Zippy at the Zoo

Emergent Literacy
Hilary Shell

Rationale: This lesson is designed to teach emergent readers to recognize the grapheme z in written words and the phoneme /z/ in spoken words.  The students will gain this knowledge by listening and repeating the spoken phoneme /z/ as well as practicing writing the upper and lower case grapheme. This is a necessity, because Marilyn Adams states that a child who can recognize most letters with thorough confidence will have an easier time learning about letter sounds and word spellings.
Primary paper and pencil
Dry-Erase or chalk board
Poster with “Zippy zoomed and zigzagged to the zoo� written on it (tongue twister)
 Zigby Hunts for Treasure by Brian Paterson
Large pictures (big enough for whole class to see) of different objects that start with the letter /z/ (ex. zebra, zero, zoo, zipper) and some that do not (house, table, man).
Worksheet with pictures of objects that start with the letter /z/ (ex. zebra, zero, zoo, zipper) and some that do not (house, table, man).

1. Review previously taught consonants and vowels. Ask students to tell you the grapheme and phoneme for each letter. Also, ask students to tell you a word that starts with each letter. Include questions such as, do I hear /b/ in the word bay or clay, or do I hear /m/ in sand or man?

2. Tell students that we are going to learn a new letter today. Introduce the letter z by writing it on the board. Explain that the letter z says /z/ like in the word zoo or Zippy. Explain that it often sounds like a bee flying though the air (make a buzzing sounds and ask students to make the same sound). Explain to students that they should make this sound every time they see a z in a word.

3. Ask students to practice their buzzing z sound. Ask them questions such as, do you hear /z/ in the word zippy or hippy, or do you hear /z/ in zoo or two?

4. Instruct students to look at the tongue twister poster. Read the tongue twister aloud to students making sure to stretch the /z/. ZZZZippy zzzzoomed and zzzzigzzzzagged to the zzzzoo. Then have the students echo read the tongue twister with you and make their buzzing bees every time they hear the /z/ sound.

5.Take out pictures of objects that start with the letter z and the ones that do not. Ask students if each picture starts with the letter z, making sure to say the object's name to students while showing the picture so they do not get confused. Say things such as does house start with the letter z, and how about zero, does it start with the letter z.

6.Next, we are going to read a book called Zigby hunts for treasure by Brian Paterson. Tell students that the book is full of the letter z. Explain to them that every time you hear me say the letter z, I want you to make the z sound by buzzing your bees. Let's practice once before I start to read, zzzzzzz. Good!� (read book)

7. Ask students to get out their primary paper and a pencil. Explain to them that we are going to learn to write the letter z. Explain to the students that the top line of the primary paper is the rooftop, the middle, dotted line is the fence, the bottom line is the sidewalk, and below the bottom line is the ditch. Model how to make a capital Z on the board. Explain that you zig across the rooftop, zag down to the sidewalk, and zig back to the right. Ask students to repeat this saying along with you while you both make z's on your papers. Ask students to repeat this 7 more times as you walk around the room to observe. After this exercise, explain to the students that to write a lowercase z, you do the same zig zag zig but you start on the fence instead of the rooftop (model on the board). Ask students to repeat this 7 more times on their paper also, as you walk around the room.

8.    For assessment, distribute a sheet with pictures on it and have the students color the pictures that begin with the /z/ sound and x out the pictures that do not start with the /z/ sound.

1. Adams, Marilyn. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print - A Summary. Champaign: Center for the Study of Reading Research and
Education Center, 1990.
2. Paterson, Brian.  Zigby Hunts for Treasure. HarperCollins, 2003.
3. Adams, Jennifer. Z is for Zaxby the Buzzing Bee.
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