Sally the Silly Snake

Emergent Literacy Lesson Design

By Erin Carey

Rationale- For children to learn to read, it is essential that they be able to identify letters and their corresponding phonemes to form a solid foundation to build upon. Because of this, it is crucial for teachers to effectively teach their students each letter of the alphabet. To learn a letter means to learn the grapheme and phoneme associated with each letter. The goal of this lesson is to introduce a letter of the alphabet. The letter I chose to teach in this particular lesson is s. I will demonstrate the creation of the upper case S and the lower case s. I will also teach the students the sound the letter s makes (when it is alone, not in combination with any other letters). My goal through this lesson is for each child to be able to write the upper and lower case s, recognize the letter s in text, and know the phoneme that is associated with the letter s. It is important for each student to accomplish this goal, because without this knowledge they will be unable to move into the full alphabetic stage of reading.

Materials- 1). Large picture of "Sally the Silly Snake," 2). Pencils, 3). Dry erase board with primary writing lines, 4). Dry erase markers, 5). Primary paper with blank space at the top for pictures 6). Copy of Silly Sally’s tongue twister, 7). Flash cards with upper and lower case letters on them, 8). Picture worksheet for assessment (will have pictures of many objects, some with a ssss sound in the name, some without).


1. Who remembers what some of the letters we have been learning are?

1.      Begin by reviewing the letters previously taught. I am beginning with the letter s; therefore my students would review letters A-R.

2.      We would begin by singing the alphabet song and students would point to each letter on the letter strips attached to their desks as we sing.  Naturally, we would sing slowly enough for the students to point to the letters, and we would finish the song despite the fact that the children haven’t been taught all of the letters.

3.      Next, we would mix it up by having the students identify the letters from flash cards.  Each flash card features the upper and lowercase letters in large black print. Students should recall letters preceding the letter s.

We want to make sure that we learn the letters, so that we can be good readers. Think of all the fun books that there are, and when you learn all of your letters and work at becoming a good reader, you will be able to read them whenever you want.

2. Today I am going to introduce you to Sally. Now Sally is very special, because she is going to teach us all about a new letter. Does anyone think they have seen this letter before? It is the letter s. It is a letter that is used a lot. It makes a ssssss sound, kind of like the sound Sally the Silly Snake makes. To make this sound everyone needs to smile big with their teeth pushed together and their lips open like this (demonstrate the smile). Then, you blow air through your teeth while you keep your tongue down. Everyone say it with me. SSSSSS. Good Job with your sssssss sound everyone. We are gong to practice using this sound before I bring Sally out to help us learn about it. First I am going to say the tongue twister. "Silly Sally sat on Sammy’s sister’s stool and said, ‘Skunks are stinky’." Now I want you to repeat each work after I do. After students have completed this we will say the whole thing together emphasizing the /s/ sound.

3. I will hang a large poster of "Sally the Silly Snake" to demonstrate the figure of an s. I will also give each child his/her own copy of "Sally." I will demonstrate for my students, using the primary writing lines on the dry erase board, how I draw the letter s, capital and lower case. While I am making the letter s, I will tell the students the position of the different curves using the grass, fence, and sky. The students will have already learned how to create other letters using this method. For an upper case s, You begin at the sky and make a c that touches the fence, and then you make a curve down to the grass that is just the opposite of the c on the top. The lower case s will be done the same way, but it will all be kept under the fence.

4. I will have the entire class practice writing the letter s on their primary paper. I will ask them to write 10 of both upper and lower case s’s and tell them that I will give them a sticker on their paper when I see 10 good s’s of each kind. I will leave up my demonstrations and the poster of Sally. I will walk around and observe their different attempts.

5. Next, I will ask the children to draw a picture of something other than a snake that has an s sound in it. Then I will ask them to draw a picture of that thing.

6. To conclude this lesson I will pass out a worksheet to assess what they have learned. This worksheet will have pictures of several objects and I will ask them to pick out the ones that have the /s/ sound in their name.


Sammy Snake by Ashley Todt

Click here to return to Guidelines