Buhh-mm Buhh-mm, Beat that Drum with B!

Emergent Literacy Design


 Kaitlyn Kimberley


Rationale: This lesson is designed to help children identify /b/, the phoneme represented by the letter B. The students will learn to recognize /b/ in spoken words by relating a meaningful representation (beating a drum) with the letter symbol B, practicing finding /b/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /b/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing words from beginning letters.

Materials: Primary paper and pencil, a poster with the tongue tickler " Bob and Betty bake brownies in blue boxes!" construction paper and crayons/markers, music to "Old MacDonald had a Farm (Yopp, 1992)", Astonishing Animal ABC by Charles Fuge (Scholastic Inc., 2011); cards BOY, PEACH, BAT, FROG, BAKE, BIG, PACK, BOX, and BALL; assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /b/,


1. SAY: Our written language is a super secret code that I'm going to teach you! The tricky part is learning what the letters stand for- movements your mouth makes when you read a word out loud.  So we are going to be detectives today and try and discover the mouth move /b/. We spell /b/ with the letter B. /b/ sounds like beating a drum. "Buhh-mm Buhh-mm!"


2. SAY: Let's pretend we have a drum in front of us, now lets beat our drum, /b/, /b/, /b/. [Pantomime beating a drum] Now get your mouth ready to say the word BEAT. Can you feel what your lips are doing? They are stuck together. When we say /b/, we blow a puff of air out our mouth, which separates our lips and makes them pucker out!


3. SAY: Let me show you how to find /b/ in the word lab. I'm going to stretch lab out in a super slow motion and listen for my beating drum. "Buhh-mm Buhh-mm". Lll-a-a-abb. Lets do it a little bit slower: Llll-a-a-a-bbb! There it was! I felt my lips separate pucker out and blow out a puff of air. I can feel /b/ in lab.

SAY: Let's try a silly sentence called a tongue twister [hold up poster]. "Betty bake brownies in blue boxes!" Everybody say it together with me 3 times. Now lets say it again but this time, I want you to stretch out the /b/ at the beginning of the words. "Bbbetty bbbakes bbblue bbbrownie bbbars." Lets try it one more time but this time I want you too break /b/ off the word: "/b/etty /b/akes /b/lue /b/rownies /b/ars."


4. SAY: Great job! Now I want everyone to go back to their seats and we are going to practice writing our new letter that goes along with /b/. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use the letter B to spell /b/. Let's write the uppercase B. Start at the rooftop and go straight down to the sidewalk; around for his big chest, and around for his big tummy. Let's write the lowercase letter b. Start at the roof, go down and touch the sidewalk, b-bbounce up and around.  It is very important that the line and the circle are connected! I am going to walk around and I want to see everyone's uppercase B and lowercase b. After I come around and put a star on your paper, I want you to make 5 more of the uppercase B and 5 more of the lowercase b just like the first ones!

Gathering everyone back to the circle time rug. Call on each student to answer the following questions and make sure they tell you how they know! SAY: "I will say some words. Listen to the beginning sound of each word. Tell me which two words begin with the same sound. Let me show you. Listen to these words: beep, book, jump. Two of the words begin with the same sound; beep begins with the same sound as book   /b/.  Now let us say the words together. Two of the words begin with the same sound. Can you tell me which two begin with the same sound? Listen: ball, frog, big. Which two begin with the same sound? What about in blew, bug, cake? Can you tell me the two words that begin with the same sound? How did you know that? SAY: Now I want y'all to use your detective skills and see if you can spot the mouth move /b/ in some words. Beat the drum if you hear /b/: Barney the big, fluffy, baby bear, bounced up and down on the blue box of bottles."


5. SAY: " Let's look at an alphabet book called Astonishing Animals ABC. This book tells up about a silly animal whose name starts with the letter B. Can we put our detective hats on and guess what animal it is that starts with the letter B?" [Read pg. 4 and draw out /b/.] Say: What are some other words with /b/ that we can use to describe the silly bouncing bear in this book?" Now I want you to pretend that you have a silly pet animal like Billy the bouncing bear. Now I want you to go back to your desks and create a funny name for your pet that starts with /b/. Ex. Bax the banging Bat [Encourage invented spelling]. Once you create your pets name, I want you to draw a colorful picture of your fun and silly pet! In this step you are going sing a song that teaches sound isolation to the tune of Old MacDonald Had a Farm (Yopp, 1992). SAY: Students, we are going to sing a song together and I want you to tell me what sounds you hear at the beginning of the words! Just follow my lead and you will get the hang of it! Make sure to listen closely and beat your drum when you hear /b/! (start the music)

SING: What's the sound that starts with these words? Ball and Boy and


(wait for a response from the children /b/)

/b/ is the sound that starts these words: Ball and Boy and Beat

With a /b/, /b/, here and a /b/, /b/, there,

Here a /b/, there a /b/, everywhere a /b/, /b/.

/b/ is the sound that starts these words: Ball and Boy and Beat


6. SAY: So did you hear our beating drum /b/ in that song? Who remembers the 3 words that began with /b/ in our song?

After discussing the song, hold up the card BOY SAY: " Now I want you to put your detective hats on and watch closely how I decide if this word is BOY or TOY by using my beating drum /b/. The B tells me to beat my drum, /b/, so this word has to be bbb-oy, boy! Now I want you to try! PEACH: peach or beach? BAT: bat or sat? BAKE: bake or make? PACK: back or pack? BALL: tall or ball?

For assessment, hand out the worksheet and review! SAY: " Students, what sound did we learn today. /b/! The letter B represents the sound/b/, our beating drum, Buhhmm Buhhmm!" Give specific instructions on how students will complete the "Sound of Letter B" activity worksheet by coloring the pictures that begin with the letter B. While they are completing their worksheet, call the students up one by one to individually read the phonetic cue words from step #9.



Murray, Bruce. " Emergent Literacy Design: Brush Your Teeth with F ".

Owen, Lauren. -"Banging the Bongos with Baby Beluga". http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invitations/vanhooserel.htm

Stock Photo- Mascot Illustration of a " Happy Drum Beating Itself"


"The Sound of Letter B"- worksheet



"Words That Begin with the Letter Buhh Buhh B"- activity sheet


Yopp, 1992. "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" - music


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