Wemberly’s Wonderful Wonders

Emergent Literacy Design

 Angela Carroll Long

 Rationale:     In order for children to gain a deeper knowledge about an individual letter, they must come to the understanding that a letter’s vocal gesture is made up of a phoneme, and this phoneme can be represented through spelling.  Letter recognition is one of the best predictors of first year reading achievement (Adams, 36).  The goal of this lesson is to introduce children to the letter w.  During the lesson children will learn the vocal gesture in which w makes (/w/).  The children will learn to write the letter w, both upper and lower case.  Also, the children will learn to identify /w/ in both spoken and written words through reading together.


Materials:      Primary paper and pencil; chart with tongue twister written on it (Wemberly’s wonderful wonders were wondrous); dry erase or chalk board; dry erase markers or chalk; Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes published by Greenwillow.



1.      Review previous letters and the phonemes that represent them.  “So far we have learned 23 letters and their phonemes.  If you can remember a letter that you have learned raise your hand.”  As children are chosen, write the letter on the board.  “Great job remembering your letters!  Now when I point to one of the letters I want you to say its phoneme.  If it is a vowel, we will say the long and short phoneme.  I am very amazed at how well each of you remember the letters and the phonemes, so we are going to learn a new letter and its phoneme today.”  Introduce the letter w by writing it on the board.  Ask: “Does anyone know what this letter is?  W, that is right.  Today we are going to learn how to write the letter w and learn the vocal gesture the letter w makes.


2.      Introduce the tongue twister that is written on the chart.  “Here is a tongue twister about the letter w: Wemberly’s wonderful wonders were wondrous.  Now, let’s say it together.”  Point to each word as the children read them.  “Good job.  Does anyone see the letter w in the tongue twister?”  Have the students come up individually and circle the w in each word.


3.      Discuss the vocal gesture of the letter w.  “Does anyone know the phoneme for the letter w?  That is correct, it is /w/.  Now let’s look at the tongue twister again.  Every time we get to a w that is at the beginning of a word, we are going to hold the phoneme /w/ out.  For example, the word Wemberly will be W-w-w-wemberly.  Let’s begin.”  Do this procedure throughout the entire tongue twister.


4.      “Now I am going to say two words at a time, and I want you to tell me which word has /w/ in it.”


a.      WORD PAIRS

                                                                                                              i.      Wash or scrub

                                                                                                            ii.      Tore or wore

                                                                                                          iii.      Wood or should

                                                                                                          iv.      Bend or wind

                                                                                                            v.      Wing or sing

                                                                                                          vi.      Switch or smooth

                                                                                                        vii.      Stand or swing

“Good job listening for /w/ in each pair of words.


5.      “I want everyone to take out a piece of primary paper and your pencil.  We are going to learn how to write the upper and lower case w.”  At this time explain the procedure used to make the letter w.

a.      “First we are going to make an upper case w.  I want you to take your pencil and place it on the roof of the first line” (by this time children will understand that the top line is the roof, the dashed line is the fence, and the third line is the side walk on the primary paper).  “Now, move your pencil in a slant down to the sidewalk.  Next, move your pencil up to the roof.  Take your pencil up to the fence.  Now, take your pencil back down to the sidewalk.  Last, take you pencil back up to the roof.”  Be sure to give the instructions slowly and make the w on the board with the children as you give instructions.  “Good job listening to my instructions and writing neatly.  I want you to write the upper case W five times and then stop.”  Be sure to monitor each child to make sure they have a complete understanding of how to make an upper case W before moving to the next step.


b.      “Now we are going to make the lower case w.  Place you pencil on the fence, and now move your pencil down and stop at the sidewalk.  Next, move your pencil up to the fence.  Then, move your pencil back down to the sidewalk.  Last, move your pencil to the fence.  Great job!  Now, I want you to practice writing the lower case w five times.”  Once again give the procedure for writing the letter slowly, and also monitor the students as they practice.


6.      Assessment: Read Wemberly Worried they hear a word with a w in it. by Kevin Henkes to the children.  As you read have children say /w/ every time  “I am going to read you a book that was written by Kevin Henkes.  It is called Wemberly Worried. This book is about a young mouse that worries about everything.  No matter how happy she is she always worries.  Wemberly has to start her first day of school tomorrow, but guess what- she is worried about something.  To find out why she is worried we are going to read the book.  While I am reading the book to you I want you to listen for words that have /w/ in them.  If you hear a word with /w/ in it, then I want you to say /w/.  Let’s begin.”  The children will be assessed through observing their participation, and observing the understanding of the correspondence being taught.



            Adams, M.J.  Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print, A Summary
By Steven A. Stahl, Jean Osborn, and Fran Lehr.  1990.                          Urbana, IL: Center for the Study of Reading.  Page 36.

             Henkes, K.     Wemberly Worried.  Greenwillow Publishing: 2000.

             Adams, W.  Duh! It’s D!  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/discov/adamsel.html


Click to return to Inspirations

Angela Long