Emergent Literacy: Pop Your P’s…Pop! Pop! Pop!
Casey Fulliloe


Phonemes are an essential component for success in children’s reading and spelling. Children learn to recognize different phonemes and sounds by matching letters to their vocal gestures in spoken contexts.  In this lesson, children will learn the sound and spelling of /p/.  They will practice using and identifying the letter p in written and spoken content.

Copy of the tongue twister for each student
Copy of “The P Song”
Copy of a /p/ assessment worksheet for each student
Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss


  1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that our written language is a secret code.  Explain to the students that the complicated part to learning what letters represent is the mouth moves that we make as we say the words. "Today we are going to be investigators. We want to find out what movement our mouth makes when we say the /p/ sound. Soon you will be able to uncover the /p/ sound in all types of words."
  2. “To make the /p/ sound we must move our mouth in a certain way.”  Model how to move your mouth to make the /p/ sound.  Put your lips together and pop the p in the words popcorn, pig, pizza, and penguin.  “First, put your lips together, then pop your mouth open.  You have just made the /p/ sound.  Can you think of any other words that begin with the /p/ sound? Let's pop together, everyone say POP:  Pop, Pop, Pop.  Good job!
  3. “Let’s try a tongue twister.”  Pass out a copy of the tongue twister to each student.  Model each reading of the tongue twister and the corresponding activity.  “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.  Let’s all say it three times together.  Now say it again, and this time, pop the p at the beginning of the words.  When we say the /p/ sound, pop your fingers open like a piece of corn popping open to make popcorn.”  Read the poem while incorporating the p gesture.  “Let’s do it again and this time let’s break it off the word.  /p/-eter /p/-iper /p/-icked a /p/-eck of /p/-ickled /p/-eppers.”
  4.  “Now, I am going to read a poem called “The Pumpkin Eater” and I want you to listen for the /p/ sound.”  Read them poem aloud to students.

Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater;

Had a wife and couldn’t keep her;

He put her in a pumpkin shell,

            And then he kept her very well.

            “When I read the poem this time, I want you to touch your nose each time you   hear the /p/ sound.”

    5. “Now, we are going to sing a song with the /p/ sound in it.”  Write the p words which will be sung in the song on the board.

“The P Song
(Sung to: B-I-N-G-O)
I know a word that starts with P,
And pizza is its name.
And pizza is its name.

Other words to spell:
P-U-P-P -Y

 After each verse of the song, ask students “What word did we sing that starts with the /p/ sound?”

    6. “Now let's all write the letter p.  We all can make the p sound, so we need to be able to write the letter p!  Everyone get out a piece of paper and pencil and         we will see how well you can follow directions.  To make the letter p, start at the fence and draw a straight line all the way down to the ditch.  Pick your pencil up     and take it back up to the fence.  Now, draw a half circle that goes down to the sidewalk and touches the stick.  Now, I want all of you to practice making 10         more letter p's  while I walk around admire your beautiful p's.

    7.  "Now let's read Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss and listen for  p sounds! "

    8. In order to assess each student’s understanding of the /p/ sound, give each student  a worksheet with pictures on it.  Have several pictures that begin with the         /p/  sound on it as well as several pictures that do not begin with the /p/ sound.    Instruct the students to circle each picture which begin with the /p/ sound.  “For      our last p activity, each one of you will complete this p worksheet.  Follow the directions:  Circle each picture that starts with p.”


McKean, Landon. “P is for P-P-P-Pumpkin.” http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/constr/mckeanel.html

Reynolds, Gina. "Perfectly Popping." http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/innov/reynoldsel.html

Dr. Seuss. Hop on Pop. Random House. 1963.

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