Zigby Zigzags



Emergent Literacy


Nicole Pender


Rationale:    This lesson is designed to teach emergent readers to recognize the grapheme z in written words and the phoneme /z/ in spoken words.  The students will gain this knowledge by listening and repeating the spoken phoneme /z/ as well as practicing writing the upper and lower case grapheme.  This knowledge is important because, ć A child who can recognize most letters with thorough confidence will have an easier time learning about letter sounds and word spellings than a child who still has to work at remembering what is whatä (Marilyn Jager Adams).



    ~Primary Paper and pencil

    ~Tongue Twister {Zigby the zebra is zany for zigzagging in zoos.}  written on the board or a poster

    ~A bag of objects--some that start with z, some that do not start with z (ex.: zebra, house, zigzag, fire truck, zero, dog, zoo )

    ~Zigby hunts for treasure.  Paterson, Brian.  HarperCollins, 2003.

    ~picture worksheet for assessment with pictures of things that start with z. (zebra, zigzag, zero, zoo) 



~Class will begin with a review of the previously taught vowels and consonants. Discuss both the grapheme and the phoneme and ask students to think of words representing those phonemes.
~Write the letter z on the board.  Do any of you see anything that begins with the letter z? The letter z says /z/.
~Oh, you see a zebra?  Do you hear the /z/ in the word zebra? It sounds like a buzzing bee that is zigzagging in the air.  Everyone practice your buzzing bee.  Good!  Now, from now on, when you hear me say a word that has the /z/ sound I want you to put your thumbs together and wave your fingers while you buzz like a zigzagging bee.  Here we go!  Today we are going to read a book named /z/igby hunts for treasure.  Oh wonderful!  I saw and heard my buzzing bees!
~Before we read our book, we are going to learn a tongue twister. Write on the board: Zigby the zebra is zany for zigzagging in zoos.  Say it with me!  Now, as we say it more slowly, we are going to do our buzzing bee motion for every /z/ sound.  Ready?  Zzzzzzigby the zzzzzzebra is zzzzzzany for zzzzzzigzzzzzzagging in zzzzzzoos.  OK great!  That was so much fun I want you to try that again. 
~Now we are going to read our book about Zzzzzzzigby.  Zigby hunts for treasure by Brian Paterson. Now because Zigby is hunting for treasure, we are going to hunt for our treasure of the /z/ sound.  When you discover this treasure you need to do a short buzzing bee.  Letās try our title again and see if anyone can find our treasure sound by buzzing. 
~Now we are going to practice writing our treasure letter z.  Ask students to get out their primary paper and a pencil. We use the letter z to spell /z/. Lets all write it together. To make the capital letter Z you start on the top line and zig to the side, zag down to bottom line on the other side, and zig back across.  Everybody try it.  Raise your hand when you are done and I will come and see it. After I have seen it, I want you to write 5 more Zās the same way.  After everyone is done, show them that to write a lowercase z, you do the same zig zag zig but you start from the middle line and finish on the bottom line.  Everybody try it.  Please raise your hand when you are done and I will come and see it. After I have seen it, I want you to write a 5 more the same way.  Now, when you hear the /z/ in a word, then that is your signal to write the letter z, and when you see the letter z in a word, then thatās your signal to say /z/.
~I will model to the students how to think about the beginning sounds.  Do I hear /z/ in zoo or moo? Do I hear /z/ in one or zero? Ask the students questions like:  Do you hear /z/ in zany or brainy?  Do you hear /z/ in zucchini or cucumber?
~Get out the bag of objects.  Pull out the objects.  Ask what they are and if they have the /z/ sound or not.  For example, pull out a toy zebra.  What is this? A zebra. Does it have the /z/ sound? Yes.  Good!  Then pull out paper clip.  What is this? A paper clip. Does a paper clip have the /z/ sound? No. Good job!
~For assessment, distribute a sheet with pictures on it and have the students color the pictures that begin with the /z/ sound and x out the pictures that do not start with the /z/ sound.


1. Adams, Marilyn. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print - A
Summary. Champaign: Center for the Study of Reading Research and
Education Center, 1990.

2. Paterson, Brian. Zigby hunts for treasure.  HarperCollins. 2003.

3. Keith, Cassie.  Hello H!  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/begin/keithel.html


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