Zooming Bees

Emergent Literacy

by Brittney Nobles



This lesson is designed to help children identify /z/, the phoneme represented by Z. Students will learn to recognize /z/ in spoken words through a meaningful representation (a bee zooming by hand motion) that they can associate the sound of /z/ with. Students will practice the grapheme Z and z. They will also practice isolating the phoneme in spoken words and finding it in text.




-Primary Paper (whole class)

-Pencils (Whole Class)

-Colored Pencils

- Song "Zany's Z's" on overhead

- Enlarged letter Z

-Tongue Tickler (Zooming Zebras Zig-Zag to the Zoo) on chart

- Assessment Sheet



1.) Introduce lesson to the class: Say: " Today we are going to learn about the letter Z! We find the letter Z in many words. In order for us to read our books and write words, we need to find out what Z looks like and what sound it makes!" Hold hop the letter Z and explain that it looks like a zig- zag when written.


2.) Say: Let's pretend we are a bee zooming in the air /z/ /z/ /z/. (Pretend your hand is a bee zooming by). Do you notice what your tongue does when you say /z/ . When we say /z/ our tongue touches right at the top of our teeth.  Can you show me this /z/.


3. Say: Now I am going to show you how to find /z/ in the word zebra.  I am going to say Zebra really slow, and I want you to listen for the zooming of the bee. ZZ-e-bra. One more time, ZZZZZ-eeeee-bbraaa. Did you hear it? I felt my tongue touch the top of my teeth when my voice box came on.


4. Say: Let's try a tongue tickler together (point to chart).  Zooming Zebras Zig-Zag to the Zoo. Everybody say it together with me three times. Now I want you to say it again, but this time we are going to stretch out the /z/ sound when you hear it.  ZZZZoming  ZZZZebras ZZZZig-ZZZag to the ZZZZZooo.


5. Call on students and ask how they know the answer to the following:

          Do you hear /z/ in zero or one

          Do you hear /z/ in zap or tap

          Do you hear /z/ in silly or crazy

          Do you hear /z/ in gaze or stare


5. Next, have students get out their primary paper and pencils.

Say: We use the letter Z to spell /z/. A capital Z looks like a big zig-zag. (Show them the letter Z). To write a capital Z first start at the rooftop and draw a big seven down to the sidewalk, and then go back.  Now I want you to write a Capital Z. A lowercase z looks just like a capital Z. When we write the lowercase z , start at the fence and write a seven all the way down to the sidewalk, and then go back. Now I want you to write a lowercase z. (Go around and check everyone's Z's) After I look at your Z's I want you to practice writing them both ten times by yourself.



6. Say: "Let's look at a song that uses the /z/ sound. Show song lyrics on overhead. (attached). I'm going to sing it one, then I want you to following along and sing it with me. Every time you hear /z/ I want you to buzz like a bee.


  Zany Z's

(Tune: London Bridge)

Zany Z's are zipping by,

Zipping by, zipping by.

Zany Z's are zipping by,

Zip! Zap! Zoom!


Zany zebras are zipping by,

Zipping by, zipping by.

Zany zebras are zipping by,

Zip! Zap! Zoom!


8. Model an example of Zoo on a notecard. Ask the students if it says Zoo or Moo. Tell them that while they are working on their worksheet they are going to come up individually.

          Does this say tap or zap?

          Does this say zero hero?

          Does this say Zebra or Cobra?



9. For assessment, give the students a worksheet (attached) and colored pencils. Have the students complete the worksheet by coloring the pictures that start with the letter Z. While the students are working on this call them up each individually to read the phonetic cue cards from #8.



Text/ Song:

Child Fun. "The letter Z Activity Theme- Songs, Poems, and Finger Plays". http://www.childfun.com/index.php/activity-themes/alphabet/172-the-letter-z-activity-theme.html?start=4



Kid Zone. http://www.kidzone.ws/imageschanged/kindergarten/z-as-begins2.gif


Murrary, Bruce. "Brush Your Teeth with F." http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/sightings/murrayel.html



Sarah Dansak. Zipping Zig-Zag Zippers With Zebras. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/journeys/dansakel.htm


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