"Take Me Out to the Ball Game!"

Emergent Literacy

Meredith Evans



As children learn to recognize sounds in spoken words, they acquire the alphabetic principle, or the realization that letters map out the phonemes in words. As children increase their awareness and understanding of the alphabetic principle, they are better able to decode words because of an increasing awareness of the specific sound-to-letter correspondences of our alphabet. This lesson will help children identify the c=/k/ correspondence by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, or grapheme for this specific correspondence. Also, children will practice finding the c=/k/ correspondence in written words.


  1. primary paper
  2. pencils
  3. drawing paper
  4. crayons
  5. copy of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
  6. chart with "Casey and his cousin came to camp and caught a cold."
  7. picture page with catcher, ball, base, Coke, peanuts, popcorn, cotton candy, fans, Cracker Jacks, pitcher, hot dog, mascot, umpire


  1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that the secret to understanding our writing "code" is to find out which letters stand for which sounds. "Today, weâre going to begin to understand what sound we usually say when we see the letter Îcâ. Soon, you will be able to spot this letter and sound in many words."



  3. "Have you ever been to a baseball game and heard the sound the bat makes when it hits the ball? C-c-rac-c-k! Thatâs the sound we hear. Iâll show you how to spot /k/ in a word. Stretch it out, and see if you say /k/ like the crack of the bat. Iâll try catch, c-c-c-a-a-tch. Yes, right at the beginning I said /k/."



  5. "Letâs try a tongue twister." [on chart] "Casey and his cousin came to camp and caught a cold. Everybody say it together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /k/ at the beginning of the words. Cccasey and his cccousin cccame to cccamp and cccaught a cccold. Try it again, and this time break it off the word. /k/asey and his /k/ousin /k/ame to /k/amp and /k/aught a /k/old. Nice work."



  7. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil.] "We can use letter c to spell /k/. Letâs write it. Start just below the fence line. Make a curve up to the fence line and curve over. Curve down to the sidewalk and back up around just above the sidewalk. I want to see everybodyâs c. After I put a smile on it, I want you to make a row of câs just like it."



  9. "I am going to read you a list of words. If you hear /k/ in the word, say, "C-c-ra-ck-ck!" and swing your arms like youâre batting. If you donât hear /k/ in the word, say, "OUT!" Read the list of words slowly.
  10. catcher ball base Coke peanuts
    popcorn cotton candy throw fans Cracker Jacks
    strike pitcher hot dog mascot umpire

     "Great! Now, letâs try our tongue twister again. Raise your hand each time you hear /k/." Read each word slowly. "Casey·and·his·cousin·came·to· camp·and·caught·a·cold."

  11. Read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and talk about the story. Read it again, and have students raise their hands when they hear words with /k/. List their words on the board. Then have each student draw a picture and write a message about one of the words using invented spelling. Display their work.



  13. For assessment, distribute the picture page with pictures of each of the nouns in the list above. (catcher, ball, base, Coke, peanuts, popcorn, cotton candy, fans, Cracker Jacks, pitcher, hot dog, mascot, umpire) Ask each student to circle the pictures whose names have /k/.


Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Ohio: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1995. (53)

Click here to return to Illuminations.

For further information, send e-mail to pmpknhed79@hotmail.com.