Crackling Pop Rocks with /k/

Emergent Literacy

Lauren Singer

Rationale: Beginning readers need many skills to succeed. This lesson will help children identify /k/, the phoneme represented by K, C, and CK. Students will learn to recognize /k/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (sound of crackling pop rockets in your mouth) and the letter symbols K, C, and CK, practice finding /k/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /k/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.




-chart with "Kendal’s duck kissed Carol’s kangaroo,"

-word cards with cake, key, kiss

-Alphabet Book- letter K



1. Say: Our written language is a secret code we can access. The tricky part is learning what the letters stand for and the mouth moves we make as we pronounce each word. We spell /k/ with the letter K like in the word kite. We can also spell /k/ with the letter C like in the word car. And finally, we can spell /k/ with the combined letters CK as in the word luck. No matter how you spell it, /k/ makes the sound like pop rocks crackling in your mouth.

2. Let’s listen to the crackling sound it makes when he or she puts these pop rocks in their mouth. Notice where your tongue hits the roof of your mouth- model tongue position. When you say /k/ our tongue moves to the back part of the roof of our mouth.

3. Let me show you how to find /k/ in the word car. I am going to stretch out car out in a slow motion and I want you to listen for the crackling sound. Kk-aaa-rr. Slower: Kkk-kkk--aa-a-r-r-r. There it is! I felt my tongue move to the back part of the roof of my mouth.

4. Let's try a tongue twister (on the chart). "Kendal’s duck kissed Carol’s kangaroo." Now, let's both say it together three times. Now say it again, and this time, I want you to stretch the /k/ at the beginning of each word. "Kkkendal’s duccckkk kkkised kkkaarools kkkangaroo ." Let's try it again, and this time I want you to try to break if off the word: "/k/endal’s du/ck/ /k/issed /c/arol’s /k/angaroo ."

5. [Have student take out lined primary paper and pencil.] We use letters K, C, CK to spell /k/. Let’s write the letter K. Start at the top of the line and draw a line straight down. Now go halfway up that line and draw a line diagonal up to the midway line. Go back to the middle spot and draw a diagonal line down to the end of the line. Good job! Now, I want you to make nine more just like it.

6. Call on student’s and ask how they knew: Do you hear /k/ in dog or car? Shut or close? Luck or mud? Drive or park? Say: Let’s see if you can spot the mouth move, /k/ in some words. Crackle the pop rockets in your mouth if you hear /k/: Dad, sheer, bark, gone, cat, after, duck, light.   

7. The teacher will say: "Let's take a look at an alphabet book that focuses on the letter K and its' sound /k/. The author, Mick Inkpen, tells us a story about an animal named Kipper. T. Can you guess what animal that might be?" Read the story, and then draw the letters that make the /k/ sound. Ask the students if they can think of some other words with /k/.

8. Show CAKE, and model how to decide if it is cake or bake: The C tells me to "crackle" like the pop rockets in your mouth, /k/, so this word is kkkk-ake, cake. Now you try some: Call: call or ball? KISSED: kissed or dissed? KEY: key or see?

9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet.URL located below. Students should complete tracing the letter K and finding all the letters K on the sheet, as well as coloring the big letter k.  Ask students’ individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.


References: Making Friends with Phonemes;

Murray, B. (2012). Making site words, teaching word recognition from phoneme awareness to fluency. (pp. 88-111). Ronkonkoma, NY: Linus Publications, Inc.


Return to the Epiphanies Index