Ziggy Zig-Zagged Through Buzzing Bees!


Andi Stafford

Emergent Literacy

Rationale: Learning to read and write depends on cracking the alphabetic code and becoming phonologically aware. The goal for this lesson is to help recognize /z/, the phoneme represented by the letter Z. Students will learn to recognize /z/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (zipping the zipper on a jacket). They will also develop a grapheme-phoneme correspondence for the phoneme /z/ through gestures, listening, reading, tongue twisters, and writing exercises.


Poster with Tongue Tickler

Primary Paper


Word Cards

Oh Beyond Zebra! By Dr. Seuss


1. Say: Our alphabet has many different letters with many different sounds. We even move our mouth in different ways for each letter. Today we are going to look at the letter Z. The letter Z looks like a zig-zag and sounds like a buzzing bee.

2. Say: Let's pretend we are bees buzzing in a zig-zag. Have them put their hands together to act like bees. Say: When you make the Z sounds does it tickle your teeth? Right!

3. Say: Ok, when I say a word, I want you to tell me where you hear the /z/ sound. I'm going to stretch out the word so listen carefully. B-u-zz. At the end? Right! Now, zzz-i-pp-er. At the beginning? Perfect! Now you try. Have the whole class say buzz and zipper to feel the /z/.

4. Say: Now, let's try a tongue tickler to help us remember words that have the /z/ sound. I am going to say a sentence and I want you to repeat after me. Let's remember to have our bees flying when we say our tongue twister. Zack zooms to the zoo on his zoomer. Show the students the chart with the tongue tickler to help them with the sentence. Say: Ok, now let's go back and think about what we just said. Did you hear any words that had the /z/ sound in it? Zack, zooms, zoo, zoomer. Say: Great job!

5. Say: Not only is the letter Z fun to sound out but it is also fun to write! Do you remember how we had our bees zig-zagging around? Well, the letter Z looks just like a zig-zag. Let's practice writing our upper and lower-case Z. Give the children primary paper and a pencil. Say: With the upper-case Z we are going to start on the rooftop. Take two steps across the rooftop and then make a crooked line down to the sidewalk. Demonstrate which way to make the crooked line. Say: Now that we are on the sidewalk take two steps across the sidewalk. Allow enough time for child each draw ten upper-case Z's.) Say: Now with the lower-case Z we are going to start on the fence and take two steps forward. Then we are going to draw a crooked line down to the sidewalk. Demonstrate in which directions to go. Say: Finally, we are going to take two steps across the sidewalk to finish the lower-case Z. Have the children draw ten lower-case z's.)

6. Say: Now, I am going to read a few words with the letter Z in them. If you hear the letter Z in these words I want you to show me your buzzing bees. Show the cards with the words as you read the words. Say: zig, zag, zap, zany, zebra, zing, zoo, zoom.

7. I will read Oh Zebra Beyond by Dr. Seuss. Book Talk: Have you ever wondered what letter would come after the letter Z? Well, this young creature does not think the alphabet should stop at the letter Z. Let's read the book to find out what he decides about the alphabet.

8. To assess the children I will have the children do a worksheet where they have to say the name of the picture and then color the ones that have the /z/ sound on it.


O'Brien, Megan. Liquefy Your Lemons for Lemonade.


Oh Beyond Zebra! New York, NY. Random House, Inc. 1990.



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