Silly Snake
by:  Leslie Flowers

Rational:  Studies have found that prereaders' letter knowledge was the single best predictor of first-year reading achievement, with their ability to discriminate phonemes auditory ranking a close second (Adams 36).  Therefore, children must be thaught letter recognition in a way that will make it memorable.  This lesson focuses on the letter S.  The students should learn what the letter looks like and how it sounds.  It is important for the student to accomplish these goals so they will recognize the letter S and know that it has the phoneme /s/.  This will help make them a better reader.

Materials:  "Sea Shell"  by Amy Lowell, Dr. Jean CD of the alphabet song, What Pete Ate from A-Z by Maira Katman, large picture of a snake in the shape of the letter S, lined chalk board with chalk, primary writing paper and pencil.

a.  First we would review all of the letters before the letter S.  Review letters A-R by singing the Dr. Jean alphabet song.  Then I will begin to teach the new letter: Today we are going to learn about the letter S.  The letter S says /s/.  Can everyone say that with me?
b.  Show the picture of the snake in the shape of an S.  Explain how the snake looks like the letter and that the word snake starts with the letter S.  After showing them the written word have them say the word and emphasize the phoneme /s/.
c.  Next read the poem "Sea Shell". What sound do you hear over and over again in this poem?  Discuss shells after reading the poem.  Has anyone collected shells?  What color and how big was it?
d.  After the discussion demonstrate how to write the letter using a lined chalkboard.  Put your pencil between the roof and fence.  Slowly move your pencil up to the roof and curve back down to the fence.  Continue going down to the grass and curve back up almost touching the fence again.  When you're finished writing your S it should look like the snake.  The students will then continue to practice on their paper making their S.  After giving them time to practice on their own explain how to make the lower case s. Making a lower case s is almost like the capital S.  Put your pencil half way between the fence and grass.  Slowly make a curve up to the fence and continue going down to the grass and curve back up half way between the grass and fence.  Now allow a few minutes for them to make several more of the lower case s.
e.  Give children worksheet that has the letter of the alphabet on it.  Ask the student to circle all of the upper and lowercase s.
f.  Read:  What Pete Ate from A-Z (Really!).


Adams, Marilyn Jager.  (1990) Beginning To Read:  Thinking and Learning about Print:  A Summary.  Center for the Study of
    Reading Research and Education Center University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Prelutsky, Jack.  The Random House Book of Poetry for Children.  "Sea Shell."  Random House, New York.  1983.

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