Use Your Light Saber with L.


An Emergent Literacy Lesson

Beth Anne Autrey





Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /l/, the phoneme represented by L.

Students will learn to recognize /l/  in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (light saber) and the letter symbol L, practice finding /l/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /l/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.


Materials: Primary paper and pencil; written tongue tickler on paper "Lisa lost the lemon for the lizard Lenny loved"; whiteboard and expo marker; Dr. Seuss's Oh, the thinks you can think! (Random House, 1975); word cards with LONG, LIGHT, LEFT, MAKE, RIGHT, and LIKE; assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /l/ (URL below).



1. Say: Today we will learn about the letter “l”.  We are going to learn what it “l” looks like, what it sounds like, how to make our mouth say it, and how to write it on paper with a pencil. Let’s start by working on spotting the mouth move /l/. We spell /l/ with letter L. L looks like a light saber, and /l/ sounds like a light saber.


2. Let's pretend to use our light saber, /l/, /l/, /l/. [Pantomime moving your light saber] Notice what your tongue does? (Touching roof of mouth). When we say /l/, we put our tongue at the top of our mouth and use our voice to make out the sound “lll”.


3. Let me show you how to find /l/ in the word only. I'm going to stretch only out in super slow motion and listen for my light saber. o-n-lll-y. Slower: ooo-nnn-lll-y.


4. Let's try a tongue twister [on whiteboard]. “Lisa lost the lemon for the lizard Lenny loved.” Now, lets all say it together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /l/ at the beginning of the words. "Llllisa lllost the lllarge lllemon for the lllizard llleny llloved" Try it again, and this time, break the /l/ off of the word: "/l/ isa /l/ ost the /l/ arge /l/ emon for the /l/ izard /L/ enny /l/ oved.


5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use letter L to spell /l/.

Capital L looks like a lowercase l with a shoe on. Let's start by writing the lowercase letter l. Start just at the rooftop and take your pencil all the way down to the sidewalk. For capital L, you do the same thing but after you bring your pencil to the sidewalk, you want to make capital L go around the corner. You do this by bringing your pencil over the sidewalk like this. After showing how to make a capital L, ask the students to make nine more just like it.


6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /l/ in tall or short? Lion or tiger? Left or right? Camp or lamp? Say: Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /l/ in some words. Use your light saber if you hear /l/: desk, life, tall, fly, the, low, green, star, blue, car.


7. Say: "Let's look at our book. Dr. Seuss uses words with the letter l and also has many words that rhyme. Can you tell me when you hear /l/?"I will then read page 12, drawing out the /l/ in long. Ill then ask children if they can think of other words that have /l/. Ask them to think of a word and then think of a word that rhymes with it like Dr. Seuss did with long and zong. Then, have the students write their two words. Understand that their spellings may be invented spellings since these students are still pre or partial alphabetic. Display their work.


8. Show LOG and model how to decide if it is log or dog: The L tells me to use my light saber, /l/, so this word is lll-og, log. You try some: LET: let or pet? LEAN: lean or mean? LINE: line or pine? LOST: lost or cost? LAKE: lake or make?


9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet (URL below). Students are to complete the partial spellings and color the pictures that begin with L. Also, call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.


Seuss, Dr. Oh, The Thinks You Can Think! New York: Beginner, 1975. Print.

Dr. Murray’s Hand Gestures for Phonemes:

Dr. Murray’s How to teach Letter Recognition:

Lick Your Lollypop With L by Kelly Meyer:

Tongue Ticklers:


Assessment worksheet:


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