Wishy Washy

Emergent Literacy Design


Julia Drews


Rationale: Children learn to read and write more effectively when they understand that different sounds stand for different letters.  This lesson will help children identify /w/, the phoneme represented by the letter, W.   To help children recognize /w/ in spoken words they practice the representation of "wiggling" and the letter symbol W.  Students will also practice finding /w/ in words and apply what they have learned by reading and distinguishing the letter from rhyming words when they are in list form.



Primary paper and pencil

Chart with "Wiggling helps William the Walrus wake up while he waits for his warm waffles"

Word cards: water, watch, wave, warm, witch, worm, and work

Wiggles by Doreen Cronin

Kidzone Worksheet: http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/w-begins1.htm



1.Explain how your mouth moves with different sounds.  Then show how your mouth moves with the /w/ sound.  Ask the students: "How do your parents clean your clothes? Yes that's correct, in the washing machine! What sound do you hear at the beginning of washing? Yes is the /w/ sound! Lets try making the /w/ sound together." Make sure the student understand and can demonstrate the circle of the lips when making the /w/ sound. 

2."Lets try a tongue twister together" Explain to the student that every time they hear the /w/ sound they should wiggle in their seats. "I am going to say the tongue twister first and then you try it with me the second time." Repeat the activity until your student is wiggling at the correct times. 

3. "Now we are going to practice writing the letter W" Have your student use a piece of primary paper and a pencil for this part of the lesson.  "Everyone pick up your pencil and follow me while I draw the letter W on the board.  Start at the roof and slant the line all the way down to the sidewalk. Next, draw another slanted line from the sidewalk to the roof.  Now again from the roof to the sidewalk and back up to the roof again.  Please make seven more capital Ws." Once all of the students have finished with the capital Ws try the lower case letter. "Now we are going to try and make the lower case W.  Start at the fence, make a slanted line down to the sidewalk and another slanted like back up to the fence.  Now again from the fence to sidewalk and back up to the fence. Please make seven lower case Ws"

4. "Okay, now I am going to say a couple of words and I want you to tell me which one you hear /w/ in, and its okay to wiggle if that will help you."

Do you hear /w/ in:

Step or walk?

Watch or clock?

Waffles or yogurt?

Where or there?

Cake or wait?

5. "Now I am going to show you a card with a word on it and I then I am going to ask you which of two words you think it is, and its okay if you don't know it but I would like you to try your best. For example I will show you a card and ask, does this say wave or save?" Show the student the list of words on note cards one at a time and have them tell you which one they think it is.  Record any miscues. 

6.Read Wiggles, by Doreen Cronin.  Tell students to wiggle their hands every time they hear the /w/ sound.  After reading, have them think of more words starting with the /w/ sound.  

7.Assessment: give the students a worksheet with pictures and words containing the correspondence w = /w/ mixed with words that do not.  The students will draw a line to the pictures and words that have w = /w/.



Adams, Marilyn-Jager. Beginning To Read: Thinking and Learning about Print. 1990.

Kidzone Worksheet: http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/w-begins1.htm

Murray, Bruce.  The Reading Genie http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie


Wiggles by Dorren Cronin




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