Emergent Literacy Design

Bees Buzz Buzz Buzz


By: Pamela Gaddis

Animated Bee on white background


  Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /z/, the phoneme represented by Z. Students will learn to recognize /z/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (bee) and the letter symbol Z, practice finding z in words and apply phoneme awareness with /z/, in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters. 


Materials: Primary paper and pencil. Chart with " Zip The ZigZag  Zipper with Zoom"; drawing paper and crayons; Janet Wong's first picture book, BUZZ (Harcourt, Inc.); word cards with ZEBRA, LAZY, ZOO, ZERO, ZIPPER, ZIGZAG and ZOOM; assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /z/.


Procedures: 1. Say: Our written language is a hidden code. The trick to learning what letters stand for is the movement of the mouth as it moves and we say words. Today we will work on spotting the mouth move /z/. We spell /z/ with letter Z. Z looks like a ZIGZAG and /z/ sounds like buzzing from a bee.


2. Lets pretend to buzz around like bees, /z/, /z/ Notice where your top teeth are? (Touching your bottom teeth). When we say /z/, we blow air out between our top and bottom teeth.


3. Let me show you how too find /z/ in the word zipped. Im going to stretch zipped out in very slow motion and listen for the buzz. Z-Z-i-pp-e-d. Slower: Z-Z-i-p-p-p-e-d. Thats it! I felt my teeth touching each other as I blew air out. I feel the /z/ in zipped.


4. Lets try a tongue twister (on chart). Zip The ZigZag Zipper with Zoom. Everyone repeating it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /z/ at the beginning of the words. Zzzip The zzzigzzzag zzzipper with zzzoom. Try this again and this time break it off the word:  /z/ ip /z/ ig /z/ ag /z/ ipper  /z/oom.


5. Students will take out primary paper and pencil. We use the letter Z to spell /z/. Capital

Z looks like a zigzag. Lets write the lowercase letter z. Start at the mountain top. Start across through the middle to the other side of the mountain and down in the valley. I want to see everybodys z. After I put a sticker on it, I want you to make nine more just like it.


6. Call on students to answer and tell how they know: Do you hear /z/ in sum or zebra? Cook or zoom? Zip or button? Ten or zero? Toys or zoo? Cup or fuzz? Zero or finger? Say: Lets see if you can spot the mouth movement /z/ in the same words. Buzz if you hear /z/: The zipper, zap, zip, zoom, to the green, zero.


7. Say: Lets look at the alphabet book. Janet Wong tells us about a funny insect whose sound ends with Z. Can you guess? Reading page 10 drawing out /z/. Asking children if they can think of other words with /z/. Ask them to make up a silly creature name like Zinnia-Zannia-Zan, or Zither-Zith-Zeth. Then have each student write their silly name with invented spelling and draw a picture of their silly creation. Displaying everybodys work.


8. Show Zap and model how to decide if it is zap or cap; The Z tell me to zip the zigzag zipper, /z/, so this word is z-z-z-oom, zoom. You try some: Zoo:  zoo or glue? Zero: hero or zero? Zipper: zipper or pen? Lazy: busy or lazy? Crazy: made or crazy?


9. For assessment, distribute the work sheet. Students will complete the partial spellings and color the pictures that begin with Z. Call each student individually to read the phonetic cue words from step 8.




Janet Wong's first picture book, BUZZ (Harcourt, Inc.)

Col, Jeananda. Enchanted Learning:  Z Words. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/alaphabet/matchwordsandpix/shorte/

Murray, B.A., and Lesnaik, T. (1999). The Letterbox Lesson: A hands on approach for teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher, p. 52

Yopp, H.K.&Yopp, R.H. (2000) Supporting Phonemic Awareness Development in the Classroom. The Reading Teacher, p. 54, 130-143.


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