Gulping Guppies

Emergent Literacy Lesson
Katie Edema



In order for children to learn how to read they must first understand that words are made up of vocal gestures which are represented by written letters.  The association between the vocal gestures and written letters is essential, which is why teachers must teach and review the letter – sound correspondences explicitly.  For this lesson, I will be teaching the capital and lower case letter g as well as the vocal gesture /g/.  This will allow the children to make a connection between what the letter g looks like and how it sounds (/g/).  The goal of this lesson is that the children will know how to write an upper and lower case g, identify g written texts, and know that the phoneme /g/ corresponds to the letter g.  I also want them to be able to identify objects that begin with the letter g.  Students will learn to recognize /g/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then by identifying objects that begin with /g/.  Note:  This lesson does not include the sound correspondence /j/.


- Pencils

- Writing paper (with lines)

- A board for the teacher to write on as well as a marker to write with.

- Worksheet with pictures of objects that begin with /g/ as well as some which do not. Ex: goat, grass, banana, glasses, chair.

- Giggle, Giggle Quack by Doreen Cronin


Explain Why:  First, it is important to explain to the students that each letter has its very own mouth movement that makes a distinct sound.  “Today we are going     to be secret detectives.  We are going to be listening and looking for the letter g which makes the sound /g/.  g is very shy, so we need to look and listen carefully so that we don’t miss it.  Once we get to know g a little better I think we’ll be able to spot it right away!”

Review:  Before beginning a new letter the teacher should review some of the letter – sound correspondences that the students already know.  This will get the students minds in the letter – sound recognition mode and will hopefully be a cue for them to understand the new letter quicker and with more ease.  “Listen to my sentence and tell me what letter you hear the most, ‘Big bad bashful Ben built a banjo from a bundle of branches.’”  They will then say b. “Correct, the letter b says /b/.  Ask the students if they can think of an alliteration using a letter we’ve already learned.  This continues for awhile. “Great!  Now we are going to be searching for that shy letter g which makes the sound /g/. 

Explain How:  Before teaching the new letter in depth the teacher should explain what will happen in the lesson and what will be expected of the students.  “First we are going to learn and practice how to say the new sound /g/, and then we will learn to write the letter g which makes the sound /g/.  At the very end after you all know how to say and write the letter g you will have to find different things that start with the letter g.

Model:  “Does anyone know what sound the letter g makes?  g makes the sound /g/.  Can you say /g/?  Everyone open your mouth a little, raise the back of your tongue like a hill and open your voice box to make the sound /g/.  Great!  The sound /g/ is the same sound you make when you’re gulping down your milk.  Can everyone grab their glass of milk (pretend) and gulp down your milk by making the /g/ sound?  The students and teacher can act like they are gulping milk while emphasizing that /g/ sound.  The word giggle begins with the /g/ sound but the word quack does not.  Does the word ghost or does the word duck begin with g?  That’s right, ghost begins with g, the /g/ sound.


The students will learn to write the letter g in capital and lower case format.

“Take out your pencils and a piece of your writing paper because we are now going to learn how to write the letter g.  First we will start with lower case.  Place your pencil on the fence.  Curve around kind of like your making the letter c.  Once you’re to the floor curve back up to the fence and then go straight down to the basement and make a monkey tail by curling back up towards the floor.”

The teacher should model this on the board as the students are learning the new technique.  Have the students repeat about 10 times so that they can practice.  Walk around the room to make sure each student is writing correctly. 

“Great!  Now let’s learn how to make the upper case G.  Everyone place their pencils on the ceiling.  Now curve around like you would make an upper case C.  When you get to the floor, curve up towards the fence.  When you reach the fence go across it just a little bit.”

The teacher should model this on the board as the students are learning the new technique.  Have the students repeat about 10 times so that they can practice.  Walk around the room to make sure each student is writing correctly.

“Great!  You now know how to write the upper and lower case letter g.”

Now raise your hand if you know the answer to my questions.  Here’s a hint, the answer will always start with the sound /g/.  I am thinking of an animal that says ‘honk honk’.  Its name rhymes with moose. (Answer: goose).  I am thinking of something that children do when they hear something funny. It rhymes with wiggle.

(Answer: giggle).  I am thinking of something that you can chew and blow bubbles with.  It rhymes with yum. (Answer: gum).”

Whole Text:  The teacher should now write a few short, but connected sentences up on the board that includes the /g/ sound.  The teacher will read these to the class and emphasize every time the /g/ sound is said.

Now would be a great time to read Giggle, Giggle, Quack by Doreen Cronin or another book that has the /g/ sound which should be emphasized as read.

Assessment:  Give each student a worksheet that has various objects on it that begin with the letter g.  Some of the objects should begin with other sounds so that the students can really search for the /g/.  Have the students either color the pictures that begin with /g/ or they can write the letter g next to the picture.  If the object does not start with /g/ then they should just leave it blank.


Cronin, Doreen. Giggle, Giggle, Quack. Scholastic Inc. New York: 2003.

Elderedge, J. Lloyd. (2005).  Teach Decoding: Why and How, 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Murray, Bruce. Mouth Moves and Gestures for Phonemes

Wyatt, Jillian.

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