The Snake Says, “SSSS!”
Liesa Viruleg
Emergent Literacy

Rationale:  This lesson helps children realize that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out the phonemes in words.  Children need to be able to recognize phonemes in order to learn to read and write.  This lesson focuses on the /s/ phoneme.  Children will be able to recognize /s/ in both spoken and written words.

Materials:  Primary paper and pencil, chart with, “Steve saw more than seven snakes slide south.” class set of cards with a S on one side and a “ ? ” on the other, picture page with sun, snake, cat, store, salt, dog, picture, and sandwich, the book Yuck Soup.

1. Introduce the lesson by telling the children that there are many letters in that make up many different sounds.  Today, we are going to learn about the letter S and its /s/ sound.
2. Ask children: “Have you ever heard a snake say /s/?  They make this sound when they think they are in danger.  We are going to learn how to make the /s/ sound and how to recognize it in many words.  First, let’s pretend we are snakes and say /s/.”
3. Let’s try a tongue twister (on chart).  “Steve saw more than seven snakes slide south.”  Let’s say it together.  Now let’s say it again, but this time stretch the /s/ at the beginning of the words.  “SSSSteve ssssaw more than sssseven ssssnakes sssslide ssssouth.”
4. (Hand children primary paper and pencil)  We use the letter S to spell /s/.  Let’s try to write it.  Start with your pencil just below the roof and make a little c so that it touches the fence.  Then curve the other way down to the sidewalk.  I would like to see everyone’s S. After I put a sticker on your work, I want you to make a row of S’s just like it.  When you see the letter S by itself, you know it makes the /s/ sound, like a snake.
5. Now I will say some words and you tell me which ones you hear the /s/ sound in.  Do you hear /s/ in snake or lake?  sand or band?  moon or soon?  song or long?  (pass out S/? cards)  I will read a sentence, when you hear /s/ in a word hold up the S side if not hold up the “ ? ” side.  “Steve saw more than seven snakes slide south.”
6. Now I will read Yuck Soup.  When I read it for the second time, the children will hold up the S card when they hear the /s/ sound.  I will have each child draw a picture of something to put in the soup and write a sentence about it using invented spelling.
7. For assessment, I will distribute a picture page and go over the number of the pictures together.  Then, the children will circle the pictures that begin with the /s/ sound.

Reference:  Sneaky Slimy Snake by Leah Brown Reading Genie website, Murray, Bruce (ed) 2001

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