by Dr. Seuss.


  1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that all of the letters of the alphabet have different sounds.  Also explain that our mouths move differently when we say the different letters.
  2. Ask the students, “Have you ever heard popcorn popping in the microwave?  Can anyone tell me what sound popcorn makes?  You’re right!  The sound that popcorn makes sounds a lot like the sound the letter p makes.  Now, let’s all make the /p/ sound together.”  Demonstrate the /p/ sound and then have everyone join in.  “Great job!  When we make the /p/ sound, does anyone notice what your lips do?”  Demonstrate with exaggeration the act of putting your lips together and letting out a small breath.  Ask the class to do this with you.  “Some words that have the /p/ sound are, pan, rap, and pop.  Everyone pretend to pop popcorn a couple of times.  This is the /p/ sound.”
  3. “Now let’s try a fun tongue twister” [on chart].  Read it to them first and then explain the activity with the tongue twister.  “This time when we read the tongue twister, every time you hear and say the /p/ sound, pretend your hands are pieces of popcorn and make them pop/bounce in the air like popcorn.”  Repeat the activity until all of the students are popping at the correct times.
  4. [Practice writing the letter p].  Have students take out a piece of primary paper and a pencil.  “Now that we all know what p sounds like, we’re going to learn and practice how to write the letter p.  Everyone pick up your pencil and follow my instructions.  To make the letter p, start at the fence and draw all the way down to the ditch.  Pick your pencil up and take it back up to the fence.  Now, draw a half circle that goes down to the sidewalk and touches the stick.  Now, I want all of you to make 5 more letter p’s while I walk around and see how good they are.”  Walk around and help students who need more guidance.  When they have all mastered this, continue with the lesson.
  5. “Okay, now I’m going to give you a couple of words.  Tell me which one you hear /p/ in.  For example, I will say, ‘Do you hear /p/ in skip or run?  Sss – kkk – iii – ppp. Skip.  Rrr – uuu – nnn.  Run.  I hear the /p/ in skip!   Now, let's try this with the rest of our words.

Do you hear /p/ in:

            doze or sleep?

            up or down?

            sing or rap?

            apple or orange?

             “To practice a bit more, I’m going to show you a couple of pictures.  I want you

            to say what the picture is and if it has the /p/ sound, make a noise like you are a

            piece of popcorn.”  [Hold up picture cards with the following:  pig, pear, pen, bat,

            cat, dog, soap, plane, apple].

  1. Read Hop on Pop, by Dr. Seuss.  Tell students to raise their hands every time they hear the /p/ sound.  When they do this, write the words on the board.  After reading, have them look around the room and see if they can find other words with p in them.  Talk about the words.
  2. For assessment, give the students a worksheet with pictures and words containing the correspondence p = /p/ mixed with words that do not.  The students will circle the pictures and words that have p = /p/.


 Adams, Marilyn Jager. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print. 1990.

 Dr Seuss, Hop on Pop.  Random House:  New York, New York. 1987

 Eldridge, J Loyd.  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Prentice Hall, 1995. p.23-34

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