Slippery, Slimy, Silly, Spaghetti!
By: Katherine Crum
Emergent Literacy

Rationale: It is important that students have decent skills in letter and phoneme recognition, because there are the two most influential skills in reading success. The letter "S" can be a tricky letter to teach because not all children can recognize that different sounds that the simple letter "S" can make. Therefore, the focus of this lesson will be to familiarize children with the phoneme /s/ and be able to locate that s=/s/ sound in spoken and written words.

Materials: Pencil and primary paper; bowl with pre-moistened spaghetti, a large piece of paper with the letter 'S' on it; individual handouts with the letter 'S' on it; the book More Spaghetti, I Say by Rita Golden Gelman; matching worksheet (URL below)


 1) Say: "Today we are going to be talking about a silly letter. This letter looks like a squiggle or a snake! It makes the /s/ sound. Who thinks they know what letter this is? Correct! The letter and sound we are going to be learning about today is the letter 'S', which makes the /s/ sound." Hold up the piece of paper with the letter 'S' on it. "The /s/ sound is at the beginning and end of a lot of words."

2) Say: "Lets all make the /s/ sound together! Sometimes snakes make the /s/ sound too! Do you hear /s/ at the beginning of the word snake? What about the word spaghetti? Who can ssssslide in their ssssseat? Or act like they’re sssssswimming in the ssssssea?"

3) Say: "Let me show you how to find the letter /s/ in the word silly. Remember that /s/ looks like a squiggle or a snake! When I read the word silly, I see the snake at the beginning of the word. What about hearing the letter /s/ in a word? When a snake makes the /s/ sound they are using their long tongue. We use our tongue too! I know I'm making the /s/ sound when I'm using my tongue! I feel my tongue on my teeth when I say the word silly."

4) Say: "Let's try a tongue twister. The silly slimy spaghetti slipped slowly off my spoon! I think I hear the /s/ sound in a couple of these words, do you? Lets all say it together. Do you think you can point out the /s/ sound? Lets say it again, and this time lets make a BIG /s/ sound whenever we hear the letter /s/! You guys are sssuper at sssaying the letter S!"

5) Hand the students the handouts with the letter /s/ on them and a spaghetti noodle. Tell the students that they are going to use slippery, slimy, silly spaghetti to help them make the letter S. Ask them to form their spaghetti noodles into the shape of the letter S on the paper. Once they are done, have them try to make another letter S with their spaghetti on the back of the paper without being able to see the written letter. After that, have them use their spaghetti noodles to make pictures of objects that begin with the letter S (a snake, a sock, or a star for example).

6) Have the students take out the paper and pencil and write the letter /s/ on their paper without using their spaghetti. Model that an the letter 's' starts at the in the middle of the line at the "fence" and then squiggles down to the "ground".  Remind the students that an 's' looks like a squiggle or a snake.

7) Say: "How did you like making S with spaghetti? Can everyone hear the sound /s/ in the beginning of the word spaghetti? Do you like to eat spaghetti at home? We are going to read a story about spaghetti called More Spaghetti, I Say by Rita Golden Gelman. This story is about a little girl monkey named Minnie who can’t get enough spaghetti, and her friend who wants her to stop eating and play. Do you think that she'll ever stop eating spaghetti and play with her friends? Let's find out! Whenever you hear the sound /s/ when I'm reading I want you to put your hand on your head!

8) Say: "Now that we have practiced how to listen for the sound /s/, I want you to tell me if you can hear it in these words. Do you hear /s/ in spot or bought? Street or meet?" Analyze where the students are in their understanding and if more words need to be talked about.

9) For assessment, distribute the "matching" worksheet. This worksheet has the students match pictures with the words that describe the picture, starting with the letter /s/. Walk around and see if any of the students are struggling and check if they understand the letter /s/.



Internet Site: Ginger Terry, Letter S Spaghetti Party,


Return to Doorways Index