Slithering Snake
A Lesson Design by Debbie Troha
Emergent Literacy

Rationale: This lesson is to help students gain insight and realize that letters stand for phonemes, and spellings create the phonemes in written words.  Before children can learn to read, they must achieve reading phonemes.  Before they read phonemes, they need to be able to identify them.  This lesson focuses on the /s/ phoneme.  It is my goal that by the conclusion of this lesson, the students will recognize /s/ in spoken words, be able to write the letter s appropriately on primary paper and be able to identify /s/ in printed material.

Materials:  Primary paper and pencil, chart with “Susan saw the snake sliding through the sand.”, drawing paper and crayons, the s snake picture card, picture page with south, store, bike, hat, snake, sink, truck, sled, dog, six (I will draw the picture page).

1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that we have many letters that make many different sounds and sometimes it is difficult learning what the letters stand for.  Today we are going to learn about the letter s and its /s/ sound.
2. Ask students:  “Have you ever seen a snake slither through the grass?  Snakes usually make a /s/ sound when they are in contact with people or feel like they are in danger.  Today we are going to learn to how to make that /s/ sound and you are going to recognize /s/ in many words.  Let’s pretend we can talk like snakes now, /s/.
3. Let’s try this tongue twister (from chart).  “Susan saw the snake sliding through the sand.”  Let’s say it together 3 times.  Let’s read it one more time holding the /s/ sound like a snake would.  “Ssssusan sssaw the sssnake sssliding through the sssand.”  Good job!
4. (Hand out primary paper and pencil).  Let’s write the s letter that spells /s/. We are going to start with our pencil just below the roof and make a little c so that it sits on the fence line.  Then, go down the sidewalk and make a curve the opposite way.  Nice work!  (Place a sticker on their work).  Now I want you to make 4 more just like that one.  When you see /s/ by itself in a word you know to make the /s/ sound like a snake.
5. I want you listen for the /s/ sound in the words I am going to call out.  Tell me which word you hear the /s/ sound in.  Do you hear /s/ in moon or soon?  lake or snake? snail or whale? mouth or south?  (Distribute the s/? cards).  I’m going to read a sentence and if you hear /s/ in the word hold up the s snake card (slowly read the words one by one).  “Susan saw the snake on the street when she was walking to the store.”
6. I will read Yuck Soup, and talk about the story.  I will read it a second time and have my students hold up an s card each time they hear the /s/ sound in a word.  I will have my students draw a picture of their favorite animals and write a message about it using invented spelling.
7. For assessment, I will distribute a picture page.  We will name the pictures together, and then I will have them draw a “s” with his or her crayon on the pictures with names that have the /s/ sound.

Reference:  Murray, Bruce (ed.)  (1999).  Helping Children to Read (pg. 2)  “Silly Snakes” by: Ashley Garrick
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