"WOO-WOO!" Wiggling With W

Emergent Literacy Design

Bess Findley



      This lesson will help children identify /w/, the phoneme represented by W. Students will learn to recognize /w/ in spoken words by learning a memorable and meaningful representation (wiggling like a wiggle worm).  Students will also learn to identify the letter symbol W. Applying phoneme awareness with /w/ in phonetic cue reading will help students learn how to determine the difference between rhyming words and beginning letters.



Primary paper and pencils for each student

Big chart paper with "William the worm wouldn't stop wiggling." written on it

Word cards with the words "WET", "WAKE", "WORN, "WAG", "DITCH" and "SAVE"

Image work sheet for each student (attached)

Big primary paper for display

Mr. Sketch markers

Dr. Seuss Alphabet book



Teacher will say: "The words we say make up our language, and the words we write are the secret code of that language. We have to work really hard to learn how each letter sounds! One secret trick to help us learn the way letters sound in our words is to see how we move our mouths when we say them. Today we are going to work on the letter W. We are going to spot out how our mouth moves as we say the letter sound /w/, and we will spell the letter sound /w/ with the letter symbol W. Look! The letter W looks like a wiggle worm right here." (point out worm image)  "Now listen when as I say the letter sound /w/. It sounds like what I would say if I got excited to wiggle: WOO-WOO!"

"Let's have some fun and wiggle like a wiggle worm, WOO-WOO WOO-WOO!" (have students stand and wiggle as they say "woo-woo, woo-woo!") "Can you tell me where your lips are when you wiggle and say "woo-woo, woo-woo"?" (lips are pursed together with a small round opening) "When we say /w/, we push our lips out and only leave a small circle opening, and we push out with our lungs to make sound."

"Let me show you how to find the /w/ sound in the word "wet". I'm going to stretch the word "wet" out in super slow motion and I want you to listen for my "woo-woo" wiggle noise. W-w-w-e-e-e-t. There it was! Did you hear it? I felt my lips push forward and air come from my lungs. I can hear myself say the /w/ in the word wet.

"Let's try a tongue twister!" (pull out big chart paper with "William the worm wouldn't stop wiggling" written on it, and read it out loud two times so students will become familiar with it) "I want everyone to say it with me three times, and wiggle your body each time you hear the /w/ sound." (read the sentence with the class and observe as they wiggle when they hear the /w/ sound) "Now lets say it again, but this time I want you to stretch the /w/ sound at the beginning of each word just like I did with the word "wet". Let's do it together! Wwwilliam the wwworm wwwouldn't stop wwwiggling. Great! Now we are going to say it one more time, but this time we are going to break the /w/ sound off the word. Let's do it together! /W/ illiam the /w/ orm /w/ ouldn't stop /w/ iggling. Awesome!

"Now that we know how to spot out the /w/ sound in our words when we talk, let's practice how to use the letter symbol W when we write our words. Captial W looks like this wiggle worm." (point out the worm image again) "Let's write the lowercase letter w together." (give each student a piece of primary paper and a pencil, and have a larger form of primary paper to display as you model what how to form the letter) "Start at the fence, and draw a slanted line down to the sidewalk. Now, draw another slanted line back up to the fence, and then another slanted line back down to the sidewalk. To finish the lowercase w, draw one more slanted line back up to the fence. After you have finished one little w, I want you to make nine more just like it. Don't forget, practice makes perfect!"

After you have collected the students' writing, have them join you on the carpet for some circle time. Call on students and ask, "Do you hear /w/ in wake or talk? winter or summer? wag or push? rake or whistle?" (have students explain how they knew which word had the /w/ sound) "Now I want to see if you can spot out the mouth move /w/ in some words. I want you to wiggle your arms when you hear /w/ as I say some words." (have students remain seated, and read out word: "today", "Wednesday", "buckle", "saw", "honeydew", "apple")

"Now we can look in our alphabet book, and see what Dr. Seuss has to say about W." (Read the "W" page from Dr. Seuss's Alphabet book, and ask students if they can think of other words that begin with /w/. Have them come up with a name for a "wiggle worm" that starts with a W, and have them draw a worm, title the drawing with the W name they come up with, and share with the class.

Show the word "WAG" and model how to decide if it is "wag" or "bag" by saying, "the W tells me to push my lips forward as I get excited to wiggle, /w/, so this word is www-ag, wag. I want you to try some! (WET: wet or met? DITCH: witch or ditch? WAKE: take or wake? SAVE: save or wave? WORN: torn or worn? WAG: bag or wag?)

For an assessment, give each student the worksheet and explain the instructions.  Students are to complete the work sheet by coloring the images that begin with W, and attempting to write the name of the image. While students are working independently, call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.




"M…m Good!" I say with M lesson design by: Geri Murray







Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book by: Dr. Seuss


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