Bounce with the B ball

Emergent Literacy Design

Towns Carlson


Rationale: The purpose of this lesson is to help children in identifying /b/, and the phoneme represented by B. Through meaningful representations (bouncing a ball) and the letter symbol B, the students will learn to recognize /b/ in spoken words. We will also have application where students practice phonetic cue reading and practice writing the letter B.


Materials: White board, dry erase marker, primary paper, pencil, B in the balls worksheet, Busy B worksheet, flashcards with the word : BLOOM, BUSH, BEND, PUSH, BLINK, FOX.



1.      Sometimes letters in our alphabet look a lot alike. It can be hard to decide which sounds go with which letters. Today we are going to practice the /b/ sound. We spell the /b/ sound with a B. B looks like two round bouncing balls, and B makes the /b/ sound.

2.      Let’s pretend to bounce a ball, /b/, /b/, /b/,(Pantomime bouncing a ball) Notice how your mouth moves when make the /b/ sound. You tuck your lips under your teeth then push your lips out by blowing air. Use your voice to make a sound while you push your lips out. This will sound like the “b sound”

3.      Ok, now I am going to show you how to find /b/ in a word. Lets try to find the /b/ in rainbow. I am gong to find the /b/ by moving in slow motion. Listen. R-r-ai-nn-bbb-o-w. Even slower: R-rrr-aaii-nnn—bbbbb—oooo-wwwww. I can feel my lips making the /b/ when I say rainbow.

4.      Now that we understand /b/, lets try to use it in a tongue twister (written on board): Ben Bounced Big Basket Balls. Say it once silently to yourself, ok now I want you to say it all together three times through. Good job. Now let’s read it again and draw out the /b/ sound. Great job. Now let’s read this sentence one last time and separate the /b/ from the rest of the word. /b/en /b/ounced /b/ig /b/asket /b/alls.

5.      Please pull out your primary paper and a pencil. We are going to practice writing B. Now remember when you write a B go straight down to the sidewalk; around for his big chest, and around for his big tummy. Check to make sure your B looks like the one on the board, then write ten more just like it.

6.      I am going to ask students which word has /b/. For this exercise I will call on students. Ball or stall? Bunny or snake? Nose or beak? Bring or leave? White or blue? Destroy or build? Good job listening for the /b/ sound. Now I want you to try and look at my mouth and decide if I am making /b/ when I read a word. If the word has /b/ then I want you to pretend to bounce your ball. If the word does not have /b/ then you need to hold on tight to your imaginary ball. Bounce your ball if you hear /b/ :

a.       Brittany brushed her big bushy hair.

b.      The bee buzzed near the blooming flower.

c.       The bitty baby named Ben cried for his baby bottle.

d.      Beth bounced her ball backwards into the bushes.

7.      Now we are going to read a whole text. We are going to read Bud the Sub. Bud is a sub that is very small but he is very strong. When he has a friend in trouble do you think he can help? Lets read and find out!

8.      You have all done such a great job listening for the /b/ sound. Now I want you to show me with words that you know the /b/ sound. I am going to give you a worksheet with five bouncing balls on it. In each ball, I want you to write a word that starts with a B and draw a picture of it. For example, if I was doing this worksheet, I would write the word bush in the first ball and draw a picture of a big green bush inside the ball.

9.      Show the word BLOOM on the board. Model how I am going to decide if the word is BLOOM or DOOM.  The B tells me to bounce the ball, so this word is bbbbbbloom. Now I want you to try some: BRUSH: brush or lush? BEND: mend or bend? PUSH: bush or push? BLINK: wink or blink? FOX: fox or box?

10.  Using a worksheet from I will assess the students knowledge about /b/.  While students complete this assessment, I will individually call students up to read the phonetic cue words from the previous step.


Lesson plan adapted from: Byrne, B., & Fielding-Barnsley, R. (1990). Acquiring the alphabetic principle: A case for teaching recognition of phoneme identity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 805-812.

Whole Text: Bud the Sub. By Sheila Cushman. Educational Insights. 1990.

Assessment Worksheet:




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