"D-D-D-Dribble Your Basketball Down the Court!"


Taylor Osborne
Emergent Literacy

Two of the best predictors of readers are their ability to recognize phonemes and the names of letters. Because of this, it is important to reinforce letter recognition by teaching lessons focusing on specific letters. This lesson will have to do with the d=/d/ correspondence. This letter is particularly hard for children because of the fact that it looks exactly like "b", just facing the opposite direction. Reinforcing hard letter-sound relationships helps children become better readers. In this lesson, the student will learn how to recognize /d/ in both spoken and written words.

Primary Writing Paper
Poster with the tongue twister: "Dinosaurs dance down the dark doors daily"
Down by the Bay by Raffi
Picture page with a book, dinosaur, horse, desk, barn, dolphin, duck, shark, dog and drum on it


1. Say: "Letters are so important, without knowing them we couldn't even read or write! The hard part is figuring out which sound goes with which letter of the alphabet. We have been talking about sounds that letters make recently and today we're going to do another fun sound.../d/! You're going to get to know the /d/ sound so well that you'll be able to spot it in all kinds of words.

2. Now what does your mouth do when you say /d/ as in "dog"? Well, my tongue hits the tip top of my mouth behind my teeth. To me the /d/ sounds kind of like when you dribble a basketball. A player runs down the court to the goal and the ball sounds.../d/../d/.../d/ (simulate dribbling basketball). Now you try to /d/../d/../d/ribble!

3. Ok, my favorite thing to do with letters is tongue twisters! Words can be so tricky that sometimes saying certain combinations of words makes me laugh! Ok, let’s try this one that is on the poster: "Dinosaurs dance down dark doors daily!" Isn't that funny sounding? Ok, now you try! (try) Now the next time you do it, try and make the /d/ sound really loud like this: /D/inosaurs /D/ance /D/ark /D/oors /D/aily! I hear the dribbling of a basketball in those words, don't you?

4. Now we will take out our primary paper and a pencil and write down /d/. /D/ kin dof reminds me of a basketball because there is a circle between the fence and sidewalk and then a line that goes all the way up to the sky and back all the way down to the sidewalk.  Ok, let me see how you /D/rew the /d/. Very good! Now after I check it off, try writing ten more down just like it.

5. Sometimes it is hard to try and find sounds in words. Let me try and show you how I listen for the /d/ dribbling. In the word "desk" I am going to try and stretch out my sounds slowly so that I can hear every single sound in the word. Dddddeeeeeeeessssssssskkkkkk! I think I hear the d-d-dribbling! Do you?

6. Ok, now it is your turn to try. I am going to give you two words and you are going to try and hear which one dribbles and which ones do not dribble. For example, I hear /d/ in dog, but not cat! I hear /d/ in door but not wall! Do you hear the dribbling? Now, let's have you try one. DO you hear the /d/ in "dress" or "pants"? /D/ress! Good! I hear the dribbling!

7. In Down by the Bay by Raffi we're going to see which /d/ words we can find. Now, it is going to be hard because there are lots of different sounds to choose from but just remember that we are trying to find the dribbling like the basketball! A fun thing to do would be for you to bounce your basketball when you hear the /d/ words. After we're done, we'll silently write down all our dribbling basketball words on our primary paper.

8. For assessment, I will pass out a sheet of paper with different items on it. Some of the words will start with /d/ and some will not. The items will be a book, dress, dinosaur, horse, desk, barn, dolphin, duck, shark, chair, hand, dog, and drum. They will have to circle the pictures whose names have a /d/ in them.


Adams, Marilyn Jager. Beginning to Read. Thinking and Learning About Print. Center for the Study of Reading, 1990. p. 44

Copenhaver, Liz. "D-d-d-d-dribble the Basketball!" Emergent Literacy Design


Click here to return to Innovations