Revvin' It Up With N

15 February 2011

By: Julia Lightsey


            This lesson will help children identify /n/ in words with the phoneme represented by the letter N. Students will learn to recognize the phoneme in spoken as well as written words by learning a meaningful representation (rev it up "nnn…") and the letter symbols N and n. Students will practice identifying the phonemes in spoken words and phonetic cue reading words.

Materials: picture of a motorboat or racecar taking off to symbolize /n/ sound poster with /n/ tongue tickler written out; primary paper; pencils; moon written out on paper; Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown; worksheet for assessment


1. Say: Today we are going to work with the sound /n/. It sounds like a motorboat or an engine revving up, "nnn…nnn." We spell the sound with the letter N.

2. Say: So we said that the /n/ sound sounds like a motorboat or an engine taking off, "nnn….nnn." Can you make the sound with me and pretend you are revving up an engine, "nnn…nnn" (show picture of racecar or motorboat and make motion like revving up engine as you make sound).  Let's think about how our mouth is moving while we are revving up our engine N sound. My tongue is touching the top of my mouth right behind my teeth and I am pushing the sound from my throat. "nnn…nnn" Now let's see, are there any people or things in our classroom that have the /n/ sound in their name? (Look around the classroom and have children identify things that might possibly have the /n/ sound like pencil, pen, or notebook.)

3. Say: Good work revving up those N's now let me show you how to find the /n/ in a word. I am going to use the word crunch. I am going to say the word and then I am going to stretch it out so that I really hear that /n/ sound. Crunch. Cr-uu-nnnn-ch. Yeah I heard my engine N in crunch.

4. Let's try a funny tongue tickler to practice our engine N's (poster).  Natalie never picks nectarines without Ned. Let's say it together. [Repeat tongue tickler together]. Now let's stretch out those engine N's so that we can really hear them. /N/atalie /n/ever picks /n/ectartines without /N/ed.

5.    [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. Today we have been talking about the /n/ sound. We said this sound can sometimes be tricky because we can spell it with the letter N, but also with the letters K and N together where K is the silent tag along letter. Let's work on how we write these letters. First we are going to write the small letter n. To do that we need to start at the fence, make a line to the sidewalk, and then bounce back up to the fence, around, and back to the sidewalk. Now I want to look at everyone's letters. After I put a smiley face on yours I want you to write 5 more small letter n's. Great work.

6. As a class, go over cue words to see if they are hearing the phoneme: I am going to read some words. If you hear our engine /n/ sound anywhere in any of these words I want you to rev up your engine like we practiced. Show the students moon [written out on card] and model how to decide if it has the /n/ sound or not. moo-nnn. The /n/ sound I hear tells me to rev up my engine N.  Ready? Do you hear /n/ in knee or finger? In yes or no? In never or always? In funny or silly? In bored or fun? In sun or cloud? In moon or star?

7.  Read Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Say: We are going to read the book Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. This book talks about all of the things to say "goodnight" to. As we listen to the story if you hear a word that has our engine /n/ sound I want you to rev up your engine [model hand gesture] like we practiced. This book will be a good choice to use because it has many objects that children will be familiar with and can fairly easily pick out the /n/ sound. After reading talk about a few of the word that you hear the /n/ sound in and write them out on the board. Then have the children write a sentence with either one of those words, or another word using the /n/ sound, using inventive spellings and then illustrating a picture to match.

8. For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to circle the pictures that begin with the "engine /n/" sound. Review the worksheet as a class and then take up to assess each individual child. From the list of words (attached) call on each child individually and have them identify to see if the word has the /n/ sound or not. This will be used for individual assessment along with checking of the worksheet.


Lesson Book Idea:

Stuart, Susan. Word Identification and Recognizing Word Patterns using Goodnight Moon.

Worksheet 1:

Worksheet 2:

Worksheet 3:



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