“Sneaky Snake Says Sssss”


Emergent Literacy



Katlin Higgins


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 by moving their hands in the shape of an “S” while making the sound a snake makes with their tongue (Ssssss) and the letter symbol S by using a picture of a snake making an “S” (above), 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, pencil, poster stating “Sneaky snake saw seven sticky suckers.”, crayons, drawing paper, word cards with words- SACK, HAND, SONG, SING, DAY, PAST, LICK, SISTER, SUNDAY; Six Sleepy Sheep by J. Gordon, and assessment worksheet identifying picture with /s/.


1. Say: Our written language is a secret code. Just like when you tell your friend a secret, each letter has its own secret. The hard part is learning what each letter or word's secret is--or how your mouth moves certain ways when you say the letters and words. Today we're going to work on spotting the movement you mouth makes when you say /s/.  We spell /s/ with letter S.  S looks like a snake, and /s/ sounds like the noise a snake makes with its tongue.


 2. Let's pretend to be a snake,  /s/, /s/, /s/. [Draw an imaginary sneaky snake /s/ in the air with your hand while making the /s/ sound] Notice where the roof of your mouth is? [ Show students that teeth are touching, tongue slightly touching the front teeth, blowing air out of teeth] When we say the “Sneak Snake /s/”, we put our front teeth together and our tongue barely touches our front teeth as we blow air out of the front teeth.


3. Let me show you how to find /s/ in the word snake.  I'm going to stretch snake out in super, sluggish, slow motion and listen for my snake tongue sound.  Sss-n-a-k.  Slower: Sssss-n-n-n-aaa-k

Did your teeth touch in the front? Mine did!  I felt my front teeth come together and my tongue lightly touch my teeth when I blow air. I can hear the snake's tongue /s/ in snake!


4. Let's try a tongue twister [on chart]. "Sneaky snake saw seven sticky suckers." Everybody say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /s/ at the beginning of the words. "sssneaky sssnake sssaw ssseven sssticky sssuckers." Try it again, and this time break it off the word: /s/neaky /s/nake /s/aw /s/even /s/ticky /s/uckers.


5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use letter S to spell /s/.

Capital S looks like a curled up snake.  Let's write the capital letter S. Start at the rooftop and make a little c shape to the fence. This will look like a half circle or a tummy sticking out . Then start at the fence and make a backwards c like a tummy sticking out the other way to the sidewalk. Finally, connect them together in one motion. It looks like a curled up snake. I want you to make nine more just like this. To make a lowercase s, we start at the fence, make the same c shape to the middle of the fence and sidewalk, and then make the backwards c shape starting at the middle connecting to the top c and end at the sidewalk. The lowercase s also looks like a curled up snake starting at fence instead of the rooftop like the capital S.


6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /s/ in sun or moon? Stop or go? Seven or eight? Went or goes? Saturday or Friday? Thirsty or hungry? Say: Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /s/ in some words. Make a slithering snake with your hand if you hear /s/: Sam sat on the steps to see the space station soar high in the sky.


7. Say: Six Sleepy Sheep by J. Gordon "Let's look at a book about sheep. These six sheep try to fall asleep by doing lots of things that start with /s/ like slurping soup, telling stories, singing, and so on. Can you imagine the types of things that they will think of that start with the letter S to help them fall asleep?

Have students draw and color a picture of a magic sleeping potion that they would give to the sheep to help them fall asleep that begins with the letter “s”. It can be as silly as they want it to be. For example, you could draw a slimy slug, a silly story, or a strawberry soda. Each student should write their magic sleeping potion on the picture using invented spelling. Display their work.


8. Show SAT and model how to decide if it is sat or pat: The s tells me to make the snake's tongue sound, /s/, so this word is sss-at, sat.  You try some:? SACK: sack or pack?, HAND: sand or hand?, SONG: song or long, SING: sing or wing? DAY: say or day? PAST: part or past? LICK: sick or lick? SISTER: mister or sister? SUNDAY: Monday or Sunday?


9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet.  Students are to complete worksheet by drawing a line to help the sailboat find the items that begin with the S sound and then color those objects that begin with S. Call students individually to read the phonetic cue cards from step 8.

Reference: Gordon, J. Six Sleepy Sheep. New York: Puffin Books. 1991.

Assessment worksheet: http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/s-begins1.htm

http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/awakenings/adamshel.htm Slithering Snakes Say S by Hayes Adams

Similar lesson design: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/adventures/mckinneyel.htm

Microsoft clipart for picture of snake


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