Emergent Literacy Design

Sally the Snake

By: Meg Griffin


Rationale: This lesson is designed to help students identify /s/, the phoneme represented by the letter s.  The students will learn to recognize /s/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (a hissing snake in the shape of the letter s).  They will also practice finding the phoneme /s/ in spoken words through the use of phoneme awareness in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters (rock, sock).


Materials: Primary paper and pencil; chart with "Sally the snake slithers in the sand"; word cards with the words rock, sock, hand, sand, sing, and ding printed on them, and "Swine Lake" book



<!  1. Say: You can think of the English language as kind of like a secret code.  The tricky part is learning what letters stand for- the way you move your mouth to make the sounds.  Today we will be working on the sound /s/ like in our tongue tickler "Sally the snake slithers in the sand".  We show the sound /s/ with the letter s.  The letter s looks like a snake, and /s/ sounds like a hissing snake. 

<!  2. Let's pretend we are Sally the snake.  Use your hand and arm to make a slithering motion.  /s/,/s/,/s/.  Notice what your mouth is doing when you make the /s/ sound.  (Your lips are slightly parted and your tongue touches the roof of your mouth behind your teeth).

<!  3. Now I am going to show you how to find the /s/ in the word case.  I am going to stretch case out so that you can listen for the /s/.  Listen very closely.  Ccc-aaa-sss-e.  Did you hear it?  Cccc-aaaa-ssssss-e.  There it was!  I heard the slithering snake in the word case.  What about the word bag?  Do you hear a /s/ in the word bag?  No.  But you do hear it in the word sag.

<!  4. Now let's try a tongue tickler with the letter s.  I have the sentence printed here on the chart.  I want you to follow along with me as I read the sentence.  "Sally the snake slithers in the sand".  Now say it with me.  Now say it three times together.  Now let's practice saying it, but let's stretch out the /s/ so that we really hear the slithering snake.  "Ssssallly the ssssnake sssslithers in the sssand."  Now let's break the words up so that the /s/ is separate from the rest of the word.  "/S/ally the /s/nake  /s/lithers in the  /s/and."

      5. Now I need you all to take out your primary paper and a pencil so that we can practice writing the letter s.  Remember that we use the letter s to spell /s/.  And remember that the letter s looks like a snake and sounds like a snake.  Now let's practice writing a lowercase s.  Start just below the fence.  Now curve up so that your pencil meets the fence.  Circle back around so that your pencil curves just between the fence and the sidewalk.  Curve it out and bring it back around so that the bottom of the s rests on the sidewalk.  I am going to come around the room and look at your s.  Once I check it off, I want you to practice making a whole row of s's on your paper.

<!  6. Call on students to answer the following questions: do you hear /s/ in sock or glove?  Sand or dirt?  Sun or moon?  Sleep or wake?  Now let's practice finding the /s/ sound in some words.  Slither like a snake if you hear /s/ in these words.  Sand, foot, floss, chicken, goose, gas, cub, sack.

<!  7. We are going to read a book called "Swine Lake".  This will give us practice reading the letter s.  Can you think of some words that have the letter s?

<   8.  Show SOCK and ask students to decide if the word is sock or rock.  The s tells me that it is a slithering snake, so this word is sss-ock, sock.  Now  you try some: SIX- six or mix?  SIGN- sign or line?  SIGHT- light or sight?  SAND- hand or sand?

I    9. I will assess the students based on their participation in the activity listed above.


Bell, Elizabeth. Slinky Scaly Snakes. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/persp/bellel.html

Sullivan, Sarah. Nice and Neat Micky Mouse.

Marshall, James. Swine Lake. Harper Collins. 1999

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