Whoops! I Let Go of My Balloon! Ffffffffffff

Mary Lawrence Chandler

Emergent Literacy

Rationale: This lesson will help children identify the consonant phoneme /f/. By focusing on the phoneme of the spoken sound F, children will in turn have a better understanding of the written letter. They will practice pronouncing the letter and how it is used in reading and writing. 

Materials: Picture of boy blowing up a balloon, the letter F on an index card, a mirror, Chart paper with tongue twister on it, primary paper and pencil, pictures of things that start with F (i.e. feet, frogs, French fries, friends etc), the book Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow (1989) Scholastic, assessment worksheet (see below).


1)   Instructor introduction: Today we will be talking about the letter F. The letter F makes the sound /f/.  It makes a sound like a balloon being deflated. Let’s pretend we are blowing up a balloon then we accidentally let it go! Whoops! Ffffff it makes this sound until all the air is out.  (Act out together)

2)   As the letter F is introduced the picture above will be presented to help with visual imagery. We will also look at the letter F on an index card.

3)   Next a mirror will be brought out to practice watching ourselves make the /f/ sound. The instructor will model how the top teeth and bottom lip touch while air is blowing through to make the appropriate sound.  Then the student will follow.

4)   Sometimes it’s our job to act like a detective looking for the letter f in words. We can stretch out the word and listen for it like in the word left. I just say it in slow motion Llll-eee—ffff—t. I know when the F comes because we practiced how it feels to make the sound. Remember our top teeth touch our bottom lip and air blows through. Now you try and stretch out left.

5)   Now we are going to learn a really fin tongue twister using the letter f. Frankie Feels Fine for Friday’s Fiesta. Let’s say this tongue twister together. Now let’s try it but hold out the /f/ in the beginning.

6)   Now we’re going to practice how to write a letter F. Let’s take out or paper and pencil and get ready to write. The instructor will model how to make an F on primary paper by starting and the bottom making a straight line until the top where it curves around. Then we come back with a horizontal line through the middle. Students will then try making their on Fs on their own paper.

7)   The instructor will then ask the student if they hear the letter F in certain words. Example, Do you hear /f/ in Fine or Mine? Fat or cat? Fix or mix? Feet or meet?

8)   We will then read the book, Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow. When we come to words like five or fell we’ll raise our hands and hold out the F sound. Book Talk: This book is about five little monkeys that love to have fun jumping on their bed. But, we know that jumping on the bed can be dangerous. What do you think might happen? Read to find out!

9)   Next we will review pictures of words that begin with the letter F. We will look at feet, frogs, French fries, friends, someone with a fever.

10) Finally, students will fill out assessment worksheet demonstrating their ability to detect the /f/ sound in words.


Bugg, Katy. “Pant Like Henry the Hound Dog.” http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/sightings/buggel.html

Christelow, Eileen. Five Little Monkeys Jumping On the Bed. (1989). Scholastic Publishing.

Murray, Bruce. “Brush your teeth with F.” http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/sightings/murrayel.html

Assessments: This work sheet provides a picture of a word with the F sound in it. The student must decide if they hear the sound and the beginning or end of the word and circle accordingly. This will be good practice for stretching out the words or saying them in slow motion to catch where the F falls in the word.


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