Piggies Love P-P-Popcorn and P-P-Pancakes

Emergent Literacy Design

Katie Freeman

Rationale: Marilyn Jager Adams states that a major predictor of reading success in the USOE First-Grade Studies was children's ability to discriminate between phonemes, which to individual letters.  They can also be described as smaller-than-syllable sounds that correspond roughly are vocal gestures that are found in spoken words.  Letters, or graphemes, are used to visually represent phonemes.  In this lesson, the phoneme /p/ is taught.  The students will hear words that contain /p/, as well as see words that have p throughout this lesson.  /p/ will become memorable to the students by using a hand gesture and a picture.  A tongue twister will also be used.  Finally, selecting words that begin with /p/ from pictures will further demonstrate the importance of this phoneme.


Numeroff, Laura. If you give a pig a pancake. 1998. Scholastic, New York.

Picture of popcorn popping

Chart paper displaying the tongue tickler

Cardstock precut into the letter ''P''


primary paper and pencil

old magazines

scissors and clear tape

hole punch and string (optional)


1.  Introduce the lesson by explaining that our mouth moves a different way for every word we say.  ''Today we are going to work on finding the mouth move for /p/.''  The children will watch each other as they practice saying /p/.  ''A lot of words start with the letter p and after this lesson you will become aware of many.''

 2.  Ask the students: ''Have you ever heard the sound popcorn makes when it is popping?  (Show picture)  Yes, it makes the /p/ sound.  Let's practice making the /p/ sound with our hands. Try this! (Demonstrate popping fingers open from a fist.) Now, let's find the /p/ sound in some words.

3.  ''We're going try a tongue twister together (put chart up for students to see).  You might know this one!  Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.  Let's say it together three more times.  *say it three times  Ok, let's try it one more time, but this time I want us to pop our fingers open every time you hear the /p/ sound.  *say it once more   Great job!''

4. Have students test words for /p/.  Ask students, "Do you hear /p/ in heap or heal?  Good, it's in heap.  What about wetor pet?  Great job, it's in pet."

5. "Next we are going to practice printing the /p/ sound.  The letter p represents /p/ and is going to help us spell.” Students should get a sheet of primary paper and a pencil. I will model the correct way to write the letter p using the Smartboard. “To write a p start with your pencil on the fence, go straight down into the ditch, come up and put his chin on the sidewalk. Now you are going to practice writing the letter p. I will be coming around the room to check your work and once your work has been checked you can practice writing it 5 more times.”

6.  Introduce the book If you give a pig a pancake:  ''This is a funny story about a little pig that eats pancakes with syrup and he gets all sticky.  What do you think will happen to that little pig after he eats his pancakes?  We will have to read the story and find out what he does next.  Now, while I read the story I want you to listen for the /p/ sound and when you hear it pop your fingers every time like we did earlier.''


5. Pass out the cardstock Ps, scissors, tape, and old magazines to each student.  Tell students, ''So now that we have practiced finding the /p/ sound in our story, it's your turn to find the sound /p/ that the letter P stands for in these magazines.  Cut out the pictures you see like if someone is having a picnic or if someone is eating a pickle.  Tape the pictures to your big P and we will keep them together as a class.''

6. If time allows, have students share the pictures they found that begin with the sound /p/.  Afterward, the teacher can punch a hole in the top of each letter, and hang it in a room with string or bind it as a shaped book.


1. Adams, Marilyn Jager.  Beginning to Read:  Thinking and Learning About Print.  1990.  p. 40

2. Shumock, Emily.   Piggy Pancakes.


 3. Burton, Marilee Robin; Wise, Beth Alley; and Barchers, Suzanne, Ed. D.  Reading Activities.  Lincolnwood, IL, Publications International, 2001, p. 49

 4. Tongue Tickler: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/ticklers.html

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