"B"ee is the Best!

Kathleen Pease

Emergent Literacy Lesson Design


Rational: This lesson focuses on something that is crucial for children to master in the beginning of their reading instruction: letter recognition.  Through the various activities, the students will be able to recognize the letter and phoneme "b" and /b/ both in written and spoken language.  They also will be able to write upper case and lower case "B's."


Materials: Primary Paper, Pencils, Poster with tongue twister and picture: Beth broke her best buddy's baby doll, Picture page for assessment (pictures of baby, dog, bat, fish, web, lid), book: The Honeybee and the Robber, stickers



1. Begin lesson by telling students that our written language is made up lots of different letters, and we've got to figure out what each one stands for.  Today we're going to learn a letter that is going to help us break the "secret code" of our language: b, or the phoneme, /b/.  Tell students that we are going to be able to recognize the mouth moves for /b/, and soon we will be able to see b in all kinds of words!

2. I want everyone to put their hand on their chest and listen very, very quietly.  Do you hear your heart beating: b-b-b-b-b‰¥ÏThat's the sound b makes!  What do you feel your mouth doing when you make that sound?  That right, our lips start out pressed together, and we let out a puff of air.  One word we hear the letter b in is "bite."  Now, stretch out the heartbeat b in "bite."  B-b-b-b-bite.  Good job!

3. Now we are going to try our tongue twister that's written on this chart.  I'll say it once, and then you can say it back to me two times.  Ready? It says "Beth broke her best buddy's baby doll."  Okay, now we're going to say it again, but this time we're going to stretch out that heartbeat "b" sound.  Bbbbeth bbbbroke her bbbbest bbbbuddy's bbbbaby doll.  Great job!  Now let's see if we can break off the /b/ at the beginning of each word that begins with /b/.  /B/eth /b/roke her /b/est /b/uddy's /b/aby doll.

4. Okay, now it's time to write it!  I think you're ready!  Please take out your pencils and primary paper.  First I'll show you how we write the letter b.  Model on board and talk through the steps.  For the upper case B,  we start up at the rooftop and go all the way down to the sidewalk, then around for his big chest and around again for his big tummy.  Next, for lower case b,  we start up at the rooftop again, and go all the way down to the sidewalk and b-b-bounce up and around.  Once I see that you have figured out how to write these letters, I'll give you a sticker on your paper.  Then, I want to you write Bb across the line on your paper six more times.

5. Can you hear /b/ in "bumblebee?"  Now, I am going to call out some words to you, and if you think you hear a /b/ in them, I want you to flap your bumblebee wings really fast. Let's practice: I'm going to say the words "cab" and "tag," and I want you to flap your wings when I say which one you think has b in it.  Okay, cab or tag?  Right, I heard that heartbeat /b/ in cab, but not in tag.  Let's try some more!  Bat or map?  Ball or sad?  Call or tab?

6. Read The Honeybee and the Robber by Eric Carle.  "This is a really great story about a honeybee and a robber!  Do you think the robber is going to be able to rob the honeybee?  I hope not!  Let's read to find out!"  After reading, discuss the story's events with the class.  Read the story again, and have the students flap their wings when they hear a word with b.   Have students write a message about where they would fly if they could fly like a bumblebee.

7. To assess the students' learning, give them the picture page and circle the pictures that begin with b.   Then have them write an upper case and lower case b beside each picture.

8. References:

The Honeybee and the Robber by Eric Carle. Philomel Books. (1991). 

Smith, Julie.  B B Bee!  Auburn University. Summer 2007. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/navig/smithjel.html

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