Silly Snakes

Emergent Literacy Lesson Design

Natalie Dekle


Rationale: To learn to read and spell words, children need to learn that words are made up of letters and each letter represents a sound.  Many children are familiar with the s = /s/ concept, but have trouble recognizing it on the end of words, especially plurals.  This lesson is aimed to help students become very familiar with the phoneme /s/.



1. poster with the word hiss written on it, with the two s’s decorated like snakes

2. book Summer Fun by Lucy Lawrence

3. classroom filled with objects containing the /s/ sound. (a normal classroom should have plenty of sufficient objects)

4. worksheet containing described activities



1.  Introduce the lesson by saying, “Boys and girls, today we are going to pretend to be sly slithering snakes in search of letters that make the same sounds that snakes make.” Explain that the /s/ sound can show up in all parts of a word, the beginning, middle and end.

2. Next ask the students “what sound does a snake make?”  Have them make the sound several times and tell them to feel the way their mouth moves.  Then explain that snakes do what is called hissing.  Then model the phoneme/s/ for them as the hissing sound that they will be making today as snakes.   Have the word HISS on a poster and have the last two graphemes of s, decorated to look like snakes.  This will help students associate the phoneme with grapheme by a familiar picture.  Then say “boys and girls, let’s say hiss, do you here the snake sound in the word hiss?” “Now, watch me hiss one more time listen and watch my mouth and let’s make sure we are all making the same sound, /s/.” 

3. Then teach the children a tongue twister about snakes.  Sam the silly snake slithered sideways.  Then discuss the “snake sound” s=/s/, that they hear in the twister. Have the students hold out the /s/ sound in the tongue twister, “SSSSam the sssilly sssnake ssslithered sssidewayssss.”

4. Then have the children continue to be snakes and hiss around the room in pursuit of 1 object that has /s/ in that objects name. Then have each child discuss their object that they found and tell where the /s/ sound is in their word. For example if someone found scissors it has /s/ in the beginning, middle, and end. If they found a bathroom pass, the /s/ is at the end.

5. It is now time to use an easy book to emphasize the snake sound /s/ in texts.  Introduce the book Summer Fun By: Lucy Lawrence, this book contains many words that have the phoneme /s/.  You can introduce the book by saying, “ Boys and Girls, I am going to read you a short story about summer fun and we are still in search of words that make the same sounds as snakes.”  “So, every time you hear a word with the snake sound, hiss /s/ like a snake!”

6. For assessment, have a worksheet that has a primary line at the top. Model how to write an S. Have the students fill up their line with S’s. On the bottom half of the worksheet, have words that have an a in the beginning, middle, and end of the word. Have the students underline the S and have them write where the /s/ sound is in the word. The last thing on the worksheet is a place for them to write the object they found, underline the S and write what part of the word it is found.


Reference: by Shea Fant

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