Bouncing the Ball with B

Emergent Literacy

By: Joanna Holcomb

Rationale: By understanding the different phonemes in our language, children will be able to decode and begin to understand new words. This lesson will focus on the phoneme /b/ represented by the letter symbol B. Any time the student hears the sound /b/ in a word, we will make the motion of bouncing a ball. By using this lesson, students will be able to pick out the new sound in words.

Materials: The Berenstain's B Book (Random House Publishing, 1971), primary paper and pencil, chart with "Billy blows big blue bubbles", word cue cards with BALL, BAD, MET, LAND, BOOK; assessment sheet identifying pictures with /b/ (URL below).


1. Say: Our language is made up of many letters and sounds that are used to form words. Our mouths move in different ways to make each of these sounds. Today we will be focusing on /b/ and the way our mouth moves when we make that sound.

2. We can pretend that when we say the letter /b/, we are bouncing a basketball that makes that same sound when it hits the ground. Watch and feel how our mouths move when we make a /b/ sound. Our lips press together and then we force out the sound and air as we open our mouth.

3. Now we will figure out how to find /b/ in the word "lab". I'm going to look for the sound of our basketball hitting the floor and when my lips press together before I say our key sound. Slowly: Lllll-aaaa-bbbb. Did you hear our basketball bouncing?

4. Now we'll try this tongue twister to hear our sound in some other words. "Billy blows big blue bubbles." Let's say it three times together. Now, when we say it this time, bounce our basketball every time you hear a /b/. Another way to say this tongue twister is to separate the /b/ from the rest of the word. "/B/ illy /b/ lows /b/ ig /b/ lue /b/ ubbles."

5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We can use B and b to represent /b/. Uppercase B has one more loop than lowercase b, so we can remember that it is "bigger". When we write an uppercase B, we start at the roof on our paper and draw a line straight down to the sidewalk. Then we come back up to the roof and make a loop from the roof to the fence, then from the fence to the sidewalk. Writing a lowercase b is similar, but we only put the bottom loop. Let's practice by writing each ten times after I check your first one.

6. Now I will call on students for the correct answer and an explanation for the following questions. Do you hear /b/ in band or train? red or cab? basket or goal? pebble or river? soccer or volleyball? Now, let's practice our recognition of the sound by bouncing our basketballs if we hear /b/ in any words in this sentence: The, boy, flew, by, the, basketball, game, in, a, big, blue, hot, air, balloon.

7. Say: "Let's look at the book The Berenstain's B Book to see all the words that are spelled with /b/." Then ask the student to come up with any more /b/ words that they can think of.

8. Show students the word BLOW and show them how to tell if the word is blow or glow. We bounce the ball when we read blow, but not when we say glow. We don't hold our mouths the same when saying each word. Now we'll try some more: BALL: call or ball? BAD: mad or bad? MET: bet or met? LAND: land or band? BOOK: book or cook?

9. For assessment, give students worksheet. Have them circle the pictures that start with /b/ and name each picture. Student will then be asked to read the phonetic cue words used in step eight.

References: Berenstain, Jan and Stan. Berenstain's B Book. Random House: New York, New York. (1971).

Mathews, Pearson- Auburn University 

Assessment Worksheet:


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