On the Lookout for L

Design for Emergent Literacy

Kimberly Bosarge


Rationale:  One of the two best predictors of reading success is a student’s ability to distinguish between phonemes (Adams, 1990).  Furthermore, it is essential for students to understand that the phonemes in spoken words are represented by graphemes in written language.  The following lesson provides students with an opportunity to identify the phoneme /l/ in spoken language and the grapheme that corresponds to this phoneme.

Large representation of the phoneme /l/ (Ex:  the letters L and l).
Chart with "Large lazy lions love to lounge by the lake."
Reading pointer
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin Jr.
Primary paper
Printouts of eyeglasses
Popsicle sticks
Picture page with
lamp, hat, lizard, ball, tree, ladder, and shoe.  


#1 – Begin the lesson by explaining that our language is a secret code.  Then say:  One of the sounds in this secret code is /l/.  Now, everyone practice saying /l/.  Notice how your tongue moves from the top of your mouth to the bottom.  Does anyone know what letter makes the /l/ sound?  Right, the letter l makes the /l/ sound.  At this point, the visual representation of /l/ will be presented.  Students will be shown how to make an L with their thumb and forefinger.

#2 – Now that you all know the letter l makes the /l/ sound, we are going to practice hearing this sound in some words.  Are you ready?  Do you hear /l/ in lamp or camp?  Do you hear /l/ in light or night?  Do you hear /l/ in hand or help?  How about in fall or hall?

#3 – Now lets try a tongue twister (use chart and pointer).  Large lazy lions love to lounge by the lake.  Let’s try it together.  This time hold up your L (thumb and forefinger) when you hear /l/.  Great Job!  Now I would like you to stretch the /l/ sound.  /lll/arge /lll/azy /lll/ions /lll/ove to /lll/ounge by the /lll/ake.  One more time.  Excellent!

#4 – Have students take out primary paper and a pencil.  Say:  The letter we use to make the /l/ sound is an l.  When we make an l, we start at the sky and go straight down to the grass.  Then, we make a little curve to the right.  Now you try it!  Show your l to a neighbor.  If your neighbor says your l looks good, write five more. 

#5 – Pass out printout of eyeglasses, crayons, scissors, glue, and popsicle sticks.  Say:  I am passing out a pair of glasses for you to color, cut out, and glue to your popsicle stick (show completed pair). 

#6 – After the students have completed their eyeglasses, introduce Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin, Jr.  Before reading, explain that the students are on the lookout for the letter l.  Whenever they hear /l/, they should raise their glasses to their eyes and look for l.

Assessment:  After the reading activity, the students will receive a picture page to complete.  Help the students name each picture.  Students will be instructed to circle the picture if they hear /l/ in the name.


Adams, M.J. (1990)  Beginning to Read:  Thinking and Learning About Print.  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Boggs, Adrienne.  "O, Do You Know?" 

Martin Jr., Bill. (1970)  Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?  Harccurt Brace & Company:  New York.

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