Slithering into Sssss


Emergent Literacy

Beth Crenshaw


Rationale: This lesson will help students identify /s/, the phoneme represented by S. Students will be learning to recognize /s/ in spoken language by learning a representation of the letter (slithering snake spiral movement) and the symbol S. This lesson will provide practice finding /s/ in words and apply the phonemic awareness of /s/ in phonetic cue reading through distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.


Materials: Primary paper, pencil, tongue tickler on chart (Sally stroked Sue's snake Saturday), crayons, drawing paper, word cards (SOCK, GET, HAT, SLOP, RAKE, SIGHT), Dr. Suess ABC Book, worksheet (attached)



1. Say: "Our written language is a secret code. We have to learn what letters stand for, which can be tricky. The letters stand for the way our mouths move when we say a word. We will work on learning how our mouths move for different letters, and today we will work on spotting the mouth move for /s/. We spell /s/ with the letter S. S looks like a slithering snake moving through the yard, and /s/ sounds like a snake hissing at you.


2. Now, let's pretend we are all snakes, /s/, /s/, /s/. Did you notice where your tongue is? How does your mouth move when you say /s/?  When we say /s/, our teeth come together and our tongue hits our teeth at the front of our mouths.


3. Let me show you how to find /s/ in the word tusk. I am going to stretch tusk out in slow motion and listen for my hissing snake. Tt-uu-ss-kk. Slower still: Ttttt-uuu-sssssss-kkkk. There is /s/, I felt my teeth hit the front of my mouth when my teeth came together. I heard the hissing snake /s/ in tusk. I am going to test if cold has /s/ in it: c-o-l-d, no it does not. My tongue never hits my teeth when my mouth closes.


4. Now we are going to try saying a tongue tickler, notice this sentence on the chart. "Sally stroked Sue's snake Saturday." We are going to say it together three times. Now this time, we are going to slow it down and stretch our /s/ at the beginning of each word.  "Sssally sssstroked Ssssue'ssss ssssnake Ssssaturday." Try it again but this time separate the /s/ from each word: "/s/ally /s/troked /s/ue's /s/nake /s/aturday."


5. Get out a piece of paper and a pencil for this activity. We use letter S to spell /s/. Capital S looks like a large snake. Let's write the lowercase letter s. Start just below the fence, form a tiny c up in the air and then swing back to touch the sidewalk. I want to see everyone's slithering snake, crawling in between the sidewalk and fence. After I draw a smiley face on your paper, then you need to make nine more just like it.


6. I will now call on students to answer the following questions including an explanation: Do you hear /s/ in rock or sun? Win or sent? Tough or stay? Stuck or gill? Now let's see if you can spot the mouth move /s/ in some words. Slither like a snake if you hear /s/: The slimy, slippery lizard scurried across the sidewalk into the sunroom.


7. Now let's look in the alphabet book. Dr. Seuss tells us about a funny creature who actually has a name that starts with /s/. Can you guess it's name? Are there other words you can come up with that start with /s/. Now you get to become an illustrator and create your own creature like Dr. Seuss did. Your creature has to have a name that starts with /s/. After you are finished creating a name and drawing, we'll display them in the classroom.


8. Now we will use these index cards to decide if the word is this or that. For example, GET, if it get or set: the S tells me to slither like a snake. Now it's your turn: SOCK: is it sock or lock? HAT: is it hat or sat? SLOP: it is plop or slop? RAKE: is it rake or sake? SIGHT: is it sight or flight? (this is an individual, one-on-one activity for the teacher to implement as students complete step 9).


9. Assessment: Distribute the attached worksheet. Students are to complete the spellings and then color in the pictures that start with S.



Lesson idea: Kerry Adkins: Popping Popcorn with P:

Worksheet:, Consonants: 'S'


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