The Angry Lion Says R

Emergent Literacy Design

Tori Hollifield



Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /r/, the phoneme represented by R.

Students will learn to recognize /r/ in spoken words by learning a memorable representation  (growling lion) and the letter symbol R, practice finding /r/ in words,

and apply phoneme awareness with /r/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing

rhyming words from beginning letters.


Materials: iPads; chart with "Ruth and Rachel ran after Richard's rabbit in the rain." ; Dr. Seuss's The Lorax (Random House, 1971); word cards with rat, run, real, rake; Rush, Cat, Dog, Red, Bed, Rent, Rob, Tan



1. Say: Today we are going to practice finding the phoneme /r/.We spell /r/ with letter R. R looks like clenched growling teeth and sounds like a lion growl.

2. Let's growl like a lion, /r/, /r/, /r/. How is your tongue moving when you say /r/? (it curls up to the roof of your mouth)

3. Let me show you how to find /r/ in the word car. I'm going to stretch car out in

super slow motion and listen for my growling lion. c-a-a-r. Slower: c-a-a-rrr

There it was! I felt my tongue curl up to the roof of my mouth. I can feel the growling /r/

in car.

4. Let's try a tongue twister [on chart]. "Ruth and Rachel ran after Richard's rabbit in the rain." Everybody say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /r/ at the

beginning of the words. "Rrruth and Rrrachel rrran after Rrrichard's rrrabbit in the rrrain." Try it again, and this time break it off the word: /r/ uth and /r/ achel /r/ an after /r/ ichard's /r/ abbit in the /r/ ain.

5. [Have students take out iPad]. We use letter R to spell /r/. Let's write the lowercase letter r. Start just below the rooftop. Start your line at the fence and draw a straight line down to the sidewalk. Then come back up and make a sideways little c halfway up that touches the fence. Continue to practice these until I see five correct ones in a row.

6. Ask students to recall or use critical thinking: Do you hear /r/ in work or

book? car or top? phone or trap? prick or pack? shirt or pants? Say: Let's test and see if we can feel the /r/ sound in these words, and if you do make your growl face. Five, really, rowdy, monkeys, ran, to, the, river.

7. Say: Today we are reading the book The Lorax. Let know know by making our growing face if you hear a word with /r/. When the book is over, we will draw our own imaginary animal and come up with an /r/ name for it. We will illustrate our new animals growling, making the /r/ sound that their name starts with.

8. Show Rat and model how to decide if it is rat or sat: The R tells me to growl like a lion, /r/, so this word is rrrr-at, rat. You try some: Run: run or sun? Real: real or seal? Rake: fake or rake?

9. For assessment, I will read words out loud, and students will write down the words they hear and /r/ in. Rush, Cat, Dog, Red, Bed, Rent, Rob, Tan


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