Bellies Grow with B

Emergent Literacy

Aubrey Etheredge


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


Materials: Primary paper and pencil; chart with "Bob's belly became bigger"; drawing paper and crayons; Berlioz the Bear by Jan Brett (Puffin, 1996); word cards with BED, BARK, CAKE, BALL, FAT, and BUILD; assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /b/ (URL below)


Procedures: 1. Say: The words we read and write are like a hidden code. We have to be word detectives and learn what letters stand for. Letters tell us how to move our mouth when we say words. Today we're going to learn how to move our mouth and make the /b/ sound. We spell /b/ with letter B. B looks like a great big belly, and /b/ sounds like a button popping off our shirt when our belly gets too big.  


2. Let's pretend that we hear buttons popping off our shirt, /b/, /b/, /b/ [Pantomime sticking your stomach out and using your fingers to mimic a button popping off your shirt]. Can you tell where your lips are? They come together tightly then pop open, letting the air come out of our mouth, and we make the sound /b/.


3. Let me show you how to find /b/ in the word tabs. I'm going to stretch tabs out very slowly, and listen for that button popping off my shirt. T-a-a-bs. Slower: T-a-a-a-b-b-s. I heard it! I felt my lips come together then pop open, making the /b/ sound. I can hear the button popping off in tabs.


4. Let's try a tongue tickler [on chart]. "Bob's belly became bigger." Let's say it three times together. Now, say it again, and this time, stretch the /b/ at the beginning of the words: "Bbbob's bbbelly bbbecame bbbigger." One more time, and this time, break the /b/ sound off the word: "/b/ob's /b/elly /b/ecame /b/igger."


5. [Instruct students to take out primary paper and pencil]. We use the letter B to spell /b/. Capital B looks like a person with a big belly and a big chest. Let's write the lowercase b. Start at the rooftop, go down to the sidewalk, go back up toward the fence, and make a backwards little c back down to the sidewalk. I want to see everyone write b. After I put a check on it, make nine more just like it.


6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /b/ in net or ball? Bucket or pail? Trouble or angel? Snake or bat? Say: Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /b/ in some more words. Make your belly bigger if you hear /b/: The, boys, brought, balls, to, play, with, behind, the, building.


7. Say: "Let's look at a book. The author, Jan Brett, tells us about a bear named Berlioz, which starts with B." Read page 8, drawing out /b/. Tell students to stick their bellies out whenever they hear /b/. Ask them what other animals start with B. Then, students will draw a picture of another animal that starts with b, and write its name using invented spelling. Display students' finished work.


8. Show BUG and model how to decide if it is bug or rug. The B tells me to stick out my belly until a button pops of, /b/, so this word is bbb-ug, bug. You try some: BED: bed or Ted? BARK: park or bark? CAKE: cake or rake? BALL: wall or ball? FAT: bat or fat? BUILD: guild or build?


9. Assessment: Distribute the worksheet. Students are to draw a line from the butterflies to the items that begin with B. Call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step 8.




"Brush Your Teeth with F" by Bruce Murray


Assessment Worksheet

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