Buzzy Bee says "Zzzzzzz"

Emergent Literacy Design

Abby Sykes




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 (Buzzy Bee) and the letter symbol (z). Students will also practice finding /z/ in words and apply phoneme awareness with /z/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters. The students will be able to understand the letter-sound correspondence of (z) while reading. The students will also be able to identify the position of /z/ in a word (initial, medial, final).


Materials: Primary paper and pencil; Buzzy Bee picture on a popsicle stick for each child; Enlarged Buzzy Bee picture; Primary chart paper with "Zippy Zebra zig-zags the zoo with Zack."; Dr. Seussdrawing paper; crayons and colored pencils; note cards with ZEN, HONK, ZONE, ZEST, BRING; Assessment worksheet (URL Below)



1.Say: As we have previously learned, our speech is made of sounds. Each letter in our alphabet has a specific sound that stands for the mouth moves we make when we say words. In order to become better readers we need to learn the "code" that tells us how to pronounce words. Today, we are going to figure out the mouth move /z/.  The letter that we use to spell /z/ is (z). (z) looks like a 7, with a line on the bottom, and sounds like a bee buzzing around the room, /z/. (Show Buzzy Bee picture)

2.Let's use our Buzzy Bee to fly while we say the sound, /z/, /z/, /z/. Pay close attention to what your mouth is doing when you say /z/. Notice where your teeth are? (Teeth are touching, and our tongue is pushing against our teeth.) When we say /z/, our teeth come together and you can feel the vibration in your throat.

3.Let me show you how I would find /z/ in buzz. I am going to stretch buzz out and say it very slowly while I listen for my Buzzing /z/. Bb-uu-zz. That was still hard to tell, let me try that again and this time I am going to say it even slower, Bbb-uuuuu-zzzzzzz. There it was, at the end of the word. I know this because I felt my teeth come together as the sound vibrated out of my teeth. I can feel the Buzzing /z/ in buzz.

4.Now, let's try a tongue twister, listen carefully so that we can say it together afterwards, "Zippy Zebra zig-zags the zoo with Zack." (Show alliteration chart) Let's say it together three times. Let's say it again, but this time very slowly paying attention to the /z/ and where it is located in the word, either the beginning, middle, or the end. "Zzziippyy Zzzeeebbrraa zzziiigg-zzzaaagggss tthhe zzzoo wwiitthh Zzzzaaaccckkk." (Pointing at the words on the chart, as they say them) This last time we say it, I want you to fly your Buzzy Bee when you hear /z/. Check each word for /z/, asking children where the sound is in the word and circle (z) marking where it is located.

5.[Have students take out primary paper and pencil] We use letter (z) to make /z/. (z) looks like a zig-zag. Let's write the letter (z). To make a capital (Z) we start at the rooftop and draw a 7, then draw a line from the bottom of the seven down the sidewalk until it is the same length as the line on the rooftop. To make a lowercase z, we do the same thing and start at the fence instead. (Model writing the letter) Now, I want you to write a lowercase z on your paper and raise your hand when you are done so I can see it. After I see your letter and put a smile on it I want you to write it 9 more times.

6.Call on students to answer and explain how they found /z/: Do you hear /z/ in zero or none? Zipper or button? Bee or buzz? Jazz or tap? Lazy or wild? Now, let's see if you can find our Buzzing /z/ in some words, fly your bee if you hear /z/: fizz, sip, zen, fog, gaze.

7.Say: "Let's look at an alphabet book. In this book, Dr. Seuss uses silly words to help us remember the letters and the sounds. Let's look at what he says about the

(Z)!" [Turn to page 56 and read aloud once. Then read aloud again stretching the words, and get the students to fly Buzzy Bee when they hear /z/.] What kind of silly words or names can you come up with that has our buzzing /z/? Now, I want you to write your word and draw a picture to go along with it; we will share our pictures with the class and then put them in a book to display in the writing center.

8.Show ZAP and model whether it is zap or lap: Whenever I see the letter (z) I know that the sound is /z/ and I should look for my tongue to touch my teeth and the sound to vibrate. So, I see the (z) and know that it says zzzzz-aaaa-pppp, zap. Now I want you to try some: ZEN-zen or den? HONK-honk or zonk? ZONE-phone or zone? ZEST-zest or test? BRING- bring or zing?

9.For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to draw a line connecting each zebra to a picture that has the /z/ sound. While students are working on the worksheet, call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.



-Reading Genie Website:

-Ellis, Edwin S. (2013). How Now Brown Cow: Phoneme Awareness Activities.

-Reading Rockets.

-Assessment Worksheet-


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