Pretty Penguins Pop Perfect Popcorn

Cydney Dorsey, Emergent Literacy


Rationale: This lesson will help students to develop stronger phoneme awareness, by focusing on their abilities to recognize phonemes (esp. p=/p/) in spoken words, write the upper- and lower-case P/p, and identify words with the beginning /p/ phoneme. "To appreciate the alphabetic significance of letters, children must gain conscious access to phonemes(Adams p. 53)."



-Large Primary Paper Teacher Tablet


-Upper- and Lower-case P/p cutouts for the teacher’s board

-Primary Paper Writing Tablets (per student)

-Pencils (per student)

-If You Give a Pig a Pancake book

-Color worksheets (one for each student)


-Alphabet Journals (per student)



1. Introduce the lesson to the students.

Say: "Today, we are going to learn about a new letter."

[Show the students a large P/p on board.]

"This is a 'P.' We are going to learn about the sound that 'p' makes, and what it looks like when it is written in upper-case and lower-case and when we see it in words."


2. Introduce the p=/p/ sound.

Say: "Do you know the sound that popcorn makes when you pop it in the microwave? What is that sound?"

[Students will respond…"p-p-p," "pop!"]

"Right! P-P-P-P….that is the sound that the 'p' makes! Let’s say this sentence: Pretty Penguins Pop Perfect Popcorn." [Students will repeat.]

"Okay, now let’s exaggerate those 'P' sounds at the beginning of each word Pretty Penguins Pop Perfect Popcorn." [Students will repeat.]  

"Great job! Now can anyone think of other words that start with the 'P' sound?" [Students will respond. "pig" "plow" "paint" "purple"…]


3. Discuss upper- and lower-case distinction.

Say: "Okay, so we have 2 different 'P/p’s' up here on the board. Why are they different?" [Students will respond.]

"They are different because this one [P] is an upper-case 'P,' and this one [p] is a lower-case 'p.' When do we use upper-case letters? When do we use lower-case letters?" [Students will respond based upon prior knowledge.]

"How might it be different to write an upper-case P? How might it be different to write a lower-case p?" [Students will respond based on prior knowledge.]

"Okay, [the teacher will demonstrate on large primary paper tablet, students will take out their writing tablets and pencils] the upper-case P has a back that reaches all the way from the rooftop down to the sidewalk. Its front curves around from its back like a backwards 'c,' touching the rooftop down to the fence making sure to connect with its back again. Does everybody understand? Why don't you try writing one on your paper? Why don't you try writing 5?" [Students will do as instructed, while teacher walks around to check off.]

"Now, what about the lower-case 'p'? [Teacher will continue demonstration.] It has a back that stretches down from the fence, past the sidewalk, and into the ditch. Its front also curves around like a backwards 'c,' but only from the fence down to touch the sidewalk. Does everybody see? Why don't you try writing one on your paper? Why don't you try writing 5?" [Students will do as instructed, while teacher walks around to check off.]


 4. "Now, I am going to read the book If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff. Everytime you hear the 'p' sound we have been talking about today, I want you to make this popcorn motion with your hands.
 [Teacher will demonstrate motion.].
Everybody practice that motion with me – great job!"
 [Teacher will read the story and students will make the motions.]


5. After reading the story, students will be assessed by completing a worksheet that asks them to color only the pictures that start with the letter 'p.' The teacher should come around to the students while they are working on this worksheet to have meaningful discussions with them, and to check off their completion of the assignment. Once they have finished this worksheet, they should make an entry in their "Alphabet Journal" – one sentence with 3 p words in it, including correct capitalization. This will be checked off during the general "Alphabet Journal" check.




Adams, Marilyn Jager. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print (A Summary). Center of the Study of Reading: The Reading Research and Education Center: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 1990.

 Miranda, Jenn. Pattie the Pig Pops Popcorn.

Murray, Bruce.  Reading Genie:  Hand Gestures for Phonemes

Numeroff, Laura.  If You Give a Pig a Pancake.  USA.  An Imprint of Harpers/Collins Publisher.  1998.   29 pages. 


 Return to Projects index