Sid the Silly Slow Sloth
Emergent Literacy
By: Leslie McGill

Rationale: Before children can match letters to phonemes, they have to recognize phonemes in spoken words.  This lesson focuses on /s/.  Visual representations provide support, as they are a reminder of the letter at hand; therefore, the students will learn to associate /s/ in spoken words with a meaningful representation.  In addition, learning to print is a powerful means of developing letter recognition skills.  Students will practice print and find /s/ in words. 

1.  "When we speak, letters stand for the mouth moves we make as we say words.  Today, we are going to focus on the mouth move /s/.  With practice, you can notice /s/ in lots of words."
2.  "Have you ever heard air escaping from a balloon say /s/?  That is the mouth move we are looking for in words today.  Let's imagine we are balloons letting out some air and say /s/.  (Let out some air!)  Notice that your tongue sits behind your bottom teeth while your lips are apart just enough to let the air blow out.  Try it again.  Terrific!"
3.  "I have a friend to help us today; he is Sid the Silly Slow Sloth.  (Write his name on the board.)  Say his name with me while I point to it on the board.  Good!  Now, would you like to see him?  (Show them the big picture.)  Sid the Silly Slow Sloth will only help us if you call his name very slowly and stretch out the /s/ at the beginning of each word in his name.  Listen as I demonstrate how to call him: SSSid the SSSilly SSSlow SSSloth.   Altogether, call him three times in a row.  Call him again, and this time break the /s/ off each word: /s/id the /s/illy /s/low /s/loth."
4.  (Have students take out primary paper and pencil.)  "We can use the letter s to spell /s/.  As I write on the board, I want you to write on your paper.  Start up high and begin to make a c, when you get to the middle line, loop back around with a tail.  Let me look at your s.  When I give you a picture of that means you are ready to make nine more Sid the Silly Slow Sloths's the same way.  When you see the letter s alone in a word, it is time to say /s/."
5.  "Raise your hand when you can tell me the answer: Do you hear /s/ in sock or rock Ham or SamSo or noSit or hitLick or sick?  Get out your pictures of Sid the Silly Slow Sloth.  When you see the mouth move /s/ in words, hold up your picture of Sid the Silly Slow Sloth.  (Say words one at a time.)  When Sid the Silly Slow Sloth went to town to shop, he stopped to act silly in the street."
6.  Read "Slowly, Slowly, Slowly," said the Sloth by Eric Carle and talk about the story.  Read it again, and have the students hold up their pictures of Sid the Silly Slow Sloth when they hear words with /s/.  Make a word wall with their words.  (Pass out drawing paper and crayons.)  Using invented spelling, each student should write about his or her favorite animal from the story.  After they illustrate, let them share and display their work in the room.  
7.  For assessment, pass out the worksheet.  "Listen as I say all of the words at the top of the page; circle the words that have /s/ in them."


Adams, Marilyn Jager.  (1990).  Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print.  Center for the Study of Reading.  

Bice, Bethany.  "The Slimy, Scaly, Slithering Snake."  Auburn University.  2003.

Carle, Eric.  (2002).  "Slowly, Slowly, Slowly," said the Sloth.  New York: Scholastic, Inc.

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