Popping Popcorn with P

Emergent Literacy Design

By Crystal Dykes


Rationale: According to Adams, letter recognition is important to a successful reader. Also, she points out that skilled reading includes sounds and sub vocalizations. For young kids, we must make sure that they are able to recognize each letter before they can begin the process of becoming a successful reader. They need to be able to know the sound it makes, and become fluent so that they can recognize and quickly read the letter. This helps to build comprehension.  In this lesson, my goal is to teach students letter recognition and phoneme awareness of the letter p. Children will practice letter recognition by identifying the letter P p in the alphabet, picture clues, and match words that begin with the same letter. Students will be able to identify the phoneme represented by P by associating the sound with popping popcorn, listening to a tongue twister to get them focused on the sound it makes and the moves of the mouth when the sound is made. They will also practice making the letter p with play dough while using the think, pair, and share strategy.




Chart paper with the abc’s

Chart paper with tongue twister Pretty Peggy Plants Pumpkins in the Patch

18 pack of play dough

Primary paper (1 for each student)

Pencils (1 for each student)

Blank chart paper for letter writing model

18 copies of The Pigs Picnic, from Scholastic

4) Set of matching word card game: picture of pig goes with the word pig, picture of pizza goes with the word pizza, etc.

Worksheets with initial sounds and picture clues (1 for each student)

Procedure: Today boys and girls, we are going to learn about the letter P. We will listen with our ears, to hear what sound p makes /p/.  We will see what happens with our mouth when we make the sound /p/. We will also learn how letter p looks, and how to write the letter p.

1)    To activate their interest and knowledge about letter p: I will present to them a chart on the board with all of the letters of the alphabet. We will go through the letters together as a class, just by saying (or singing) our abc’s while I point out each letter as we go along. After we have gone through the alphabet, I will circle the letter p. I will say what letter is this? That is correct, this is the letter p. Let me hear you make the /p/ sound. P says /p/ like the sound you hear when you are popping popcorn /p/ /p/ /p/.

2)    Introducing the letter p: I will present the students with a chart upon the board with the tongue twister Pretty Peggy Plants Pumpkins in the Patch. I will say the tongue twister first at a normal speed. Next I will say it slowly and have the students repeat each word after me. Next, I say Now I want you to repeat the tongue twister after me slowly, but this time I want you to listen with your ears to the sound that you hear each time you start a new word /p/retty  /p/ eggy  /p/lants /p/umpkins  in the /p/atch. Okay great! The letter p sounds like /p/. Now, let’s repeat the tongue twister again slowly, and this time I want you to feel how your mouth moves and what happens with your mouth as you start each word that makes the /p/ sound. Your lips come together at first and then they pop open to let out a puff of air. So when we think of what sound p makes, we can think of popcorn popping! Pop! Pop! Pop!

3)    Now that we know what sound letter p makes, let’s learn how to make the letter p. I am going to pass out play dough, and I want you to first, think about how you can make the letter p shape with the play dough while I’m passing it out. Then I want you to pair up with your neighbor, and share some ideas that you have about how you are going to make the letter p.  I will model for them on the overhead, how to make my letter p with play dough.  We will discuss upper case and lower case p. I will talk them through the steps as I make the upper case P first, and then I will repeat this process as I make the lower case p. (This will give the students a general idea of how to start writing the letter).  Okay boys and girls, now that we know how letter p is made, we are going to write both upper and lower case letter p on paper. I will pass out primary paper, and have them get their pencils from the pencil box. I will post my blank chart paper in front of the class. I need all eyes on me, everyone watch how I write the uppercase letter P. First, I start at the rooftop and go down to the sidewalk to make my stick. Then I pick up my pencil and go back to the roof top and go around to the fence. Now I want you to write the uppercase P with me. As I write it, I will tell you what I am doing, so that you can listen to how we write the uppercase P while you are writing it. Now that you have written an uppercase P, I want you to write it five times. I will be walking around so if you need help, raise your hand. (Allow time for students to write) Great job boys and girls! Now we are going to learn how to write the lower case p. Watch how I write the lower case letter p. I start at the fence and go straight down into the ditch, come up and put his chin on the sidewalk. Now let’s write this together. Okay, now that everyone has written the lower case letter p, I want you to write it five times. Again, if anyone needs help, just raise your hand.

4)    Now that we have learned the sound p makes, what the letter looks like, and how to write it, we will do some review words with letter p. I will use ask the students to tell which word they here the sound /p/ in. Do you here /p/ in pig or dig? Pear or bear? Pail or nail? Ask questions like: How do now that you heard /p/ in pig, pair, and pail? Did you notice that your mouth popped like popcorn when you said /p/ig?

5)    Book talk: This book is about some friends who were planning a picnic. They were packing for the picnic, when all of the sudden, they noticed that the pantry was empty and so was the picnic basket. Oh my! Now what will they do? We will have to read to find out. I will read The Pigs Picnic mini book series from scholastic. I’ll be sure to do a book talk before I turn during the reading, and constantly reminding the students to listen for the /p/ sound. I will also pass out a paper back copy of this book for them to read along.

6)    To prepare them for assessment, I will give each group a set of word matching cards (with letter p). I will model for them, how to play the game. They will play the matching game, where they match the pictures with the words. (Picture of pig goes with the word pig).

Assessment: I will give each student an initial sounds worksheet.  I will read the instructions aloud and have the students complete the worksheet. This will help to assess them on the sound and writing of the letter P, p.  (see copy below) While students are working independently, I will have each student come up individually to read a few pages of the book to me, to check for reading ability.


Extra Activities for fun: Take the students outside and place an air popcorn popper outside and place it on a big piece of paper. Leave the lid off and let the students listen for the pop! Have student pop up, each time they hear the pop sound. They can eat the popcorn that is left on the paper afterwards.






Adams, Marilyn J. Beginning To Read: Thinking and Learning about Print-A summary. Center for the Study of Reading, The Reading Research and Education Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  1990. p. 51


 Alpha Tales: The Pigs Picnic (Letter P). Scholastic Mini Books.  October 10, 2011. http://minibooks.scholastic.com/minibooks/detail/?id=30262

 Lanternfish.  http://bogglesworldesl.com/initial_sounds.htm.  September 18, 2011.


Scholastic. The Letter P: Pictures and word cards. http://printables.scholastic.com/printables/detail/?id=42618. September 18, 2011.


Teachers.Net Lesson Plans. P letter ideas. http://teachers.net/lessons/posts/1005.html . September 18, 2011.


Welcome to the Jungle. Mrs. Cox’s Kindergarten Class. Tongue Twisters. http://teachers.plainfield.k12.in.us/tcox/TongueTwisters.htm. September 18, 2011


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