The SSSSSneaky Hissssing SSSSnake! I say with S

Beginning Lesson Design

By: Elizabeth Thomas


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


Materials: Primary paper and pencil; chart with "Starving Snake Searches for Supper!"; drawing paper and crayons; Eating the Alphabet (Lois Ehlert, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  1996); word cards with Snake, goes, Sam, hiss, sit, and tows; assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /s/.



1. Say: Our written language is a secret code. The tricky part is learning what letters stand for--the mouth moves we make as we say words. Today we're going to work on spotting the mouth move /s/. We spell /s/ with letter S. S looks like a snake laying on its belly, and /s/ sounds like snake hissing.

2. Let's pretend to hiss like a snake, /s/, /s/, /s/. Notice when you hiss your mouth is slightly closed and there is air coming out of your mouth. You can not hiss like a snake if your lips are closed. Also when you hiss like a snake your tongue comes close to your teeth and almost touching.  When we say /s/, we blow air between our top and bottom teeth.

3. Let me show you how to find /s/ in the word pass. I'm going to stretch left out in

super slow motion and listen for my hissing snake..Pp-a-a-ssss. Slower: Ppp-a-a-a-sssss

There it was! I can feel the air coming our between my teeth in the word pass!

4. Let's try a tongue twister [on chart]. "Starving Snakes Search for Supper." Everybody

say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /S/ at the

beginning of the words. "SSStarving SSSSnakes SSSearch for SSSSupper. Try it again, and

this time break it off the word:/s/tarving /s/nakes /s/earch for /s/upper.

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

Capital S looks like a big snake. The lowercase s looks like a baby snake. Let's write the lowercase letter s. start just below the fence and go up to the fence bring your line sideways to the right and swoop it down to the sidewalk. I want to see everybody's s. After I put a smile on it, I want you to make five more just like it.

6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /s/ in soap or

play? go or sew? suppose or tree? Come or stop? Bliss or window? Say: Let's see if you can spot

the mouth move /s/ in some words. Hiss like a snake if you hear /f/ in the words: Table, Plate,

Screw, book, win, whose, basket, stay, fly.

7. Say: "Let's look at an alphabet book. This book called Eating the Alphabet tells us about food that starts with the letter S. Can you guess some foods that start with the letter S?" "Are there any other foods that than the ones on this page you can name?" Children if they can think of other words with /s/. Ask them to make up a silly creature name like Sandy Stink Socks. Then have each student write their silly name with invented spelling and draw a picture of their silly creature. Display their work.

8. Show SIT and model how to decide if it is Sit or Pit: The S tells me to hiss like a snake so this word is ssssit. You try some: SOCK: Sock or lock? SOME: some or come? SAM: ham or Sam? SAND: land or sand? SIMPLE: simple or dimple?

9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to chose the correct word that matches the picture and has the s sound.  Call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from #8.


Assessment Worksheet:




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