Crab Claw “C”

Emergent Literacy Design by Sara Vaughan


Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /k/, the phoneme represented by C. Students will learn to recognize /k/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (clicking claw) and the letter symbol C, practice finding /k/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /k/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.



Primary paper and pencil

chart with “Carol carries carrots in a cart.”

drawing paper and crayons

Alphatales: Letter C

word cards with CUT, CLIP, CAKE, CARD, BAY

assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /k/ (URL below).



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 /k/.  We spell /k/ with letter C.  C looks like a crab’s claw, and /k/ sounds like a crab claw clicking together.


2. Let's pretend to pinch/open and shut our crab claw,  /k/, /k/, /k/. [Showing hand closing as /k/ sound is made.] Did you notice if your mouth is open or closed? (open lips). When we say /k/, we separate our teeth just a little a and use our breath to make a sound.


3. Let me show you how to find /k/ in the word corn.  I'm going to stretch corn out in super slow motion and listen for my crab claw click.. C-o-r-n. There it was! I can hear myself say /k/ in corn. Did you hear it? Let’s say corn together and pay attention to what our mouths do when we say corn. What did your mouth look like?


4. Let's try a tongue twister [on chart]. “ Carol carries carrots in a cart.” Everybody say it three times together and close your crab claw every time you hear /k/. 


5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use letter C to spell /k/. Capital C looks like an open circle.  Let's write the lowercase letter c. Start just below the fence, draw a curve up to the fence, then curve all the way around to the sidewalk, keep curving back up towards the fence line a little. Look at you, you have curvy letter c. Let’s practice more Cs on our paper.

6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /k/ in cauliflower or beans? Dog or cat?  Cow or pig? Dirty or Clean? 


7. Say: “Let's look at an alphabet book. This book is called Copycats. It is about these two cats named Clyde and Cleo that do lots of things together! What do you think they are doing on the front? What do you think that this book will be about?”  Ask students to click their crab claw every time they hear the /k/ sound.  Ask them to remember a C word in our book and draw about it, and write a sentence about their drawing.

8. Show COW and model how to decide if it is cow or how: The C tells me to pinch my claw and open our mouthes to make the /k/ sound, so this word is c-o-w, cow.  You try some: CUT: gut or cut? CLIP: slip or flip? CAKE: cake or take? CARD: hard or card? BAY: say or bay?


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


Assessment worksheet:


Reference: Geri Murray, “M...m Good!” I Say With M




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