The Heart Beats B’s


By: Lindsey Taylor

Emergent Literacy


Rationale: In order for children to read and spell, they must learn that letters stand for phonemes.  The ability to identify the phonemes (or vocal gestures) in spoken words is one way to define phonemic awareness. A child’s phonemic awareness upon entering school may be one of the most important factors in the success or failure in learning to read; so it is extremely important for children to learn how to make the letter/sound connection. This lesson will help children identify the phoneme /b/, which is represented by the letter b.  They will be able to recognize /b/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol. Practicing finding /b/ in words will also help the students to recognize this sound in spoken words.



-Primary paper


-Items starting with the letter “B”-(5)block, ball, book, basket, blanket

-Items starting with the letter “D”(2)-doll, daisy

-Items starting with the letter “P” (3)-powder, picture, pear


-Drawing paper

-Chart with “A big brown bear blew bubbles by the bay”

-The Three Bears by B. Barton

-Dry erase board



-Say: Our written language is a secret code. Sometimes the hard part is learning what the letters stand for- our mouth moves a certain way whenever we say words.  Today we are going to work on spotting the mouth move /b/. At first it will be difficult to spot /b/ in different words but the more we practice, the easier it will be to find it.

-Ask students: Have you ever heard a heart beat say /b/ /b/ . . . /b/ /b/?  That’s the mouth move we’re going to look for in words. Let’s pretend that we’re a big heart that’s beating very loud and say /b/. (Pat your heart when you make the sound). When doctors listen to our hearts through a stethoscope, this is the sound they will hear. Make your heart beat slowly: /b/ . . .  /b/.  . . . /b/  . . . /b/. Now make your heart beat fast: /b/ /b/... /b/ /b/.

-Say: Let’s try a tongue twister together (on chart). “A big brown bear blew bubbles by the bay.” Let’s say it three times together.  Now say it again, but this time let’s stretch out the /b/ at the beginning of the words and make it beat or say /b/ a few times before we finish the words. I’ll say it first and then you join in with me the second time. “A bbbbbig bbbbrown bbbbbear bbbbblew bbbbbbbbubbles bbbbbbby the bbbbbbbay.” Now let’s do it again and this time try to break it off the word: “A /b/ ig /b/ rown /b/ ear /b/ lew /b/ubbles /b/ y the /b/ ay”.

-Have the students take the primary paper and pencil out. Say: We can use the letter b to spell /b/. Here it is written in highlighter for you.  Trace the letters at the top of the page and then you try writing it by yourself nine more times.  If you need to look back at the highlighted letters to know how to write it, you can. When you see the letter b in a word, that’s your signal to say /b/.

-Say: Let me show you how to find /b/ in the word web.  I’m going to stretch web out very slow and long and I want you to listen for the heart beat. Wwwww-eeeeeeee-bbbbbbbb. Did you hear the heartbeat? Did it come at the beginning, middle, or end of the word? Good job!

-Call on students to answer as you show them the object: Do you hear /b/ in block or doll? Ball or pear? Book or picture? Basket or daisy? Blanket or powder? Now let’s see if you can spot the mouth move /b/ in some words. Make your heart beat and pat your heart if you hear /b/.  A, big, brown, bear, blew, bubbles, by, the, bay, her, name, was, Barbie, and, she, blew, all, day.

-Now read and give a book talk for The Three Bears by B.Barton.  Say “Once upon a time there were three bears that lived deep in a forest named-Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear.  One day the mother bear fixes some porridge for her family.  The porridge is super hot! So they decide to take a little stroll through the forest to let the porridge cool.  While they are gone, a curious and adventurous little girl wanders into their home! What do you think is going to happen when the three bears come back? Well we will have to read and find out.” Have the students pat their hearts every time they hear words with /b/. List the words on a dry erase board.

-Have the students take out their crayons and drawing paper and draw a scene from the story incorporating one of the words listed on the board. It must have /b/ in the word. Also have them write a little message about it using invented spelling. Display their work.

-For assessment, lay out the objects beginning with b, d and p and help the students name each object.  Have them pick up the objects whose names have /b/ in it and put them in a separate pile from all the other objects.







Adams, Marilyn., Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print, Illinois, Center for the Study of Reading, (1990).


Barton, B., The Three Bears, New York: Harper Collins,(1991).





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