P is for P-P-P-Pumpkins

Emergent Literacy Lesson

Landon McKean



In order for children to be successful in phonics, reading and spelling, they need to understand phonemes.  Children learn to recognize different phonemes and sounds by matching letters to their vocal gestures in spoken contexts.  In this lesson, children will learn the sound and spelling of /p/.  They will practice using and identifying the letter p in written and spoken content.



Copy of the tongue twister for each student

Copy of the Pumpkin coloring page for each student

Copy of “The Pumpkin Eater” poem

Copy of “The P Song”

Copy of the Piglet coloring book page for each student

Copy of the Peter Pan coloring book page for each student

Crayons for each student

Pair of scissors for each student

“The Three Little Pigs” story

Copy of the /p/ assessment worksheet for each student

Copies of “The Pumpkin Eater” worksheet for each student



 1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that our written language is a secret code.  Explain to the students that the complicated part to learning what letters represent is the mouth moves that we make as we say the words. "Today we are going to be investigators. We want to find out what movement our mouth makes when we say the /p/ sound. Soon you will be able to uncover the /p/ sound in all types of words."

2. “To make the /p/ sound we must move our mouth in a certain way.”  Model how to move your mouth to make the /p/ sound.  Put your lips together and pop the p in the words popcorn, pig, pizza, and penguin.  “First, put your lips together, then open your lips and let a puff of air come out.  You have just made the /p/ sound.  Can you think of any other words that begin with the /p/ sound?”


3. "Let’s try a tongue twister.”  Pass out a copy of the tongue twister to each student.  Model each reading of the tongue twister and the corresponding activity.  “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.  Let’s all say it three times together.  Now say it again, and this time, pop the p at the beginning of the words.  When we say the /p/ sound, pop your fingers open like a piece of corn popping open to make popcorn.”  Read the poem while incorporating the p gesture.  “Let’s do it again and this time let’s break it off the word.  /p/-eter /p/-iper /p/-icked a /p/-eck of /p/-ickled /p/-eppers.”


4. Give each student a copy of the pumpkin worksheet.  Let the students color the pumpkin with the crayons and cut them out with a pair of scissors.  “For our first fun p activity, each of you are going to color a picture of a pumpkin.  What sound do you hear at the beginning of the word pumpkin?”  The teacher should walk around and observe the students work. 


5. “Now, I am going to read a poem called “The Pumpkin Eater” and I want you to listen for the /p/ sound.”  Read them poem aloud to students.

Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater;

Had a wife and couldn’t keep her;

He put her in a pumpkin shell,

            And then he kept her very well.

            “When I read the poem this time, I want you to hold up your pumpkin each time

            you hear the /p/ sound.”


6. “For our second fun p activity, we are going to sing a song with the /p/ sound in it.”  Write the p words which will be sung in the song on the board.

“The P Song
(Sung to: B-I-N-G-O)
I know a word that starts with P,
And pizza is its name.
And pizza is its name.

Other words to spell:
P-U-P-P -Y

 After each verse of the song, ask students “What word did we sing that starts with the /p/ sound?”


7. Pass out the p coloring book pages of Piglet and Peter Pan as well as crayons.  Let each student pick out which picture he or she would like to color.  “Now everyone is going to color a picture of a character whose name begins with p.  Who can tell me who this is?”  Hold up the picture of Peter Pan.  “Who can tell me who this is?”  Hold up the picture of Piglet.

8. “As you color your p picture, I am going to read you the story of “The Three Little Pigs.”  Try to listen to the words which begin with the /p/ sound.”  Read “The Three Little Pigs aloud to the class. 


9. In order to assess each student’s understanding of the /p/ sound, give each student a worksheet with pictures on it.  Have several pictures that begin with the /p/ sound on it as well as several pictures that do not begin with the /p/ sound.  Instruct the students to circle each picture which begin with the /p/ sound.  “For our last p activity, each one of you will complete this p worksheet.  Follow the directions:  Circle each picture that starts with p.”

10. Give each student a copy of “The Pumpkin Eater” worksheet.  Instruct the students to have a skilled reader read over the poem with them at home while they point out which words make the /p/ sound to the parent or older sibling.  “Tonight for homework, I want you to tell your parents or an older sibling about the secret code you discovered in class today.  Show them this worksheet and point out each word that begins with the /p/ sound as they read the poem aloud to you.”    



Internet Site:  Choron, Anna.  SSSSnake Talk.  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/begin/choronel.htm

Internet Site:  Montgomery, Beth.  SSSSneaky SSSSnake.  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/explor/montgomeryel.html

Internet Site:  ChildFun Family Website.  ChildFun, Inc., 1996-2004. http://www.childfun.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=51

Book:  Mother Goose, A Classic Collection of Children’s Nursery Rhymes.  Dalmatian Press, LLC, 2005. 

 Book:  Gikow, Louise, ed.  Favorite Fairy Tales and Fables.  “The Three Little Pigs.”  Dalmatian Press, LLC, 2004.

 Internet Site:  coloringbookfun.com/piglet/imagepages/image5.htm

 Internet Site:  http://www.first-school.ws/t/cp_nr/peter_b.htm

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