Riley the Growling Dog

Emergent Literacy

By Adrian Snider


Rationale: This lesson will help in teaching students identify /r/, which is the phoneme for R. Students will learn how to identify /r/ in spoken words. A meaningful representation of a dog with it's teeth showing will be presented to the students to help them remember the phoneme /r/. Students will practice finding /r/ in words, and also use phoneme awareness to make a distinction of the /r/ phoneme in rhyming words.


Materials: Primary paper, pencils, chart with "Roger Rabbit ran around the tree", Marley and the Runaway Pumpkin, word cards with RED, RAN, HOSE, RIP, ROW, HEAD, assessment worksheets, picture with /r/.



1. Say: Every time you say the sound of a certain letter, your mouth moves in a specific way. Today we are going to learn how your mouth moves when you say the sound for the letter R. /r/ sounds like the growling noise that a dog makes when it is angry. We are also going to learn what the letter R looks like and how to write it.


2. The letter R looks like this (hold up letter card), like a D with sticks holding it up. Now lets all make the sound of a growling dog, and while doing this hold up your hands and clinch them so that you look like an angry dog.  Notice when you make the /r/ your tongue curls to the roof of your mouth and your voice box is on.


3.  Now I am going to show you how to find /r/ in the word green. I am going to say the word green very slowly and I want you all to listen and tell me if you hear the growling dog sound. Gggg-rrrrrr-eeeeeee-nnnn. Ggg-r-r-r-r-eee-n. Did you hear it? I felt my tongue curl go to the roof of my mouth. I can hear the angry growling dog in green.


4. Now we are going to try the tongue twister on the chart. "Roger Rabbit ran around the tree." Lets all say it three times together. Now lets say it again and stretch out the /r/ in every word. "RRRRoger RRRRabbit RRRan aRRRound the tRRRee. Now this time lets say the /r/ sound separate from the rest of the word. "/r/ oger  /r/ abbit  /r/ an a/r/ound the t/r/ee.


5. Now lets take a sheet of primary paper and a pencil. Capital R looks like a D with sticks holding it up. We are going to practice writing lowercase r. First start at the fence and go down straight down to the sidewalk. Then re-trace your line going from the sidewalk back up to the fence. Next, you will make a sideways 'c' shaped hook. I am going to come around to check your 'r', and after I check yours make 9 more just like your first 'r'.


6. Ask students: Do you hear /r/ in blue or red? Rose or Lilly? Run or walk? Green or yellow? Road or Lane?  Now lets see if you can spot the mouth move to make the /r/ sound in words. Whenever you hear /r/ hold your hands up like an angry growling dog: Ruth, and, Rachel, ran, after, Richard's, rabbit, in, the, rain.


7. Now I am going to read you the book Marley and the Runaway Pumpkin. Every time you hear /r/ I want you to make the growling motion with your hands like we have practiced.

            Book talk: In this book, a family is growing a big pumpkin to bring to the fair. They are trying to win a prize for the biggest pumpkin. While the family is loading the pumpkin on to the truck and getting ready to take the pumpkin to the fair, Marley breaks free from his leash and tries to help. The pumpkin goes rolling out of the truck. You will have to read the rest of the story to see if the family is able to save the pumpkin!

Write some of the /r/ words the students hear on the board.


8. Show the students RED and model how to decide if the word is red or led. The R lets me know it is like the growling dog /r/. So the word is rrr-ed, red. Now you try some, tell me which you hear /r/ in: RAN: Ran or Fan? HOSE: Hose or Rose? RIP: Rip or Sip? ROW: Row or Flow? HEAD: Read or Head?


9. For assessment: Have students complete a worksheet. On the worksheet they will write the letter 'R' (upper and lowercase )and /r/ words. Then they will color pictures that begin with the letter 'r'. Call the students over to individually read the words from step 8.


10. Resources:


Murray, Geralyn: "Brush Your Teeth with F"


Smith, Blair: "The Race to Catch R!"



Hill, Susan, John Grogan, and Lydia Halverson. Marley and the Runaway Pumpkin. New York: Harper, 2010. Print.




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