Let's go Slither with Sammy the Snake


Emergent Literacy Design

Claire Simpson




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



-primary paper


-dry erase marker

-index cards with the words [SIT, SONG, SICK, SAG, SPICE, SOCK]

-book The Snake that Sneezed by Robert Laydenfrost

-assessment worksheet (see link under References)



1. Say: Our written language can be tricky. We have to learn what letters stand for the mouth moves we make as we say words. Today we are going to learn all about the letter S. Can anyone tell me what sound the letter S makes? That's right! It says sssssss. It sounds like a snake hissing, doesn't it?


 2. Let's pretend our hand is a snake (wiggle hand back and forth), sssssss.Im going to say a silly phrase and I want you to repeat it after me: Sammy the snake slithers across the sand. Good job! Now, I want you to repeat it after me, but this time we are going to ssstretch out the /s/ sound. Dont forget to slither your hand when you say the /s/ sound! Sssammy the sssnake ssslithersss acrossss the sssand.Great job!


3. Did you feel how your mouth moved as you were stretching out the phrase? Your top and bottom teeth touch while your tongue lays flat and you blow air out. Everyone make the /s/ sound again. Did you feel the movements in your mouth?


4. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use the letter S to spell /s/. [Draw uppercase S on board]. A capital S looks like a big snake! Practice writing a capital S on your paper: First, form a c up in the air between the rooftop and the fence, then swing back and curve it around all the way back down to the sidewalk. Now, lets write the lowercase letter s. [Draw lowercase s on the board]. A lowercase s looks like a baby snake! Practice writing a lowercase s on your paper: Start at the fence and form a tiny c, and then swing back around and come back down to the sidewalk. I want to see everyones ss.  Im going to come around and take a look, ok?


5. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /s/ in sink or float? Couch or sofa? Pass or run?  Baseball or football?  Flower or rose? Say: Lets see if you can spot the mouth move /s/ in some words. Slither your hand if you hear /s/: The, small, slimy, bug, sat, with, a, silly, smelly, snail. Good job!


6. Show SIT and model how to decide if it is sit or hit: The S tells me to slither my hand, ssssss, so this word is sss-it, sit. You try some now: SONG: song or long? SICK: pick or sick? SAG: bag or sag? SPICE: spice or nice? SOCK: lock or sock?


7. Say: Now lets read a book. It is called The Snake that Sneezed. This silly book is about a snake named Harold and how he gained fame and fortune. I will read it aloud to you, and every time you hear the /s/ sound, I want you to slither your hand, ok?


8. Students return to their desks. For assessment, distribute worksheet. Children are to practice tracing upper and lowercase s, and then write an s in the blank under the pictures that begin with s.



-assessment worksheet: http://bogglesworldesl.com/phonics/initial_sound_Ss.doc

-book: Laydenfrost, Robert. The Snake that Sneezed. New York: Putnam, 1970.

-websites:  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/phon.html                                                                                              http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/projects/jonesel.html


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