Say Cheese!

Emergent Literacy

Mary Kay Williams

        To learn to read and spell words, children need the alphabetic insight that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words.  Before children can match letters to phonemes, they have to recognize phonemes. This lesson focuses on the /k/ phoneme.  The goal of this lesson is that children will learn to identify /k/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then practice finding /k/ in printed words.

        Primary paper and pencil
        Chart with "Carol and Claire can cook carrots, corn, cabbage, and candy"
        Class set of cards with c on one side and a question mark on the other
        Drawing paper and crayons
        Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. by Bill Martin Jr. New York: Scholastic, 1991.
        Copies of a camera handout (clipart)
        Printed pictures with Carol,  Claire, can, cook, carrots, corn, cabbage, candy


1.      Introduce the lesson by explaining that our written language is a secret code.  The tricky part is learning what letters stand for – the mouth moves we make as we say words.  Today we're going to work on spotting the mouth move /k/.  Today we are going to search for /k/ in words!

2.      Ask students: Do you ever take pictures?  Does the camera make a clicking sound?  Whenever we hear /k/, we can click like cameras! 

3.      Let's try a tongue twister [on chart.]  "Carol and Claire can cook carrots, corn, cabbage, and candy."  Let's say it three times together.  Now, this time let's stretch out our clicking /k/'s at the beginning of our words.  "CCCCarol and CCCClaire ccccan ccccook ccccarrots, ccccorn, ccccabbage, and ccccandy." Try it again, and this time break it off the word: " /k/ arol and /k/ laire /k/ an /k/ ook /k/ arrots, /k/ orn, /k/ abbage, and /k/ andy.”

4.      Have students take out their primary paper and pencils.  We can use the letter c to spell /k/.  Let's write it on our paper.  Start like little a.  Go up and touch the fence, then around and up.  I want to see everybody's c.  After I put a sticker on it, I want you to make eight more just like it.  When you see letter c all by itself in a word, that's our signal to say /k/ like the cameras.

5.      Call on students to answer and tell how they know:
- Do you ever hear /k/ in cat or dog?
- Do you ever hear /k/ in camera or picture?
- Do you ever hear /k/ in dessert or cake?
- Do you ever hear /k/ in camp or outside?

6.      Pass out c/? cards to each student.  Say: Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /k/ in some words.  Show me the /k/ if you hear the sound or the ? if you don't.  Give the words one at a time: Carol, and, Claire, can, cook, carrots, corn, cabbage, and, candy. 

7.       Read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and talk about the story.  Read it once again.  Have students raise their hands when they hear words with /k/.  List their words they find on a marker board.  Have pre-made handouts with a camera on them for students to write in a message about the book using invented spelling.  Display their work in the classroom.

8.      For assessment, distribute the picture page [made with clipart] and have students name each picture.  Circle the pictures that include /k/.


Martin Jr, Bill.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  New York: Scholastic, 1991.

Meg, Miller.  Buzzy B’s.

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