“Ssss…Goes Sammy the Slithering Snake”

Emergent Literacy Lesson

Lindsay Williams




 In order for children to read and spell words, they must understand that letters stand for sounds or "phonemes" and that these phonemes are mapped out in letters or "graphemes" in the spelling of words.  Before children can match letters to phonemes, they have to be able to recognize phonemes in spoken word contexts.  This lesson will help children identify the /s/ sound when they hear it.  They will learn to recognize /s/ by learning a meaningful representation of the sound and a letter symbol s, and then practice finding /s/ in words.


·        Primary paper and pencil

·        Sammy the Snake picture

·        Tongue twister (Sammy the sneaky snake slithered smoothly to the other side)

·        Pictures on popsicle sticks that start with the /s/ sound and some words that do not: sand, sun, seat, sail, saw, sock, seal, land, fun, beat, nail, paw, rock, meal

·        Dry erase board and marker for teacher

·        Sally Goes to the Seashore


  1. Boys and Girls, do you remember why it is important for us to learn the letters of the alphabet and the sounds that each letter make? “That’s right!” We learn them so that we can become better readers because when we are better readers we can learn more each day.
  2. Can anyone tell me what letter we learned yesterday? “Good, we learned all about the letter r and what sound it makes. Well today we are going to learn a new letter. Can anyone tell me what letter comes after r in the alphabet? Good Job Suzie. Today we are learning all about the letter s.
  3. To help us learn about the letter s we have a friend who would like to join. His name is Sammy the Snake. He is going to travel with us through our lesson and help us out. Can everyone tell me what sound s makes? Everyone will hopefully respond with the “sssssssss” sound. Good job boys and girls! This is the sound that snake makes as it slithers and slides across the ground. “I want everyone to put their teeth together in a smile and then I want you to push air through your teeth by pressing your tongue against your teeth to make the /s/ sound. Ok, let’s try it together. “Sssssss.”
  4. Now we are going to do what is called a tongue twister where you will hear lots of words with the /s/ sound. When you hear a word that you think makes that sound, I want you to move your hand like a snake would and say “sss.” Ok we will do this together. Sssammy the ssssneaky ssssnake sssslithered ssssmoothly to the other sssside. We will go through this sentence a few times to make sure everyone is slithering their hand on the correct words.
  5. Alright boys and girls, now we are going to learn how to write the letter s. If everyone would please take out your pencil and the lined paper that is being passed out, we will begin writing. First, we are going to make a lower-case s. To make a lower-case s you make a tiny c up in the air and then you swing back. I will model this for the children on my dry erase board and I will walk around to see if all of the children have correctly written a lower-case s. Then, they will each write a lower-case s five times on their paper. Next, we will learn how to make an upper-case s. “Good job students! Now, we are going to make an upper-case s. First, you will form a cup in the air between the rooftop and the fence, and then you will swing back. I will again model this for them and then walk around to see if any of them are having trouble. They will then write an upper-case s five times as well.
  6. Most of the children that do not know the letter s will not be able to read a book on their own, so I will read the book “Sally Goes to the Seashore” to them aloud. I will instruct them to make their slithery snake with their hand whenever they hear a word that makes the /s/ sound. We will stop on every page and make sure they are all with me.
  7. I will assess the students understanding of the /s/ sound by holding up a collection of two pictures on popsicle sticks. One picture will have the /s/ sound in it and the other will not. They will have to identify which of the two pictures contains the /s/ sound. Then I will give the students a sheet with pictures on it and they must circle the picture that contains the /s/ sound.


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