Wiggly Worms

Emergent Literacy Design

Faith Karl





         Developing phoneme awareness is one of the first things children need to develop in order to learn to read. Without the ability to identify phonemes, they will be unable to separate sounds in words, leaving them unable to sound out new words as well as unable to spell them. In this lesson, students will learn about the phoneme /w/ which is represented by the letter w. A visual representation of the letter as well as a meaningful body movement will help them to see and remember this wiggly /w/. Students will apply this knowledge in phonetic cue reading when they work to distinguish rhyming words according to their initial sound.



 Picture of a worm in the shape of a W (Step 1)

 Chart page or PowerPoint slide with the tongue tickler, "Wiggly worms want waffles with walnuts." to be shown to the class. (Step 4)

 Primary paper and pencils- 1 each per child. (Step 5)

 Teacher pen to star work (Step 5)

 The Big Book I Went Walking by Sue Williams (Step 8)

 Big cards with the words WEEK, WIN, WET, and WAIT. (Step 9)

 Assessment worksheet with a section of pictures (some that start with W) and a section of partially-completed spellings with pictures (ex. a window might have ___ndow) (Step 10)





 1."Our written language is a secret code with many letters. The tricky part is learning what letters stand for—the mouth moves to help make the sounds that we say come out right. Today we are going to work on spotting mouth moves for /w/. The /w/ sound is spelled with a W and looks like a wiggly worm. [SHOW PICTURE OF A WORM IN THE SHAPE OF A W.] When you see a worm, you might say "Eww!" This word has the sound /w/ in it. Can you say this word slowly? Ewwwwwwww. Notice how your mouth moves to make the /w/ sound."

 2."Has anyone ever seen a worm before? Maybe in the backyard or in the grass? What did it look like as it moved?" Provide time for children to activate background knowledge. "Now, let’s pretend that we are wiggly worms. Move your body like a wiggly worm as we make the /w/ sound like in "ew." Notice the shape of your mouth as we do this and see that you are blowing air through your lips to say /w/."

3."Let me show you how to find /w/ in the word WASH. I’m going to stretch it out so that I can hear the sounds better. Wwww-aaaaaa-ssshhhh. Wwwwww-aaaaa-sssshhh. Oh, there it is! I felt my lips make a circle and blow out air!"

4."Now let’s say a tongue tickler. There are silly sentences that use the same sound over and over again so that we can practice it. [HAVE THE TONGUE TICKLER WRITTEN OUT ON A CHART OR SMARTBOARD.] I’m going to say it first: "Wiggly worms want waffles with walnuts." Let’s all say it together three times." After the third time: "Very good. We are going to say it one more time, but this time, let’s stretch out the wiggly /w/ and move our bodies like worms as we say them. Wwwiggly wwwworms wwwant wwwaffles wwwith wwwalnuts."



 1.[Have children get out primary paper and pencils.] "I’m going to show you how to write the W that makes the /w/ sound. Let’s start with a capital W." [DEMONSTRATE THE STROKES ON A CHART OR SMARTBOARD.] "First, you start at the rooftop, then slant down to the sidewalk, then back up to the rooftop, another slant to the sidewalk, then one more slant up to the rooftop. I want you all to try it yourselves while I walk around and star your work.  Once I’ve drawn a star on your paper, I want you to write nine more "w’s."

2.Ask questions so that the students can practice identifying the phoneme. "Do you hear the wiggly w in walk or run? Wish or get? Will or not? Whisper or talk? Whine or yell?"

3."Let’s see if you can spot our wiggly w mouth move in this sentence. If you hear it, I want you to wiggle like worms." Say slowly: "When Winnie wanted something, she went to the wishing well."

4."Let’s look at a book that has lots of "w’s. It’s about a little boy who went walking. On his walk, he saw a whole bunch of animals. Let’s read it to find out which animals he sees. While we are reading, I want you to listen carefully and practice your wiggly worm W mouth movement when you hear /w/."

5.[PULL OUT BIG CARDS.] "I’m going to show you how to decide if this says week or seek. W says /w/. So this word is www-ee-k. ww-ee-k. WEEK!" Now have the students try: PET or WET? WIN or DIN? BAIT or WAIT?



 [HAND OUT WORKSHEET] Students are to circle pictures of items that begin with W and fill in the partially-completed spellings.



 Cody Godwin


 Morgan Pierce


 I Went Walking, Sue Williams, Harcourt Brace, Jovanovich, 1989


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