Slithery Snake S

Andrew Brown

Emergent Literacy

Lesson Design

Rationale:   This lesson will help children identify /s/, the phoneme represented by S.  The students will learn to recognize /s/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (slithering snake) and the letter symbol S, practice finding /s/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /s/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.  The students will also get to work on their own for recognizing /s/ in partially spelled words. 

Materials:  Primary paper and pencil; chart with Silly Sally sprays soapy suds; cue cards with SAY, SMALL, SAND, SELL; and assessment worksheet for identifying words with partial spellings and /s/.


1.)Our written language is kind of tricky to learn sometimes.  We have to practice to be able to find out how to write down the sounds that our mouths make.  Today we are working on how to find the mouth movement for /s/.  /s/ is spelled with the letter S.  That S looks like a snake and sound like a snake hissing.

2.)Let’s make pretend out arm is a snake.  Wiggle it back and forth just like a snake moves, /s/, /s/, /s/, [move arm like a snake]  Notice where your tongue is? (Touching above top teeth).  When we say /s/, we put our tongue above our top teeth and blow out air making a hissing sound just like a snake.  I can feel the snake’s hiss in sand.

3.) Let me show you how to find /s/ in the word sand.  Stretch the word out so it takes a really long time to say and listen for the snake sound.  Sss-a-a-a-n-d.  That was it.  I felt my tong touch above the top teeth and blow out air.  I can feel the /s/ in sand.

4.)Now, let’s do a tongue twister with that same /s/ sound [on chart].  Silly Sally sprays soapy suds.  Now say it three times as a group.  Say it again but this time really stretch the /s/ at the beginning of the words while making your arm to the snake motion.  Ssssilly Ssssally ssssssprays sssssoapy ssssuds.  Now, let’s try that again and this time instead of dragging out the sound, let’s separate that sound at the beginning from the rest of the word: /s/ illy     /s/ ally    /s/ prays   /s/ oapy     /s/  uds

5.)[Have students take out primary paper and pencil].  We use S to spell /s/.  Capital S looks like a big snake, and little s looks like a baby snake.  Let’s write the lowercase letter s.   Start just below the fence. Curve it back up to touch the fence.  Swoop down to right below where we started and bend it back around to touch the sidewalk.  Let me see everyone’s s.  After I check everyone’s little s’s, I want you to make nine more just like it using the same steps we just did. 

6.)Have students answer and explain how they know:  Do you hear /s/ in sack or line? Small or top?  Fall or list?  Jump or clasp?  Belt or smell?  Say:  Let’s see if you can spot the mouth move /s/ in some words.  If you do hear /s/, make the snake movement with your arm as you hiss.  If they don’t just say no way.

Slam, mask, jump, ran, spider, fly, meat, stash, stick, risk, let

What am I saying:  s-tall?  s-pit? What am I saying: la-ss? mi-ss?

7.) Phonetic cue reading.  We use S to write the hissing snake sound, /s/, so this word is ssss-plit, split.  You try some: Is this: SAY - say or pay? SMALL - small or mall?  SAND - band or sand?  SELL - sell or fell?

Assessment:  Have the students complete the partial spelling worksheet while assessing phonetic cue reading in step 7 individually.



Dr. Murray, Bruce, The Reading Genie, Mouth Moves and Gestures for Phonemes,


DLTK's Sites, Beginning Consonants Worksheets


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