Finding F

fish animation
Emergent Literacy Design
Laura Estill


Before they can read or spell words, students must be able to identify letters and the phonemes they represent.  This lesson will teach students to recognize the letter f in print and the phoneme /f/ in spoken words. This goal will be met by having children listen for, and repeat, the phoneme in spoken words.  According to Adams, “Prereaders’ letter knowledge was the single best predictor of first-year reading achievement, with their ability to discriminate phonemes auditorily ranking a close second” (36).


Primary Paper and pencil; chart with “Freddy the fish and Frank the frog will be friends forever”; 5 cards with pictures of  “f” words on them; 5 cards with other pictures on them.  The book One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Suess.



  1. The class will begin with a review of the letters previously taught, (vowels and some consonants).  Discuss both the letter and the phoneme and ask students for example words for the phonemes.
  2. Write the letter f on the board.  Do any of you have a name that begins with the letter f?  The letter f says /f/. (stretch out the /f/ sound when saying the students’ names)
  3. Ask the students:  Do you hear the /f/  in the word five?  Good.  When you hear me say a word and it has the /f/ sound I want you to hold up your hand like you are giving someone a five.  Lets practice: /f/ive (stretch out the /f/)
  4. Let’s try a tongue twister now: (on the chart) “Freddy the fish and Frank the frog will be friends forever” lets say it together a few times.  Now, this time I want us to really stretch out /f/ at the beginning of the words.  “Ffffreddy the ffffish and Ffffrank the ffffrog will be ffffriends fffforever.”  Lets try this one more time and break the /f/ off of the word: “/f/reddy the /f/ish and /f/rank the /f/rog will be /f/riends /f/orever”
  5. Provide students with a piece of primary paper and a pencil.  We use the letter f to spell /f/.  Lets all write it together.  To make the letter f: start to make a little c up in the air, then straighten it out, go down, and cross at the fence.  Everybody raise your hand when you are done, and I will come and see it.  After I give you the thumbs up, I want you to write it 5 more times on your paper just the same way.  Now you know that when you see the letter f in a word that’s your signal to say /f/.
  6. Ask for students to raise their hands if they know the answer to the following questions:  Do you hear /f/ in front or back?  first or last?  Sun or fun?  Fly or sky?  Show students the cards (with both the /f/ words and non /f/ words) on them.  Ask them to give the “high five” motion if they hear the /f/.  
  7. Read the book One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Suess.  Have the students give the “high five” motion when they hear /f/.  Have the students write a message using invented spelling about a fish.  They may also draw a picture.  Display their work.
  8. for assessment, distribute a page with pictures on it and have the students color the pictures that begin with the /f/ sound.



1. Adams, Marilyn. Beginning to Read:  Thinking and Learning about Print - A
        Summary. Champaign:  Center for the Study of Reading Research and
        Education Center,  1990. pg. 36

2. Dr Suess.  One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.  Random House Books for Young Readers. 1960

3. Sanders, Carrie.  F is for Fish.

4. pictures can be found from

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