Big, Bad, b and d


Emergent Literacy—Letter Recognition

By Natalie Tate


Rationale:         It is important for beginning readers to learn how to identify letters and listen for the sounds the letters make. This lesson is designed to help students learn to recognize the difference between b=/b/ and d=/d/. These two letters look similar and sometimes the same to children. Therefore, they are often confused. During the lesson, students will have the chance to practice seeing and hearing the letters and sounds for better recognitions. Also, it is very important that children learn how letters are formed to comprehend their meaning. Through practice and direct instruction, students will be able to see and understand the difference between b and d.


Materials:         1.Cards with b (blue) and d (yellow)

                        2. b word cards (bat, ball, boat, bell) with pictures

                        3. d word cards (dog, doll, duck, door) with pictures

                        4. “both” words (bad, bed, bid) with pictures

                        5. Primary writing paper

                        6. Pencils

                        7. Blue and yellow Cards for each student

                        8. Dry-erase Board

                        9. Dry-erase Markers

                        10. Book- The Berenstain Bears In the Dark, by Stan and Jan Berenstain



Procedures:      1. Explain and model the day’s lesson to the students.

-Today we are going to learn about two letters that are at times very tricky. These letters are b (hold up b card) and d (hold up d card). Can someone raise his or her hand and tell me what sound b makes? (Student Response) Good, let’s say it together /b/, /b/. Now, do you know what sound d makes? (SR) Let’s say it all together now, /d/, /d/. Good job, boys and girls. Next I need a volunteer to think of some words that begin with the letter b. (SR-write on dry-erase board) Great. Now let’s think of some words that start with the letter d. Who knows one? (SR-write on dry-erase board)


2. Ask the students these questions and get them to respond as a class (using blue and yellow b and d cards):

            “Do you hear the /b/ sound in the word bad or Dad?”

            “Do you hear the /d/ sound in the word drown or brown?”

            “Do you hear the /d/ sound in the word ball or doll?”

            “Do you hear the /b/ sound in the word bid or did?"


3. Go over two tongue twisters for b = /b/ and d = /d/ and write them on the board.

-b = /b/ “Britney baked big brownies for the beautiful baby’s birthday!”

-I’ll say it once and then, we will all say it together. Great job! Now let’s say it one more time, emphasizing the /b/ sounds in the beginning of each word (I will hold up the blue b card on every /b/ sound.) Good work. Let’s try this one now… repeat after me.

-d = /d/ “David dreamed that his dog dug dirt in the dark!”

-Good work boys and girls! Okay, now we’re going to emphasize the /d/ sounds in the beginning of each word in this tongue twister. (I will hold up yellow d card each time the /d/ sound is stressed.)


4. Practice and model letter formation and writing with students.

-Now boys and girls, we are going to practice and learn the differences between b and d. Let’s take out our lined writing paper and pencils. I will show you on the board how to make little b first (model as I say the phrase “For lower case b, you start at the roof and go down, bbbounce up to the fence and around.”) Now you try to say it as you make your own b’s on your paper. Good. Let’s write 4 more lower case b’s on the whole line (Allow a minute or two for students to complete). Next, boys and girls, we are going to practice writing lower case d. We all remember how to make lowercase c right? (This should be in student’s prior knowledge). Watch and listen to me as I show you on the board. (Model with the phrase “For little or lower-case d, first you make a little c then little d.”).  Now it’s your turn. Go down to the next line and say the phrase as you write the letter d. Good job. Now I want all of you to practice 4 more times writing the lowercase d on that same line. Great!


5. Connect today’s lesson to the book, The Berenstain Bears In the Dark.

-Boys and girls, now that you have a great comprehension of the letters b and d, we are going to see what you know by reading this book The Berenstain Bears In the Dark. Now, as I read this to you, I want you all to follow along with me. Every time you hear me read a word that begins with b = /b/, I want you to raise your blue card in the air. This means that every time you hear me say a word that has the d = /d/ sound beginning, I want you to raise your yellow card. Let’s try it… (Read the title and see if children understand the directions)


Assessment:      Students will be assessed by their active participation in all parts of the lesson, but mainly focusing on the final step during the reading of the book. The more they participate, the better I will see their comprehension of the subject matter. I will also evaluate their writing practices with the letters b and d and make notes about their participation during the tongue twisters. I will also assess their individual performance on writing the letters b and d correctly.


    References:   Berenstain, Stan and Jan. The Berenstain Bears In the Dark. New York: Random House, 1982. 30 pp.

Lewis, Naomi. Emergent Literacy. Dancing and Bouncing with Piglet!

McGowan. Tongue Twister Alphabet. First Grade Fun with Alliteration.

Murray, Bruce. Teaching Letter Recognition.

Wallach, M. A., & Wallach, L. (1976).  Teaching all children to readChicagoUniversity of Chicago Press.  Wallach and Wallach's Tongue Twisters:

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