Sally The Hissing Snake

Emergent Literacy Design

By: Lauren Sprouse



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 (sound of a hissing snake) and the letter symbol s, s looks like a snake. 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 “Sally slithered sneakily down the scalding sidewalk”; drawing paper and crayons; Verdi by Janell Cannon; Silly Sally’s Strawberry Soup (Youtube Video, URL Below) word cards with SIT, SANG, PAT, SWIM, TELL ; assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /s/ (URL below)


Procedures: 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 sounds like a snake hissing through the grass.


2. Let's pretend to be snakes hissing across the grass, /s/, /s/, /s/. [Pantomime snake hissing] Notice where your top teeth are? (stacked together). When we say /s/, we blow air between between our teeth stacked together.


3. Let me show you how to find /s/ in the word twist. I'm going to stretch left out in super slow motion and listen for my hissing. Tww-I-I-I-st. Slower: Tww-I-I-I-s-s-t-t. There it was! I felt my teeth touch together and blow air. I can feel the hiss like a snake would make. Awesome!


4. Let's try a tongue twister [on chart]. “Sally slithered sneakily down the scalding sidewalk” Everybody say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /s/ at the beginning of the words. “Ssssally ssssslithered sssssneakily down the sssscalding sssssidewalk.” Try it again, and this time break it off the word: “/s/ ally /s/ lithered /s/ neakily down the /s/ calding /s/ idewalk. Great Job!!


5. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /s/ in store or chore? List or note? Swim or flim? Play or say? Bling or sing? Say: Let's see if you can spot the teeth move /s/ in some words. Hiss like a snake if you hear /s/: that, sat, slide, car, fat, stew, switch, the, saw, bat. Good!!



6. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use letter S to spell /s/. Capital S looks like a snake. Let's write the lowercase letter s. A lowercase s looks exactly like an uppercase S. You curve from the rooftop to the left, bring it on down past the fence and curve it back up at the sidewalk. I want to see everybody's s. After I put a sticker on your paper, I want you to make 10 more just like it. Great!!



7. Say: “Let's read the book Verdi. This book is about a snake who loves soaring through the sky. I want you to make your hands like a snake and hiss everytime you hear /s/”. Booktalk: Verdi likes to soar through the sky, one day Verdi doesn’t feel like flying and we will have to read to find out what happens! When children have done this a couple of times, have them draw a picture of what they imagine Verdi looking like soaring through the sky. Then, we are going to watch a YouTube video called “Silly Sally’s Strawberry Soup” to learn more about /s/.


8. Show SIT and model how to decide if it is sit or hit: The S tells me to hiss like a snake, /s/, so this word is sss-it, sit. You try some: SAT: sat or hat? SEAT: meat or seat SAND: sand or hand? SORE: sore or pore? SAKE: sake or fake?


9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to complete the partial spellings and color the pictures that begin with S. Call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.





YouTube video:


Others: (Sneaky Snake) Beth Kelley (Slithering Snakes Say Sssss) Nicole Lawyer


Book: Verdi by: Cannon, Janell Publication Date: April 1,1997

Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books


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