J the Jump Rope and G the Jungle Gym
Carrie Smith
Emergent Literacy
Jump Rope   & Jungle Gym

Rationale:  Before children can learn to read words, they need to understand that the graphemes (letters and letter combinations) that make up words signify different vocal gestures (phonemes), and that when made together, these gestures produce complete spoken words.  According to data produced by correlational studies done by the National Reading Panel, Phonemic Awareness is one of “the two best school-entry predictors of how well children will learn to read during the first 2 years of instruction” (Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching Children to Read, Alphabetics: Phoneme Awareness Instruction).  The NRP’s findings also showed that instruction in Phonemic Awareness was effective across age levels, grade levels, and learning levels as a precursor to learning to read.  For these reasons, this lesson focuses on teaching the phoneme-grapheme relationship of the phoneme /j/.  This relationship will be made memorable through a meaningful representation of the /j/ mouth move and letter symbols.  Also, the student will learn a phrase about “J,” The Jump Rope and “G,” The Jungle Gym and how to write the letters j and g.  Finally, the lesson will conclude by asking the student to recognize /j/ in different words.


Materials:  Primary writing paper; No.2 pencil with eraser; Poster with the phrase “During Recess, Jill jumped over ‘J,’ The Jump Rope and climbed on ‘G,’ The Jungle Gym” written on it; Picture of children jumping rope (can be found by searching Google or Yahoo images); Two halves of a poster (made to look like large primary paper)-- one with rope glued in the shape of a j on it (titled ‘J,’ The Jump Rope) and one with rope glued in the shape of a g on it (titled ‘G,’ The Jungle Gym); One half of a poster made to look like large primary paper; Pen; Large index cards with the words jet, pet, butter, jelly, rock, gem, skip, jump, paste, and gel printed on them.


Procedures:  1. Begin lesson by explaining to student(s) that the first key to learning to read words is learning the “symbols” that make them up.  In words, symbols are not pictures, but letters that stand for sounds our mouths should make.  Knowing the sounds that make up words is like finding the clues that solve a puzzle. As readers, we have to be investigators and figure out the sounds that make up words.  Lets put our investigator hats on (make hand gestures that look like you are putting a hat on your head) and try to figure out these sounds.  Today, we are going to learn about the sound /j/ to help us figure out some words.


2. Ask students: “Have you ever noticed the sound a jump rope makes as it is turned in the air?” After yes or no responses, tell them that “if you listen it says /j/.”  At this time, hold up the picture of the children jumping rope.  “This is the sound we want to look for in words today.  Listen as I jump rope [Model grabbing an imaginary jump rope with both hands and moving it down, making the shape of an n with both hands and producing /j/ with the mouth as it moves downward.].  Let’s all jump rope and make the /j/ sound as it turns in the air [Everyone will jump rope and say /j/ for a few seconds].”


3. “Now, let’s all say this phrase about our friend ‘J,’ The Jump Rope and his pal ‘G,’ The Jungle Gym [written on poster]: ‘During Recess, Jill jumped over ‘J,’ The Jump Rope and climbed on ‘G,’ The Jungle Gym.’”  Everyone will say it two times together.  Then they will be instructed to say it a third time, but “this time, breaking off the /j/ sound at the beginning of the words and jumping their ropes as they say /j/”  First, the teacher should model how she/he hears /j/ in words.  "Jill...Do I hear /j/ in Jill?  Let's see: /j/ill.  Yes!  I hear /j/ at the beginning of Jill.  So, as I say /j/ in Jill, I am going to jump my rope.  Now, let's say the whole thing together.  Don't forget to jump your ropes every time you hear /j/ [ /j/ill /j/umped over /j/ay,’ The /j/ump Rope and climbed on /j/ee,’ The /j/ungle /j/ym].


4. At this time, display the posters of the letters j and g and the large primary paper and pen.  Tell the students that we can make /j/ in words with the letters j and even sometimes with words that have the letter g (pointing at each one as you say its name).  Ask students to get out their primary writing paper and pencils.  Then, ask students to watch as the teacher's hand as she/he writes the letter j.  "First, start at the fence.  Then, go down through the sidewalk, and turn the same way.  Finally, give him a hat."  Ask students to now get out their primary paper and pencil.  Instruct students to practice the letter j for a couple minutes (circulating to assess and providing help where needed).  Then, model how to write the letter g.  "First, make a lowercase a.  Then, like the j, continue down through the sidewalk, and turn the same way.”  Then ask students to practice making a g on their paper for a couple minutes (providing the same scaffolding).


5. Read the story Jump, Frog, Jump! First, give a book talk on the book: "A frog is trying to catch something to eat, but other animals are trying to eat him.  Will the frog escape danger?  Will he find something to eat?  To find out, you'll have to read Jump, Frog, Jump!. Reread it, asking students to make the jump rope gesture when they hear/predict the /j/ sound.


6. Assessment: Now, tell students that “they are going to continue their investigation, by figuring out which words have /j/ in it.”  Hold up two index cards at a time, reading the two words and asking in which word they hear the /j/ sound [jet or pet?; butter or jelly?; rock or gem?; skip or jump?; paste or gel?]  Observe students and note which students show understanding and which students show lack of understanding.  Later, work with students who show lack of understanding.



Adams, Marilyn J. Beginning To Read: Thinking and Learning about Print, A Summary.  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:                 Center for the Study of Reading, The Reading Research and Education Center, 1990. pgs 40-44.

Barton, Sarah.  “It’s Time to Open Wide for O.”  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/constr/bartonel.html, 2005.

Kalan, Robert. Jump, Frog, Jump!. Mulberry ed. New York: Harper Trophy, 1989.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. "Report of the National Reading Panel:." 6 May. 2004. NICHD. 25 Feb.                 2006. 

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