"Zooming through to Z"
A Lesson Design For Beginning Reading
By Randi Lipscomb

Rationale:  "Prereaders' letter knowledge was the single best predictor of first-year reading achievement, with their ability to discriminate phonemes auditorily ranking a close second" (Adams, 36).  Children need to be able to see a letter, recognize it's meaning and know its phoneme. Through this lesson, children will be able to recognize the letter Z and its phoneme /z/.  They will know how to write both upper and lower case Z as well as identify it in both spoken and written text.


· Primary writing paper
· A pencil for each child
· Crayons
· Z word flashcards
· Zz worksheet
· Dr. Suess's ABC book by Theodore Geisel

1) Class will begin with a review of each letter previously taught:  A-Y.
We will review both recognition of letter and its phoneme.  (Teacher will randomly place upper and lower case letter on board and students will say letter and its phoneme as a group). Additionally have the students give you one word that starts with each letter of the alphabet.  You may also use this review as you read Dr. Suess's ABC book.
2) Place the letter Zz on the board.  Ask students if they know which letter in the alphabet this represents.  Tell them that the Z makes the sound /z/.  Have them repeat after you.  The letter Z says /z/.  Ask students if they know what their mouth does when they make the /z/ sound.  Is your mouth open wide or are your lips close together?  Where is your tongue?  Is it against the back of your teeth?  Are your teeth touching?   Lets practice as a class all together.  Wonderful!  You all are catching on so fast!
3) Let's try a tongue twister.  (Teacher will write on board)  The zesty zebra zoomed zigzag pasted the zoo.  Now lets say it together.  Yeah, that was great!  Now watch me stretch out the /z/ sound.  "The Zzzzesty Zzzzebra Zzzzoomed ZzzzigZzzzag Past the Zzzzoo."  Now, (Ryan) you try to stretch out your Z.  Wonderful!  Now lets do it all together.
4) Have all the children take out their primary paper and pencil.  Teacher will model how to write the letter Z.  Then guide the students through each writing step:  Place your pencils on the roof.  Draw across the roofline of the upstairs then draw a slanted line to the down stairs. This will look the same as the number seven. Without picking up your pencil, finish by drawing across the downstairs.  I want you to practice writing your upper case Z five times.  I will walk around and look at all of your work.  If I give you a sticker then you wrote your Z perfect.  Now lets write our lower case z.  Start at the ceiling of your downstairs.  You are going to make the same motion starting in a different position.  Draw a line across your ceiling of your downstairs and a slanted line down to your downstairs floor.  Without picking your pencil up again finish by drawing a line across your downstairs floor.  What do you notice about the upper case Z and the lower case z?  Right, they are the same just different sizes.
5) Call on students to answer and tell how they know:  Do you hear /z/ in zip or rat?  Map or zap?  Moo or Zoo?  Zipper or button?  Now the teacher will take out flashcards with different words on them.  Make sure to mix up the words and not to have the entire deck starting with Z.  A few example Z words are zoo, zoom, zip, zero, zebra, zucchini, zap and zonk.  The children should recognize the Z cards.  Tell them to hold thumbs up if it is a word that has Z in it and thumbs down if it does not.
6) Read Dr. Suess's ABC book.  Have children tell you each letter along the way and its phoneme.  Also have them give your some words that start with that letter.  (This could have been done early, so you may only want to pick and choose the letters that they give you examples for.)
Activity:  Write the phrase "I went to the Zoo and saw·"  Have the students write a message using invented spelling.  Display work on bulletin board that looks like a zoo cage. (Optional)
Assessment:  Have students to complete worksheet.  They are to circle the picture that starts with the letter Z.  Teacher should model an example on the board.
Additional Activity:  When children have completed above assignments give them Coloring sheet for the letter Z.

1. Adams, Marilyn. Beginning to Read:  Thinking and Learning about Print - A
        Summary. Champaign:  Center for the Study of Reading Research and Education Center,  1990.
2. Coloring Activity Page- http://www.enchantedlearning.com/letters/big/Zz.shtml
3. Geisel, Theodore.  Dr. Seuss's ABC.  New York:  Random House, 1963.
4.  Patterson, Leann.  2003.  "Ribbit,`Ribbit"-

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