POP! with the letter P

Pop! with the letter P

Emergent Literacy Design
Rebecca Macintire

Rationale:  Students will learn to identify the letter P and the phoneme that it represents: /p/.  They will learn to recognize /p/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (pop! with hand gesture), the letter symbol P (looks like a lolliPOP), practice finding /p/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /p/in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.

Primary paper and pencil
Chart with "Polly's pink pet poodle paraded proudly"
Drawing paper and crayons
Dr. Suesss' ABC (Random House, 1963)
Word cards with PICK, BIG, LOT, PET, PLAY, and FORK
Assessment worksheet


1. Say: Our written language is a secret code. The tricky part is learning what letters stand for—the mouth moves we make as we say words. Today we're going to work on spotting the mouth move /p/. We spell /p/ with letter P. P looks like a crooked lollipop, and /p/ sounds like "pop!"

2. Let's make a pop sound. "Pop!" and make a hand gesture of balling hands into fist then extending fingers out when you say, "pop!" Notice the shape your mouth makes.  When we say /p/, we blow air out of our lips.

3. Let me tell you how to find /p/ in the word hope.  I'm going to say hope in super slow motion, and you listen for the "pop!"  Hhh-ooo-ppp-e.  There it is! I heard my lips pop!

4. Let's try the tongue twister.  "Polly's pink pet poodle paraded proudly."  Let's say it three times out loud.  Now let's say it but we'll stretch out the /p/.  "Ppppolly's pppink pppet pppoodle ppparaded ppproudly."  This time let's break of the /p/ from the rest of the word.  "/p/ olly's /p/ ink /p/et /p/oodle /p/araded /p/ roudly."

5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil.]  We used the letter P to spell  /p/.  Capital P looks like a crooked lollipop.  Let's write the lowercase p.  Start at the fence and draw a straight line all the way into the ditch.  Now draw a backwards c that touch the fence and the sidewalk.  I want to see everybody's p.  After I put a smile on it, make 9 more just like it.

6. Call on students to tell the answer and how they know.  Do you hear /p/ in run or skip?  Play or work? Up or down?  Pink or blue?  Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /p/ in some words.  "Pop!" with hand gesture if you hear /p/.  Pretty, purple, birds, play, in, the, fun, park.

7.  Let's look at Dr. Suess's ABC book.  Read pages 38 and 39, drawing out /p/.  What are some other words with /p/?  Can you think of a two or three silly things that begin with /p/ that you can put together?  [like "painting pink pajamas. Policeman in a pail."]  Have them draw a picture of their idea.

8. Show PICK and model how to decide if it is pick or kick.  The P tells me to "pop!" so this word is ppp-ick.  You try some:  PIG, jig or pig; POT, pot or lot; PET, pet or set; PLAY, clay or play; PORK, pork or fork.

9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to complete the partial spellings and color the pictures that begin with P. Call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.


Byrne, B., & Fielding-Barnsley, R. (1990). Acquiring the alphabetic principle: A case for teaching recognition of phoneme identity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 805-812.

Murray, Bruce.  Emergent literacy lesson:  "Brush Your Teeth with F."  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/signtings/murrayel.html

Assessment worksheet:  http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/p-begins2.htm

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