Bouncing the Basketball with B


By Marianna Waits

Emergent Literacy Design

Rationale. This lesson will help children identify /b/, the phoneme represented by B. Students will learn to recognize /b/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (bounce the ball) and the letter symbol B in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.

Materials. Primary paper and pencil; chart with "Bill and Betty baked brown bread for Barbara's baby"; drawing paper and crayons; Bubble Bear  by Scholastic Press (February 2001); cards with BAD, BALL, BAG, TOY, BUN, and RAKE; worksheet to assess identification of pictures with /b/ (look below for URL).


1. Say: The language that we write is a secret code. The part that is tricky is learning what letters stand for—the mouth moves we make as we say words. Today  we are going to work on watching the mouth move /b/. We spell /b/ with letter B. B looks two balls on a stick, and /b/ sounds like the sound when we bounce a ball.

2. Now, let’s pretend to bounce the ball, /b/, /b/, /b/. [pretend to bounce a ball] Notice how your lips start out together, then they open and a puff of air comes out and you voice box is on.

3. Let me show you how to find /b/ in the word cub. I’m going to say it in slow motion and listen for the ball bouncing. Cc-u-u-ub. Slower: Cc-u-u-u-bb. Did you hear it? I heard the ball bounce.

4. Now let’s try a tongue twister [use the chart]. "Bill and Betty baked brown bread for Barbara's baby." Let’s all say it together two times. The third time we will stretch the /b/. "Bbbill and bbetty bbbaked bbbrown bbbread for Bbbarbara’s bbbabby." This last time break the /b/ off the word: "/b/ ill and /b/ etty /b/ aked /b/ rown /b/ read for /b/ arbara’s /b/ aby.

5. [Students should get their primary paper and pencil out]. We use the letter B to spell /b/. Capital B looks like two balls on a stick. Let’s write the lowercase letter b. Start at the roof top, go down, b-bbounce up and around. I want you to make a total of 10.


6. Call on the students to tell you how they know the answer: Do you hear /b/ in brake or maze? Rat or band? Bob or Rob? Sun or dab? Say: Let’s see if you can spot the mouth move /b/ in some words. Bounce the ball if you  hear /b/: The, big, buff, bear, chased, the, bold, tigers.

7. Say: "Let’s read a book about a Bear’s bubbles. Bear loves to blow bubbles. But when Badger tries to spoil Bear’s fun, he blows a bubble you won’t believe!" Have the children draw the bear blowing a bubble. And let them display their work.

8. Show BAD and model how to decide if it is bad or sad: The B tells me to bounce the ball, /b/ so this word is bbb-ad, bad. You try some: BALL: ball or mall? BAG: bag or rag? TOY: boy or toy? BUN: bun or run? RAKE: rake or bake? 

9. For assessment, give the worksheet to the students. Students are to draw a line from each of the butterflies to a picture that begins with the sound of the letter.

Reference to a source that can tell us more.

Book:  Bubble Bear:Letter B Scholastic Press, 2001, 16pp.

Internet site:  assessment  worksheet

Bruce Murray, Brush Your Teeth with F.

Return to the Projects Index