Popcorn Popping Everywhere!


By: Lauren Dooley


Rationale: Students must become aware that each letter has a sound that corresponds with it to become a more successful reader. Using letter recognition lessons are a great way to introduce or review a grapheme to phoneme correspondence. Students will be able to recognize /p/ in spoken words during the lesson, and this will help them connect /p/ to the grapheme p in written texts. This lesson will cover how to write the letter p and how to identify the sound /p/ in spoken words by reading a tongue twister and a book.


   -Primary Paper and Pencil (per student)

   - Chart with "Pat and Pam popped popcorn for the party"

   - Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss NY: Random House. (1963)

   - Drawing paper and crayons (per student)



1) It is important to begin with that the students understand how to actually form the sound /p/. "What do our mouths look like when we say the /p/ sound?" Demonstrate several times how the mouth makes the sound. Allow the students to say it several times as they are paying attention to their mouth movements. "What are your teeth doing? What about your tongue? Is their air being pushed out to make the sound?" Make sure the students understand that their lips are closed at first then air is pushed out to create the /p/ sound.

2) Ask students review questions about their other letter sounds they remember where their lips started out closed. "What is the difference in the /b/ and /p/ sounds?" This will help them use their prior knowledge to compare the new sound /p/ to any other letter sounds that may have similar mouth movements. Show the differences in the different sounds and mouth movements if the student seems to be mixing them up.

3) "How many of you like popcorn? Do you like the sound it makes? Can anyone demonstrate the sound it makes? /p/. Everyone make the sound on the count of three." Then, explain to students that the /p/ sound is like the sound popcorn makes when it is popping. Let them use hand motions to symbolize the popcorn popping. Make them close their hands into fists. When they say the /p/ sound they will open up their fists stretching their fingers out as wide as they can. Tell students they are going to start out very slow making the /p/ sound and "popcorn" motion as the teacher claps, then as the teacher speeds up his/her clap the students will speed up their /p/ sounds and motions to sound like popcorn.  This will make them a lot more familiar with the /p/ sound and their mouth movements.

4) Use the chart for the tongue twister. "Let's try our tongue twister! Ready? Pat and Pap popped popcorn for their party." Allow them to say it a few more times. After the students are familiar with the tongue twister, ask them to add their popcorn sound when they hear the /p/ sound. "Let's say our tongue twister again and anywhere you hear the /p/ sound make the "popcorn" sound. Let's see if we hear the /p/ sound in this tongue twister. p/p/Pat and p/p/Pam p/p/popp/p/p/ed p/p/pop/p/pcorn for the p/p/party! "Continue this until the students can recognize all of the /p/ sounds. Ask them to also add their "popcorn" hand motions with their sounds as they read the tongue twister.

5) Now students will get their primary paper and a pencil. "We will now learn how to write the letter p. Start with your pencil on the fence, go straight down to the ditch. Pick your pencil up and go to the top of the line you made, then go over, down, and put his chin on the sidewalk."

6) Now, see if the students can find the /p/ sound in different words. Use the list of pairs of words. "I am going to read a list of words. I will read two of them at a time. I will give you a minute to let you decide which word has the /p/ sound in it. Raise your hand when you think you know which one it is. I will demonstrate first. Do you hear the /p/ sound in map or made? I will say it slowly to see if I can find it. M-a-p. There it is. It is in map. Now, you try." Continue this until the list is completed. This will allow the students to find the /p/ sound throughout different words.

7) Read Hop on Pop to the class. Allow them to make popcorn hand motions when they hear a /p/ sound during the story.

8) For assessment, give the students a sheet of drawing paper and a pencil (or crayons).  Give them directions to draw five things that have the /p/ sound in them. Ask them to also write the name of the picture they have drawn below it, and they may use invented spelling.


McClanahan, Hope. "Pop Popcorn Pop!"


Seuss, Dr. Hop on Pop. NY: Random House: (1963).

Murray, Dr. Bruce. "Making Friends with Phonemes."


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