Christina Smith

Emergent Literacy




Perfectly Poised P’s


Letter recognition is one of the two best predictors for reading success (Adams).  Successful reading will only follow a strong foundation of letter recognition, because students must be able to identify the written symbol with the sound that corresponds with it.  The goal of this lesson is to teach the letter p through guided practice of the sequence of its written features and its oral pronunciation features.  After this lesson, students will be able to recognize and write the symbol for p, identify /p/ in spoken language, and learn how to say the letter p.



1.  small white board

2.  one pencil and piece of primary paper per students

3.  a large cut-out of the letter p

4.  crayons

5.  a large visual with the tongue twister “Poised Patty prepared popcorn.”

6.  a small bag of popcorn for each student

7.  a copy of the poem “Popcorn”


Pop, pop, pop
Says the popcorn in the pan.
Pop, pop, pop
You may catch me if you can.
Pop, pop, pop
As they scamper across the heat.
Pop, pop, pop
They are very good to eat!
Pop, pop, pop
Goes the popcorn in the pan
Pop pop pop
Try to catch me if you can
Pop pop pop
Go my kernels bright and yellow
Pop pop pop
I'm a happy little fellow
pop pop pop pop pop pop pop


1.  “Today students we will lean all about the letter p.  P is found in the alphabet right after L,M,N,O,…P.  P makes the sound puh, puh, puh.  Everyone say the letter p three times…/p/ /p/ /p/.  Very Good!  We say and hear the letter p everyday.  We hear it in lots of words like pie, party, and pumpkin.  And we also hear it around the house, while we are making popcorn (pop fingers open like popping popcorn) /p/, /p/, or in a leaking sink (touch fingers into the palm of hand) /p/, /p/.  I know we all must like popcorn…/p/ /p/ /p/ (demonstrate hand gestures).  Excellent.

2.  Let’s take a little closer look into what makes the letter p different from every other letter we say.  When we say the letter p our mouths do very special things.  Your lips come together, then pop open, as a small puff of air comes out.  Let’s all try saying the letter p again in slow motion as we think about what our mouths are doing.

3.  On this poster I have a tongue twister.  Let’s read it together, ‘Poised Patty prepared popcorn.’  How many times did we hear the letter p?  That’s right, four.  Let’s say our tongue twister again stretching out each and every p sound we say.  “/P//P//P/oised /P/ /P//P/atty /p//p//p/repared /p//p//p/opcorn”  Great Job!

4.  Ok students, we are going to play a little game.  I am going to say two words and you will raise your hand to tell me which word has the sound /p/ in it.  Ready?  Is /p/ in the word cat or pat?...picture or sister? or tin?...pie or lie?...pumpkin or munchkin?  (As student answer each set of words, write the words on a small white board)  Very good!  You are all doing Perfect!

5.  (Pass out large P to each student)  This is what the letter p looks like.  Eveytime your see it you will make the sound that we have been learning today…/p/.  On your P, I would like for wach of you to draw or write items that we just discovered had the /p/ sound in them (pat, picture, pin, pie, pumpkin).”  Give students 3-5 minutes to complete this.

6.  Let’s now look at how we make the symbol for the sound /p/.  Your going to start your pencil at the fence, go straight down past the grass, back up to the fence and loop around to the top of the grass.  (Model for student as you are saying it).  On your primary paper, let’s practice making one p.  (say cues as student make their p’s).  I would like for each of you to continue to make p’s.  Once you have perfected your p’s I will give you a perfectly poised p surprise”  (bag of popcorn).  Circulate the room monitoring each student as they create their p’s and correct as needed.  After students have made 7-10 p’s give them their bag of popcorn.

7.  Read the poem “Popcorn” aloud to the class.  Pass out a copy to each student.  As you are reading have the students circle the words that they hear the p sound in.  After you have read the poem once, read it one more time to allow the students to join in.

8.  Use the children’s copy of the “Popcorn” poem for assessment ensuring they have located the words with the p sound in them, and their large P cut out illustrations.



Adams, Marilyn-Jager.  (1990)  Beginning to Read:  Thinking and Leaning About Print.  Center for the study of Reading and the Reading Research and Education Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne.


Mink, Shay.  Oh My Toe!


Murray, Bruce.  Mouth Moves and Gestures for Phonemes.

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