Snaky S

Allie Lancaster

Emergent Literacy Design Lesson  

Rationale: This goal for this activity is to assure students can identify /s/, the phoneme represented by S. Students will recognize the s sound by hearing it throughout the lesson with a tongue twister, example words and mental representations of the phoneme's sound. Students will also become more familiar with how to write the letter symbol.


Primary paper and pencil

Book "Silly Sally"

Snake S chart with hand motion illustrated

Tongue twister chart with illustration


Word cards for step 8  


1. Today we are going to be learning about what sound a certain letter makes. This is going to help you when you are reading and sounding out tricky words as you go along. Today the letter we will be working with is the letter s. We will learn all about the sound the letter s makes, the /s/ sound. The letter s sounds like a hissing snake and also looks like a slithering snake.

2. Let's pretend we are snakes making the sound they make. Put your hands together out in front of you and move them back and forth like a snake would slither along the ground. Notice when we make the /s/ sound we are blowing air out from our mouth between our teeth.

3. Now I am going to show you how to find /s/ in the word list. I'm going to stretch list out in slow motion and listen for your snake sound. lll-i-i-st. Slower: lll-i-i-i-sss-t. Do you hear it?! I can feel and hear the /s/ snake sound in the word list.

4. We are going to do a tongue twister together now. "Sammy Snake saw Silly Sally sneak suckers silently." Everybody say it three times together. Now we are going to say it and stretch the /s/ at the beginning of the words. "Sssammy Sssnake sssaw Sssilly Sssally sssneak sssuckers sssilently." Do it again while breaking /s/ off the words: "/s/ammy /s/nake /s/aw /s/illy /s/ally /s/neak /s/uckers /s/ilently."

5. We use the letter s to spell /s/. Capital S looks like a curvy snake. Lowercase s looks the same but just shorter. Let's write the lowercase letter s. Start at the fence and move your pencil around to make a half circle then keep going to make another half circle connected by going the opposite way down to the sidewalk. I want to see everybody's s. After I come by and put a check by yours I want you to make nine more just like it.

6. After students have completed step 5, I will call on students to answer and tell how they knew "Do you hear /s/ in ten or sat? Map or see? Lift or test? Class or hello? "Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /s/ in some words. Do your snake motion if you hear /s/: at, calm, stand, hat, fast, morning, sand, last, bye, yellow, ocean, cruise.

7. Next I tell the class we are going to get to read a book with many of the /s/ sounds in it so every time they hear the /s/ sound to make their snake motion. I will begin by reading "Silly Sally," while emphasizing the /s/ sound. I would be sure to make my read as interesting and exciting as possible to get the students interested in the book and excited.  After reading the book, I will have students come up with their own animal that has a two word name like Silly Sally, spelling the name with invented spelling and illustrating their made up animal. "Sidy Salamander" "Sully Seagull" If time allows, each child will present their animal to the class, giving a short description about their animal, example its color, body parts, name reasoning, etc. This is a great time for me to assess the students, being sure their animal names begin with the sound /s/ showing they understand the sound.

8. I will show the word SIT and model how to decide if its sit or hit. I will say that the S tells me to do my snake motion and hiss /s/, so this word is sss-it, sit. You try some: SUB: sub or tub? SELL: sell or tell? SILK: silk or milk? SAG: sag or bag? SOY: soy or boy?

9.For assessment, I will have students select images starting with the letter or sound /s/ from many images, some starting with s and some not. I will have a checklist to check off who can do this and who cannot. Then I will ask students to individually read the S words from #8 to me.


Daniels, Callie


Return to Doorways Index