The Slimy, Scaly, Slithering Snake

Emergent Literacy Lesson Design

By: Bethany Bice


When learning to read and to spell words, students should be able to recognize that the Alphabet is made up of many letters, each with its own individual and unique sound.  Students must first recognize these letters and their sounds before he or she can move on to recognizing other phonemes.  This lesson will focus on identifying that s = /s/.  My goal for this lesson is that the students will be able to recognize, identify, and locate the letter s in both spoken and written language.  The students will also learn how to correctly write the letter s on his or her own paper.



1. Introduce the lesson to the group of students by explaining that each letter of the Alphabet has its very own special sound.  "We are going to be learning about the letter S and the special sound that it makes.  Throughout our lesson we will be learning all about the letter S ö we will learn the special sound that it makes, what it looks like, how to write it, how to hear it whenever we talk, and how to recognize it whenever we read."

2. Ask the students:  "How many of you have ever seen a snake?  Can you make your arm move like a snake?  Try this!"  (Model the snake movement with the arm).  "Has anyone ever heard the sound that a snake makes?  What does it sound like?"  (Listen for responses).  "This is the sound that we will be listening for as we learn about our new letter, S.  Now, let's all say the snake sound together on three.  One, Two, Three ö SSSSS!"

3. "To begin with, let's try a tongue twister!"  (The tongue twister should be displayed on a chart).  "Sarah saw the slimy, scaly, snake slithering slyly past Stacey and Stephen."  "Now let's say it together three times.  Ready, Go!"  "Good job everyone!  Let's say the tongue twister one more time, and this time let's stretch out each word that has a /s/ sound, just like a snake would.  Ready, Go!  SSSarah sssaw the ssslimy, ssscaly, sssnake ssslithering ssslyly past SSStacey and SSStephen."  "SSSuper job everyone!"

4. (Give the primary writing paper and a pencil to each student).  "Let's use the letter /s/ to spell the letter /s/."  (Model how to make the letter S on primary paper).  "Let's make an S!  First, we are going to make a C up in the air between the rooftop and the fence, and then we are going to swing back and let our S rest on the sidewalk.  Now I would like for everyone to try and make an S on their paper.  I am going to walk around and watch everyone make an S.  When I have watched you make your S, and you have received a snake sticker, then I would like for you to continue in making an entire row of /s/.  Whenever you see the letter /s/ in a word, that will signal for you to make the snake sound ö SSS!"

5. "Now we are going to play a game!  I am going to read a word to you and if you hear the /s/ sound in my word then I want you to hold up the Snake Puppet.  If you do not hear the /s/ in my word then I want you to hold up your NO S sign.  Let's begin!"  (Read each of the following words, allowing time for the students to respond with the corresponding puppets).  Sarah, Moon, Sun, Time, Super, Saw, Lunch, Sand, Stop, and Gate.  (After all words have been read go back over the /s/ words and stress the /s/ sound in each).

6. "I will read aloud the book ö Hide and Snake by Keith Baker."  After reading the book once, talk with the students about the story.  Read the book once more and have the students hold up their snake puppet whenever they hear a /s/.  They can also move their arms in the "snake movement."

7. For assessment, a page with 5 pictures will be given to each student.  Underneath each picture will be primary writing lines.  We will name each picture together and then the students will write a S next to each picture with a /s/ sound.


Tyler, Beth. "Smiling Snake."

Brown, Leah.  "Sneaky Slimy Snake."

Click here to return to Discoveries.