Dinosaurs Say Duh!

Emergent Literacy


Jessica Smith


Rationale:  Phonemes are very important to learn for proper reading instruction.  Students must learn letters and their related phonemes in order to become fluent readers.  Research has shown that letter recognition and phonemic awareness are the two strongest predictors of success in reading.  The goal of this lesson is for students to learn the phoneme d, and better recognize the sound at the beginning, middle, and ending of words.  They will also learn the motions used when writing the letter because many students have difficulty distinguishing between d and b when writing, so practice with writing d will help students make this distinction.


Materials:  A large picture of the letter d, poster with tongue twister and pictures depicting it, "David the dinosaur doesn't like doughnuts," picture cards with pictures of words: (dog, shirt, doctor, basket, desk, bed, deer, car, dinosaur, juice, dribble, fish, duck, horse), white board, dry erase markers, primary paper and pencils for each students, Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff, and a worksheet with pictures (dish, box, cow, dentist, dish, cup, lid, tree, dolphin, doll, hat, dime, dress, blanket).



1.  Introduce the lesson by explaining that students will be learning more about the letter d.  "Today, we are going to talk about this letter (hold up a picture         of the letter d).  Can anyone tell me what this letter is?  That's right.  It's a d.  D makes a d-d-d-d sound.  When you think of the letter d, I want you to
        think of someone saying "duh," because that's what the letter d sounds like.  Everyone say duh duh duh."

2.  Show the students the poster with the tongue twister and picture.  "Now I'm going to say a sentence that has a lot of words with the letter d.  I'm going to
        say it by myself first, and then I want you to repeat it.  David the dinosaur doesn't like doughnuts.  Ok, now you say it.  David the dinosaur doesn't like         doughnuts.  Now, what was that sound that I said the d sounds like?  /d/.  I'm going to stretch that sentence out so that I can feel the way my mouth             moves when I say each d.  Duh-avid the duh-inosaur duh-oesn't like duh-oughnuts.  This sounds silly, but try to say it with me.  Duh-avid the          
        duh-inosaur duh-oesn't like duh-oughnuts.  Good job everyone!"

3.  Next I'll use the picture cards and hold up two at a time, one with a picture that starts with the letter d with one that does not.  This will help students be
        able to hear the phoneme /d/ and distinguish between it and different phonemes.  "I'm going to hold up two pictures and I want you to tell me what                 each picture is and then which of the pictures starts with the letter d and has that /d/ sound."  Hold up two pictures (dog and shirt).  Students will say             the name of each picture.  Call on one student to pick the picture with the phoneme /d/.  Ask them how they knew which word to pick.  Continue with         all seven sets of pictures.

4.  Have the students take out primary paper and pencil, and model each step for writing the letter d.  "Let me show you how to spell the /d/ sound with the
        letter d.  Start with little c by starting just below the fence.  Go up to the fence and curve around until you get to the sidewalk.  Curve back up and you         have little c.  Then go up to the rooftop and make a line all the way down to the sidewalk to make the little d.  I'm going to come around and check             everybody's first d.  Then I want you to try six more times."

5.  "Sometimes, d comes in the middle or at the end of a word.  Let me show you how to find the d in the word middle.  I'm going to stretch the word out              very slowly and listen for the /d/.  mmm-iddle, mmm-iii-ddle, mmm-iii-ddddd-le.  There it is! I hear /d/ in middle!"

6.  Call on students to answer each and tell how they knew.  "Do you hear /d/ in taddle or pencil?  Fish or kid?  Dark or back?  Lid or chick?"

7.  Show the book Danny and the Dinosaur.  "Danny is a little boy who loves dinosaurs. One day he gets really lucky and finds one in a museum.  Danny
        rides his dinosaur out of the museum and into the street.  As you can imagine, this causes a lot of confusion when people see a read dinosaur.  We're             going to read to find out what kind of stuff Danny and his dinosaur do.  Now remember that /d/ sound?  I want you to say DUH every time you hear             that sound."  Read the book.

        8.  Distribute the worksheet with pictures and a few words.  Ask students to circle the      pictures whose names have words with d.  Use this to assess                                 students' progress.



Battles, Ellen. (2007). Diving Deep. Emergent Literacy. Auburn University Reading

Genie Website: retrieved: February 25, 2008.  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/encounters/battlesel.html

Hoff, Syd. Danny and the Dinosaur. USA, HarperCollins: 1958. 1-68.

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