Huff and Puff with P

Emergent Literacy

Sarah Daughtry


Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /p/, the phoneme represented by P.  Children will learn to recognize /p/ in spoken words with the help of Peter the puffing train, the letter symbol P, practice finding /p/ in words, and use phoneme awareness with /p/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.

Materials: Primary paper and pencil; chart with "Peter Parker puts pricey pancakes in the pan"; drawing paper and crayons; Pablo, His Papa, and the Letter P (Child's World, 2004); word cards with PAN, PUSH, FEST, PORK, BIT and PACE; worksheet to practice writing /p/ (link below).

Procedures: 1. Say, "Our language is a special one. We have lots of letters that sound different and look different from each other. We even move our mouth in different ways for each letter and sound.  Today we will learn about the letter P. We spell /p/ with the letter P. P looks like a puff of smoke from a train, and /p/ sounds like the puff of smoke coming out of the train." 

2. "Look at the picture of this train. See the smoke? The letter I drew to outline the smoke is the letter P and it sounds like /p/.  Let's make sounds like the smoke coming out of the train, /p/ /p/ /p/. Doesn't that sound like the train is working its way up a hill? It is 'huffing and puffing.' When we say /p/ we put our lips together for a quick puff of air.

3. Let me show you how to find /p/ in the word soap. I'm going to stretch soap out in super slow motion and listen for my puff of smoke sound /p/ in soap. "Sssssooooooap. Now you try it with me. Ssssssooooooap." 

4.  "Let's try a tongue tickler [on chart]. Peter Parker puts pricey pancakes in the pan. Everybody say it three times together. Peter Parker pus pricey pancakesin the pan. Now say it again, and this time, hold the /p/ at the beginning of each word.  Peter Parker puts pricey pancakes in the pan.  Try it again, and this time break the /p/ off of the word. "/p/eter /p/arker /p/uts /p/ricey /p/ancakes in the /p/an."

5. [Take out primary paper and pencils] We use the letter P to spell /p/. Capital P looks like a puff of smoke coming out of a train. Let's write the lowercase letter p. Start at the fence and draw a line straight down through the sidewalk and down into the ditch. Pick up your pencil and go back to the fence where your like starts, make a half circle connecting the top of the line from the fence down to the sidewalk. Let me come around see your p's and then make nine more once I have checked it for good work.

6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /p/ in marker or pencil? finger or pinky? Put or take? shampoo or conditioner? Down or up? Say: Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /p/ in some words. Raise your hand if you hear the puff of smoke /p/: The pudding place was putting pudding in each cup precisely in front of its partners.

7. Say: "Let's look at an alphabet book. Pablo is a boy about your age who plays with his Papa [Dad] and the letter P. Read a few pages if not all of them emphasizing /p/.  Ask children if they can think of other words with /p/. Ask them to make up a tongue tickler, and then have each student write their silly story with invented spelling. Draw a picture of their story. Display their work.

8. Show PAN and model how to decide if it is pan or fan: The P tells me to puff a smoke from the train, /p/ so this word is ppp-an, pan. You try some: PACE: pace or face? PUSH: mush or push?  BIT: pit or bit? PORK: pork or fork?  FEST: pest or fest?

9. For assessment, distribute worksheets [see URL for Practice P worksheets] Students can practice writing P on the dotted lines, then by themselves by completing the word with a P. Call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.

Reference: Murray, Bruce. Reading Genie website.

Assessment Worksheets:

Practice P:

Write P by yourself:

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