D-d-do you hear Dan’s drum?

                                                          Emergent Literacy

                                                                 Lauren Elliott



Rationale: Children must have an understanding of the alphabetic principle in order to learn how to read and write. Since the alphabetic principle is our primary goal for readers, we must first take the necessary steps to get them here. This includes learning about each letter of the alphabet and the phonemes which correspond to each one. In this lesson, I will be teaching the letter d and the phonemic sound of d. Students will learn how to write the letter d and will practice recognizing the phoneme d in written and spoken words by listening for the /d/ sound during a reading activity and by circling pictures that contain the /d/ sound.


Materials: Primary writing paper and white paper for each student; pencils; poster with tongue twister: “Dan dances to the drum down the hall to dinner every day”; Emergent Literacy assessment worksheet; word cards: dribble, sad; Teacher copy of The Ugly Duckling by: Hans Christian Andersen; dry erase board and marker.



1. Say: “Everyone knows the alphabet right? a,b,c,d… We learn how to say our ABC’s when we are little. It is important to learn all about our ABC’s because it is made up of 26 letters that we use everyday to read and write. Just like it took us a while to learn our ABC’s, it also takes a while to learn each sound that every letter makes. Today we are going to take a look at the letter d and talk about the sounds it makes, the way our mouth moves when we say it and we will even be pointing out pictures that start with the letter d. Let’s get started!


2. Ask students: “Have you ever heard the sound of a drum?”  Say: “When I say a word that has d in it, I think of someone beating a drumstick on a drum.” (tap pencil on table as a drumstick.) Say the word ‘dog.’ “When I say /d/ my tongue starts at the roof of my mouth behind my front teeth then drops down almost to my bottom teeth, making my jaw drop a little at the same time. Think of a drummer making the d sound with his drumsticks. He holds it up high then drops it down to make the sound in a movement kind of like the one our mouth makes when we say /d/.”


3. Try a tongue twister [on chart]. “Dan dances to the drum down the hall to dinner every day.” Everybody say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, drop your drumstick and stretch the /d/ at the beginning of the words. “/d/-/d/-dan /d/-/d/-dances to the /d/-drum /d/-down the hall to /d/-d inner every /d/-d ay.”


4. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil.] “Let’s use our drumstick [pencil] to spell /d/. Here we have three lines. The top one is the sky, the dotted middle line is the fence and the bottom line is ground. To write the lowercase d we start at the fence and drop down to the ground and quickly back around to the fence making a small circle that looks like a little drum. Now we will make a drumstick to go with the drum we just drew so start at the sky and drop straight down to the ground just barely striking your drum on the right side. [Model then practice once with students]. Now try it on your own. After I give you a check on your paper, I want you to write it nine more times. When you see the letter d all by its self in a word, that means that it stands for the /d/ sound.


5. Practice finding d in the words dribble and sad. Model how to find d in the word dribble.Take a good look at the word and remember how we wrote the lower-case d. A little drum then a drumstick. Not a drumstick then a little drum-that would be a different letter- b). Can someone point out the letter d in the word dribble? Call on student. Now listen for the /d/- /d/-drum sound. /d/-/d/-/d/-dribble. Did you hear it? What about the word sad?”


6. Call on students to answer and explain how they knew: “Do you hear /d/ in wall or doll? Dark or light? Under or Over?


7. Read The Ugly Duckling and talk about story. Reread and have students raise hand when they hear /d/ or recognize d in a word.  Write words on dry erase board. Have students draw a picture about their favorite part of the story and write a sentence about it using invented spelling if time permits.


8. To assess the students, hand out the emergent literacy assessment worksheet and have them circle each picture whose names begin with /d/.



Reading Genie Website: Dr. Bruce Murray



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Emergent Literacy Assessment worksheet