My Beating Heart:

Learning the phoneme /b/

By: Beth Harrelson


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 (beating heart) 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.



Picture of the letter B

White board with markers and eraser

Primary paper



Computer paper

Chart with "Billy bought bunches of blue birds"

Book: "Benny's Box"

Word cards (ball, bat, blue, blush, boy)

Worksheet (url below)


1. Say: "Our written language is a secret code. The tricky part is learning what the letters stand for and how the mouth moves as we say these words. Today we are going to work on spotting the mouth movements in /b/. We spell /b/ with the letter B. B looks like a heart cut in half, and sounds like a heartbeat."

2."I want you to show me how your heartbeats. /b//b/(demonstrate with hands over heart and pantomime your heartbeat). Notice where your lips are. When we say /b/ you put your lips together and push air through them. Try it with me."

3. "Let me show you how to find /b/ in the word beat. I'm going to stretch beat out in super slow motion and listen for my heartbeat. Bbb-eee-aa-ttt. There it was. I felt my lips come together. I can feel my heart in the word beat."

4. "Let's try a tongue twister. 'Billy bought bunches of blue birds.' Everybody say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, emphasize the /b/ at the beginning of the words. 'Billy bought bunches of blue birds.' Try it again and we are going to break the /b/ off of the word. '/b/illy /b/ought /b/unches of /b/lue /b/irds.'"

5. "We use letter B to spell /b/. Capital B looks like a sideways heart. Using your primary paper, lets write the letter b. Start at the rooftop and draw a line all the way to the sidewalk. Bounce back up and around. Let me see everybody's b. After I put a smiley face on it, I want you to make ten more just like it."

6."Do you hear /b/ in big or pig. Tooth or brush? Bird or dog? Bed or couch? Beach or shore? Bath or shower?" Ask students how they know there is a /b/ in it. They should be able to explain their lip movements. "I want you to make a heartbeat when you hear a /b/ and put your hands in your lap when you don't hear a /b/ in a word. 'A, big, bird, can, eat, bunches, of, berries, before, he, bathes." While saying this sentence, go slow so that you can observe the students.

7.Say: "Let's look at the book "Benny's Box". The author tells us about different objects that Benny has in his box that start with B. What do you think he has in his box?" Read book aloud. Ask students to write down things that they would have in their box and have them use invented spelling and draw a picture of their box and item. Work will be displayed.

8. Show BOY and model how to decide if it is boy or toy: the B says that my heart is beating so this word is bbbb-oooyyy, boy. You try some: BALL: ball or tall? BAT: bat or sat? BLUE: blue or glue? BLUSH: blush or slush?

9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to complete the worksheet individually. Call on students to read the phonetic cue words from step 8.

a. Worksheet:


          Internet site: Amanda Ethridge, "Band the drum",

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