Vicky's Very Violet Vacuum

Emergent Literacy

Leigh Wagner

animated gifs of housework- vacuum cleaner

 Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /v/, the phoneme represented by V. Students will learn to hear and recognize /v/ in spoken language by learning to associate the sound with a meaningful representation, the sound of a vacuum (vvvvvvacuum). Students will also learn the letter symbol V and how to shape the mouth in order to make the correct sound. Students will practice finding /v/ in words and apply phoneme awareness with /v/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.

Materials: primary paper and pencil; chart with "Vicky's very violet vacuum"; picture of a vacuum; drawing paper; crayons; Dr. Seuss's ABC (Random House, 1963); word cards with VOW, VEST, CAN, VASE, TAKE, and FIVE; assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /v/ (URL below).

Procedure: 1. Say: Our written language is tough to learn, but the tricky part is learning what the letters stand for. Each letter makes our mouth move in a different way. Today, we are going to work on moving our mouths to say /v/. We spell /v/ with the letter V. V looks like holding up two fingers and sounds like a vacuum when it is turned on.

2. Let's pretend to vacuum the floor, /v/. (hold out the sound and pantomime vacuuming) Pay attention to where your lips and teeth are. Your teeth are lightly touching your bottom lip. When we say /v/, our voice box vibrates and we blow air through our bottom lip and our top teeth.

3. Let me show you how to find /v/ in the word save. I'm going to stretch the word out by saying it in slow motion and listen for my vacuum. Sss-a-a-ave. Slower: Sss-a-a-a-vvv-e. I heard it! I felt my teeth touch my bottom lip and my voice box vibrate. I can feel the vacuum /v/ in save.

4. Let's try a tongue twister (on chart). "Vicky's very violet vacuum." Let's all say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /v/ at the beginning of the words: "Vvvvicky's vvvviolet vvvvacuum is vvvvery loud." Try it again, and this time break it off the word: "/v/ icky's /v/ ery /v/ iolet /v/ acuum"

5. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use letter V to spell /v/. Capital V and lower case v look like you are holding up two fingers, like this (hold up two fingers/the peace sign). Let's write the lower case letter v. Start at the belt line (top line=head, bottom line=foot, and middle line=belt), make a diagonal line down to the foot line. Without lifting your pencil, make a diagonal line back up to the belt line. I want to see everybody's v. After I give you a smiley face on your paper, I want you to make nine more just like it.

6. Let's practice finding /v/ in words. [Call on students to answer and tell how they know] Do you hear /v/ in work or vine? Hive or look? Vex or trip? Fake or verb? Ivy or man? Let's see if you can spot the mouth movement /v/ in some words. Use your vacuum when you hear /v/: the, velvet, have, bug, love, vent, silly, veil, pink, very.

7. Say: "Let's look at an alphabet book. Dr. Seuss tells about a girl who isn't good at playing her instrument. Her name and her instrument start with V. Can you guess what instrument? Can you guess her name?" Read the V page, "Big V little v Vera Violet Vinn is very very very awful at her violin." Say: "Can you think of other words with /v/?" Have students make up their own silly instrument that they wish they could have that starts with V like violalin or vizzulo. Then have each student write their silly name with invented spelling and draw a picture of what their instrument would look like. Display their work. Students will be given the opportunity to show their picture and explain how you would play the instrument.

8. Show card with VOW and model how to decide if it is vow or how: The V tells me to use my vacuum, /v/, so this word is vvv-ow, vow. You try some: VEST: vest or best? CAN: van or can? VASE: vase or base? TAKE: make or take? FIVE: five or hive?

9. To assess the students, pass out the worksheet. Have students finish the partial spellings and color the pictures that begin with V. Call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.

Reference: Flying High with the Letter V, Maegan Dennis

Assessment worksheet:  

Animation source:

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