Bear Bonanza

Emergent Literacy
Kathleen Wheat

Letter recogntion is an important step in helping young children learn to read. According to Adams (1990), "letter recognition is one of the best predictors  of early reading achievement." The purpose of this lesson is have students identify the /b/ in spoken and written words, practice the mouth moves for the letter b, and write its letter representation. By having students practice with the letter b and its vocal gesture /b/, they will be better able to recognize it which can lead, ultimately, to reading achievement.

- picture of a bear with upper and lower case b on it
- primary writing paper
- pencil
- drawing paper
- crayons
- poster with the following tongue twister written on it: "Bob and Betty baked brown bread for baby Billy."
- paper with the follwing items: baby, backpack, ball, bus, car, tub, band, boy, and bear
- pictures with the following items included: boy/girl, ball/net, tub/shower, above/under, bear/lion, bookbag/purse
- big book The Three Bears by B. Barton (Harper Collins, 1991)

1. Introduce lesson by explaining that we will be learning about the letter b. Today we are going to learn about the letter b. Hold up picture of the bear with b on it. Does anyone already know the sound that the letter b makes?... That is great; it says /b/ (make sound). /b/ is in a lot of different words, like bbbbaby, bbbbbus, and even abbbbout. Now let's say some of these words together. What is your mouth doing as you say /b/? When I say /b/ my lips come together and then a puff of air comes out. Is that what happens to you too? Now let's make /b/ and see what our mouths do. Allow students time to make proper mouth move. Good job, I think we've got that down.

2. Practice the tongue twister. Okay, I have a tongue twister here that has a lot of words that begin with the letter b. Display the poster with the tongue twister. I am going to say it first and then we will all say it together.Say tongue twister, "Bob and Betty baked brown bread for baby Billy. " Now let's say it together...great job. Let's say it faster this time. Now, I want us to stretch out the /b/ every time we say it.Really emphasize the /b/.

3. Next, students will practice writing letter b. Pass out the primary writing paper. Now we are going to learn how to write the letter b. First I will show you how to write it and then I will let everyone practice. To make the lowercase b, start at the rooftop, and go down, b-b-bounce up and around. Allow students to practice letter b with their primary writing paper. Now we are going to learn how to write uppercase B. I'll show you first. Start at the rooftop and go straight down the sidewalk, around for his big chest, and around for his big tummy.Allow students to practice writing B.

4. Allow students to practice finding /b/ in words. Now that we can write b and we know how to say it. Remember, my lips are going to come together and then I let out a puff of air. I want to see if we can pick out /b/ in words that we say. I am going to ask you if you hear /b/ in two different words. You have to decide which word it is in. Okay, do you hear /b/ in boy or girl? Net or ball? Tub or shower? Bear or lion? This helps me to determine if the students understood the lesson and have learned the letter b.

5. Read the book, The Three Bears by B. Barton. Give a book talk.  Deep in the forest lived a family of bears - Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear. One day Mama Bear fixed her family some porridge to eat, but it was too hot. They all decide to go for a walk while the porridge cools. In the meantime, a curious little girl named Goldilocks comes to the house and goes inside, even though no one was home.What do you think will happen? Will the bears come home while Goldilocks is still in the house? While reading, you can have students look for words that have b in them.

6. Last, students will get primary writing paper and write their own version of the three bears. They will be encouraged to use invented spellings and may illustrate if they so choose. Share them with the class during shared reading time. By allowing students to share their stories, it makes the writing task authentic, giving the students a reason to put effort into it.


Students will be given a worksheet with pictures of items that begin with the letter b. There will also be words that no not start with the letter b. They are to color only the items that begin with the letter b


Adams, Marilyn J. (1990). Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print. Center for the Study of Reading Research and Education Center. p43.

Audrey Stockdale. "Baa Baa Black Sheep Have You Any Wool?"

Barton, B. (1991). The Three Bears. New York: Harper Collins

Brigette Marsden. "Precious Pigs."

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