Sally the Silly Snake

Mandy Williamson

Emergent Literacy




In order for children to become fluent readers and writers, they must recognize the individual sounds in words (phonemes). Phonemes are defined as vocal gestures that construct spoken words of language. It is very important that children understand the sequence of sounds, in words, are mapped out in spelling. Student’s ability to read will develop as they are able to recognize phonemes. This lesson will help students recognize the /s/ in spoken words. They will engage in assessment activities using the letter s = /s/.  


-Snake cut out of two red poster boards. Make grass out of green construction paper to put around the snake. (The snake is sitting in the grass.) Tape the Snake to the green poster board and hang on the chalkboard.

-Various snake cut outs. On the snakes, there will be pictures to coordinate with the following words: soap, hat, sun, star, sit, grape, slid, run, see, sad, tree, sand, book, cat, rose. (These will be to put on and around the snake. Words with the sound /s/ will go on the slithering snake. Words without the sound /s/ will go on the grass.

-The book ‘Small Green Snake’ by Libba Moore Gray.

-Chart with tongue twister on it: “Sally the silly snake sees starts.

-Picture cards for assessment (slide, star, hammer, saw, sun, book, spot, sack, kite, cat, snake, etc.)

-Chalk, chalkboard, pencils, primary paper.



1.      The teacher should introduce the lesson by explaining that words are made of letters, and the letters represent different sounds. It is very important for us to know what sounds the letters stand for when we are learning to read. Another thing that is important is recognizing the correct sounds in words. Today we are going to learn and work on the letter s = /s/. After we learn the letter s we will be able to recognize it and its sound in many words.

2.      The first thing we are going to do is make the letter s sound. The letter s makes the /s/ sound. We can make the s sound by pressing our tongue on the roof of our mouth. I want everyone to listen to me and make the sound that I am making…./s/.

3.      Now lets look at this tongue twister. (Teacher read it to students. “Sally the silly snake saw a star”. I want all of us to read it together 3 times. Ready, Set, Go… Now let’s read it and say the /s/ a long time. Let me show you….SSSSSSally the ssssssilly ssssssnake ssssssaw a sssssstar. Let’s do it together. Now let’s try saying it and stop after the /s/ sound….let me show you… /s/nake. You all did a GREAT JOB on the tongue twister.

4.      Let’s try to write the letter that makes the /s/ sound. Take out your paper and pencils. Start at the gate, go left around the flower, then go right around the second flower and stop at the road (lower case s). Start at the top and go to the left around the bush to the gate, then go right around the other bush and end at the road (upper case s). (It’s like a curvy road.)

5.      Teacher will pass out the snakes with the picture and word on them. If the word and picture begins with the sound /s/ they are to come put it on the snake. The snakes will go on the grass around the snake if the word does not begin with the letter and sound /s/. 

6.      Teacher will read the book “Small Green Snake.”

7.      Let’s practice writing words with the /s/ sound. Write on the board sun, sit, saw, star, send, slide…Now students I want you to write these words on your paper. After the students are finished…read the words out loud as a class. Teacher should use a pointer to point to the words on the board that are being read.

8.      For assessment use the picture cards. Show them to each student asking which pictures have the /s/ sound? Let me know by saying /ssss/. How do you know that it makes the /s/ sound?





“Hank the Hungry Hippo”. Emergent Literacy Design: Allison Miller. Summer 2004.

Click here to return to Explorations.

For further information send an email to Mandy Williamson.