Popping Popcorn

popping popcorn

Caitlin Pickelsimer

Emergent Literacy


The ability to name and recognize the letters of the alphabet is one of the two best predictors of a child's reading success. This lesson will teach students to recognize the letter p in print and the phoneme /p/ in spoken words. This goal will be met by having children listen for and repeat the phoneme in spoken words and by having them practice writing the letter p (both capital and lowercase).

Primary Paper (one sheet for each student), Pencils, Chart with Pretty Peggy plants pumpkins in a path written for students to see, The Pig’s Picnic by Helen H. Moore and Ellen Joy Sasaki, White board or chart paper to write students ‘P’ words on, Dry erase marker

1. “Boys and Girls today we are going to be learning about the sound that the letter p makes. The letter p makes the /p/ sound like when popcorn is popping. Let’s all try this together by making the popping sound. Ready? PPPPPPP. Great job! I knew you could do it!”

2. “Now let’s try this tongue twister. I am first going to say the sentence then you can repeat it back to me. Ready?  Pretty Peggy plants pumpkins in a path. Do you think you can repeat that back to me? Excellent Job! Now we are really going to stretch out that /p/ sound when we read it this time.  PPPPretty PPPPeggy pppplants ppppumpkins in a ppppath. Awesome! Did everyone hear the /p/ sound? What words did we hear the /p/ sound in ?(pretty, peggy, plats, pumpkins, and path)"

3. “Now it is time for us to start practicing writing the letter p. Can you remind me what sound does the letter p make? And what does this letter sound like? That’s right! The letter p makes the sound of popping popcorn! We are now going to start writing an uppercase p. Everyone find the rooftop line and put your pencil on that line. Now, we are going to walk down to the side walk line and then pick up your pencil. Then were going to come back to the line we just made at the rooftop and make a curve around to the fence line. Wow! Look at those perfect p’s! Now we’re going to practice writing a lowercase p. Everyone find the fence line and walk down to the ditch and lift up your pencil. Now go back to the fence line and curve around to the sidewalk line. Now I want you to practice writing a row of lowercase p’s and a row of upper case p’s.”

4. I am going to read some words out loud, and I want you to tell me if you hear the /p/ sound in the beginning of the word, the middle, or the end.  For example, if the word was lamp the /p/ sound is at the end of the word.  (I will hold up cards with the words on them and have the students tell me where they hear the /p/ sound in the word).  Where do you hear /p/ in the word plant? Where do you hear /p/ in the word flop?  Where do you hear /p/ in the word proch?  Where do you hear /p/ in the word carpet?  This next word is tricky.  Let’s see if you can hear the /p/ sound in more than one place.  Where do you hear the /p/ in the word paper?

5. “Boys and girls you are doing a great job today! Now it is time for us to read a fun book! Our book today is called The Pigs Picnic. These three pigs are about to go on a picnic and need to find some food to take with them. We’re going to follow them around their house to see what they pack for their fun picnic!”

6.  “Did everyone enjoy that book? Me too! Now we are going to come up with some of our own p words. I want you to think of some words and hold on to them tight in your brain so when it’s your turn you can tell me a p word.”

Assessment: For the assessment I am going to ask students if they hear the /p/ sounds in two different words. I might ask them one of the following:

Do you hear the /p/ sound in:

pike or like? (pike)                          fan or pan? (pan)    cart or part? (part)

penny or Denny? (penny)                 pig or dig? (pig)      carpet or mat? (carpet)



Cunningham, P. (n.d.). Alphabet Tongue Twisters. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from ABC Tongue Twisters: http://lw015.k12.sd.us/abcyonguetwisters/abc_tongue_twisters.htm

Moore, H. H., & Sasaki, E. J. (2001). The Pig's Pinic. Scholastic, Inc.

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