Popping Popcorn With P


Emergent Literacy

Kerry Adkins

Rationale: This lesson will help students to recognize /p/ the phoneme represented by P. The students will learn to recognize /p/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (popping popcorn) and the letter symbol P, practice finding /p/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /p/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.


Primary Paper


Chart with tongue tickler: "Petunia pats her pet pig Penelope."

The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by: Mo Willems. Published April 2008 by Hyperion Books for Children in New York.

P's only worksheet with pictures of : a horse, rabbit, watermelon slice, cow, pair of pants, pair of shoes, pear, pig, penguin, and a frog. The words on the sheet are: bad, lime, pants, pink, bug, pear, day, pet, dog, and play.


Word Cards with: rose, pork, faint, and pet.

Construction paper

Picture of Popcorn P


1. Our written language is a secret and tricky code. The trickiest parts are learning what the letters stand for and the mouth moves we make as we say words. Today we are going to work on noticing the tricky mouth move /p/. We spell /p/ with the letter P. P looks like popped popcorn and /p/ sounds like popcorn when it is popping.

2. Let's all pretend we are popping popcorn /p/ /p/ /p/ (move our fingers from a fist to a high five position as we say /p/). Do you notice how our lips begin together? Can everyone show me? When we say /p/ we blow the air out of our mouth between our bottom lip and top lip.

3. Let me show you how you can find /p/ in the word happy. I am going to stretch out the word by saying it in super slow motion and I want you to watch me and listen for the sound of popping popcorn. Hh-aa-ppp-yy. Ok, now we will try it a little slower Hhhhhhh-aaaa-pppppp-yyyyy. I heard it! Did you hear it? I felt my lips come together and then I felt myself blow the air out between them. I can certainly hear popping popcorn in the word happy.

4. Ok everyone let's all try a tongue tickler (on chart). "Petunia pats her pet pig Penelope." Great! Now let's say it three times in a row. Excellent! Now let's try stretching out the /p/ at the beginning of the words. "Pppppetunia pppats her pppet pppig Pppenelops." Try it again and break the /p/ off of the word: "/P/ - etunia /p/-ats her /p/-et /p/-ig /P/-enelope."

5. Have all of the students take out primary paper and a pencil. We use the letter P to spell /p/ and the letter P looks like popped popcorn. Let's draw a lowercase p.  Ok, everyone start at the fence and draw a straight line down past the sidewalk into the ditch, follow that line back up to the fence, and now draw a fat belly (backwards C) curving at the straight line at the top of the fence to the straight line down at the sidewalk. Can everyone show me their P? Great job everyone and if I put a smiley face on your paper please draw ten more just like the first one.

6. I will call on students to answer my questions and explain how they came up with their answers. Do you hear /p/ in cookie or chip? Marker or pencil? Green or Purple? Happy or sad? Teeth or lips? I will now read some words aloud and if you hear /p/ I want you to make the popping popcorn motion: The, pretty, pink, frog, sat, playfully, on, a, perfect, pad.

7. Begin activity with: Ok everyone we will be looking at a book called: The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems. Can anyone hear popcorn P in the title? Great! This is a story about a pigeon who really wants a puppy and is trying to talk someone into getting him one. We will read the story aloud together and then I want you all to go back into the story and find your favorite page. After you have found your favorite page draw a picture of the pigeon and what he is doing, then name your pigeon, and write his name and/or his actions on your paper using invented spelling. Display completed work around the room.

8. Show PINK and model for students how to decide if the word is pink or sink. The P tells me to pop my popcorn so this word is Pppp-ink. Now you try: ROSE- is this rose or pose?PORK- is this fork or pork? FAINT- is this paint or faint? PET- is this word pet or met?

9. For assessment I will pass out a worksheet. The students are to color every block that has a picture or word that begins with P and leave the rest of them colorless. The pictures and words for this worksheet are listed above on the materials list. Also, I will call students forward to individually read the words from number 8 above.


Free Clipart from Google images.

The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by: Mo Willems. Published April 2008 by Hyperion Books for Children in New York.

Helpful Lessons:

Elise Schupp, Flapping Flag F: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/solutions/schuppel.htm

Amanda Godbee, J -J- J Jumbo Jellyfish: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/solutions/godbeeel.htm



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