Emergent Literacy Design: Zip your Zipper with Z

Sydney Taylor


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

Materials: Primary paper and pencil; chart with "The zebra zoomed zig-zag in the zoo"; drawing paper and crayons; Dr. Seuss's ABC (Random House, 1960); word cards with ZOOM, ZERO, ZEBRA, ZONE, HERO, ZIG-ZAG; assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /z/ (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 /z/. We spell /z/ with letter Z. Z looks like a zipper, and /Z/ sounds like zipping a zipper.


2.Let's pretend to zip our zipper, /z/, /z/, /z/. [Pantomime zipping] Notice where your tongue touches the roof of your mouth? When we say /z/, we touch our tongue to the roof of our mouth.


3.Let me show you how to find /z/ in the word zone. I'm going to stretch ZONE out in super slow motion and listen for my zipper. Zzz-o-one Slower: Zzz-o-o-o-nnne There it was! I felt my tongue touch the roof of my mouth. I can feel the zipper /z/ in zone.


4.Let's try a tongue twister [on chart]. " The zebra zoomed zig-zag in the zoo." Everybody say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /z/ at the beginning of the words. "Zzzebra zzzomed zzzig-zzag in the zzzo." Try it again, and this time break it off the word: "/z/ebra /z/oomed /z/ig-/z/ag in the /z/oo".


5.[Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. We use letter Z to spell /z/. Capital Z looks like a zipper. Let's write the lowercase letter z. Start just below the rooftop. Make a straight line going to the right, then make a diagonal line going all the way down to the sidewalk. Then make another line going to the right. I want to see everybody's z. After I put a smile on it, I want you to make nine more just like it.


6.Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /z/ in hero or zone? zoom or slow? zebra or giraffe? Zig-zag or straight? Say: Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /z/ in some words. Brush your teeth if you hear /f/: The zany zebra zoomed zig-zag across the zoo.


7.Say: "Let's look at an alphabet book. Dr. Seuss tells us about a funny creature whose name starts with Z. Can you guess?" Read page 63, drawing out /z/. Ask children if they can think of other words with /z/. Ask them to make up a silly creature name like Zipper-zeffer-ziff. Then have each student write their silly name with invented spelling and draw a picture of their silly creature. Display their work


8.Show ZONE and model how to decide if it is zone or hone: The Z tells me to zip my zipper, /z/, so this word is zzz-one, zone. You try some: ZOOM: zoom or boom? ZERO: zero or hero?


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



Worksheet: http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/z-begins2.htm

Book: Dr. Seuss's ABC  (Dr. Seuss, Random House, 1960, 72 pages)

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