Sarita Finds S and Z Words

Lesson Guide

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Activity 1 Learning to Make the Sounds /s/ and /z/

Refer to the Word Scientists website before starting the lesson to learn how to teach /s/ and /z/ sounds: 

Teaching the Letter S

Teaching the Letter Z


Letter S

What do you feel? What do you see?

  • Make the /s/ sound. Stretch the sound out to exaggerate it: /sssss/.
  • Ask students to repeat the sound after you: /ssssss/
  • Ask students: what do you feel?
  • Think-aloud: I feel my tongue right behind my teeth. If I hold my hand in front of my mouth, I feel the air come out, it is a thin stream of air.
  • Ask students: what do you see?
  • Think-aloud: I see my mouth in a smile. I can see my teeth almost closed, but they are a little open to let the sound out.
  • Ask students: Do you stretch the sound /s/? Or do you bounce it?
  • Think-aloud: I think you stretch the sound /s/. I can keep making the sound for a long time: /sssss/. Try it with me. /ssssss/.
  • Assign a corresponding hand motion: Tell students, “The sound /s/ begins the word snake.” Make a wiggling motion with your arm when you say snake. Have students repeat the sound and the motion.
  • Let’s decide if /s/ is quiet or noisy. Cover your ears and make the sound. Feel your voice box in your neck.  I don’t feel a vibration so it is quiet.

Letter Z

What do you feel? What do you see?

  • Make the /z/ sound. Stretch the sound out to exaggerate it: /zzzzzz/
  • Ask students to repeat the sound after you: /zzzzz/
  • Ask students: what do you feel?
  • Think-aloud: I feel my tongue behind my teeth. I feel a buzzing as as the air comes out of my mouth. If I put my hand in front of my mouth, I can feel the air coming out.  It is a thin stream of air.
  • Ask students: what do you see?
  • Think-aloud: I see my mouth in a smile. My teeth are almost closed, but they are a little open to let the air out.
  • Ask students: Do you stretch the sound /z/? Or do you bounce it?
  • Think-aloud: I think you stretch the sound /z/. I can keep making the sound for a long time: /zzzzz/. Try it with me /zzzzzz/.
  • Let’s decide if /z/ is quiet or noisy. Cover your ears and make the sound. Feel your voice box in your neck.  I feel a vibration so it is noisy.
  • Assign a corresponding hand motion: Tell students, “The sound /z/ begins the word zip.” Make a motion like zipping up your coat when you say zip. Have students repeat the sound and the motion.

Activity 2 Exploring the Illustrations

Before reading the text on each page, guide students in exploring the cover and illustrations.


Examine the cover. Tell students:

  • Let’s look at the cover of the book.
  • Can you see the character on the cover? Who is that? (Sarita)
  • Which letters do you see on the cover? (S and Z)
  • What sound do you hear at the beginning of Sarita? (/s/)
  • How do you spell/s/? (letter s)
  • Find the letter S in Sarita’s name. (students point to the first letter)
  • Why are there two kinds  of each letter? (They are the capital and lowercase letters.)
  • What sound does s make? (/s/)
  • What sound does z make? (/z/)
  • The title says Sarita Finds S and Z  Words
  • What kind of book do you think this is? Is it a story book, a science book, or an alphabet book? (An alphabet book.)

Go through the illustrations on each page.

On each page, ask students, “What do you see?” Students should name what they see in the illustration. If they do not know a word, take time to teach it. Example: If students answer “vegetable,” instead of “zucchini,” you can say, “Yes, it’s a vegetable. But what kind of vegetable is it? This picture shows a zucchini. Repeat after me: zucchini. And zucchini begins with /z/.”

Activity 3 Teach the Carrier Phrase

Practice using the verb sees.


I see a _______________.

  • Write the carrier phrase on the board: I see a _________________.
  • Read the phrase out loud and ask students to repeat it.
  • Fill in the blank with a word the students know. Example: I see a sock.
  • Point to a sock and repeat the phrase: I see a sock.
  • Ask students to repeat the sentence.

Sarita sees a  __________.

  • Write the carrier phrase on the board: Sarita sees a  _____________.
  • Read the phrase out loud and ask students to repeat it.
  • Fill in the blank with a word students know. Example: Sarita sees a sock.
  • Find page 5 in the book and repeat the phrase: Sarita sees a sock.
  • Ask students to repeat the sentence.
  • Ask students: What is the difference between this and the previous example? (In this example, Sarita is the subject, not me.)
  • Ask students: Does the word sees look different in the second example? (Yes, it has an s at the end.)
  • Ask students: Why is there an s at the end of the word sees? (We add an s when we are talking about someone who is not “I” or “you.”  We add the letter s to tell it is another person by name or he or she. )

Practice the carrier phrase:  

  • Hold up an item (example: sock). Ask Student #1: What do you see? (I see a sock.)
  • Hold up the same item. As Student #2: What does [Student #1] see? ([Student #1] sees a sock.)
  • Ask Student #3: What do you see? (I see a sock.)
  • Ask Student #4: What does [Student #3] see? ([Student #3] sees a sock.)
  • Correct errors and practice a few times until most students are correctly identifying first person and third person verbs.

Activity 4 Guided Reading of the Book

After the students have mastered the carrier phrase, guide them in reading each page together as a class.


Example: Page 2 Text: Sarita sees a snake.

Tell students:

  • Let’s read the part of the sentence we know together: Sarita sees a______.
  • What do you see in the picture? (A snake)
  • What sound does snake begin with? (/s/). How do we spell the /s/ sound? (letter s)
  • Let’s clap the syllables in snake (1). So snake is a shorter word that begins with the letter s. Do you see a word that could be snake? (the last word). That makes sense with the picture.
  • Read the sentence with me.
  • Now read the sentence to me.

 

Repeat this pattern for each page. Pay careful attention to pages with plural nouns, to make sure that students are correctly noting the change in the carrier phrase.


The final page is different from the others. It has a tongue-twister.

Page 10 Text: Sarita sees a zebra sipping seawater on the sand by the sea.

Guided reading:

  • Think aloud: The words on this page look different from the other pages. There are a lot more words. Let’s see if we can read them.
  • Ask students: What do you see in the picture? (Students brainstorm: zebra, seawater, sand, Sarita)
    • Note: If they give answers like “ocean” and “beach,” focus their attention on the synonyms that begin with “s” or “z” (“seawater,” “sand”). Say something like: Yes, this is the ocean. We can also call the ocean “the sea.” Sea begins with /s/. So the water in the sea is “seawater.”
  • Ask students: What is the zebra doing? (sipping)
    • Note: If students say drinking, tell them that “sipping” is another word for “drinking.” Sipping begins with the sound /s/. So, the zebra is sipping seawater.
  • Think aloud: There are a lot of new words on this page. Let’s see if we can remember the sentence. Sarita sees a zebra sipping seawater on the sand by the sea. Now let’s point to each word as we say the sentence from memory.
  • Work with students to say this sentence from memory so they can get the speech-to-print match.
  • Practice the sentence until all students can get the speech-to-print match. .
  • Tell students: Now, let’s see if we can say this sentence from memory!
    • Recite the sentence.  Stretch out the /s/ and /z/ sounds.
    • Ask the class to recite the sentence together and model stretching out the beginning sound. This creates an alliteration.
    • Ask individual students if they want to stand up and try reciting the sentence.

Activity 5 Reread the text for fluency. My Turn, Your Turn.

The teacher reads a page of text, and then the students read the same text. Reread the whole book. Observe students to see if they are pointing to the words as they say them (speech-to print-match).

Activity 6 Partner Reading

Break students into pairs. Make sure each pair has a copy of the book. Instruct students to read the whole book with their partner. First, Student #1 should read each page of the book, pointing to each word as he/she reads it. Next, Student #2 should reach each page of the book, pointing to each word as he/she reads it. Encourage students to help each other if they cannot remember a word. Walk around the room and check the progress of each student, correcting errors as necessary.

Activity 7 Word Sort

Preparation: Before the lesson, cut out the pictures provided on the page 11 of the book.

Begin this activity by asking the students to name all of the pictures as you hold them up one by one.

Then, ask each pair of students to turn to the page of the book which shows a T chart with columns for the letters Ss and Zz. Give each pair a set of the pictures.

Instruct the pairs to sort the pictures into the correct columns, based on their starting sounds.


Model the activity:

  • Draw a larger version of the T chart on the board.
  • Hold up a picture of a zebra.
  • Ask students: What is this? (a zebra)
  • Ask students: What is the first sound you hear? (/z/)
  • Make the corresponding “zipping” motion that goes with the sound /z/.
  • Ask students: What letter makes the sound /z/? (z)
  • Use tape to place the picture of the zebra into the Zz column.
  • Say: zebra begins with the sound /z/ so it goes under the letter z.
  • Have students name all the pictures in a column each time a new picture is added.

Students work in pairs to complete their own charts in pairs. Walk around the room checking progress and correcting errors as necessary.


Group check:

  • Get the students’ attention. Ask them to stop working on their charts.
  • Hold up each picture one by one and ask students the same questions as in the model.
    • What is this?
    • What is the first sound you hear? [make the corresponding motion]
    • What letter makes that sound?
    • Use tape to place the picture in the correct column on the board.
  • Ask the pairs to check that they put their pictures in the correct columns.
  • If there are any mistakes, have students check the sound for the vibration to see if it is quiet or noisy.

Activity 8 Vocabulary Builder Activity

I Spy….


Explain the rules of the game:

I will think of something in the room that starts with the letter s or z. I will say, “I spy with my little eye something that starts with the letter s.” Use the pictures from the book and add pictures or objects of things that start with either the /s/ or /z/ sound.


Model the activity:

Decide on one of the pictures or objects that starts with an s or z.

Example: scissors. Say: I spy with my little eye something that starts with the letter s and we use it to cut things. If students guess the wrong word, but it begins with the right sound say something like, “Yes sock begins with the sound /s/ but I am thinking of something we use to cut things.”


Continue the activity a few times until you have practiced both s and z words.

Activity 9 Assessment

  • Observe speech-to print-match. Watch students read the book and point. Observe if they are pointing to each word as they say it.
  • Check to see if students can read the high-frequency words out of the text: this, is, sees, a.
  • Ask students to tell the beginning sound in the words: (snake /s/, seven /s/, sandwich /s/, socks /s/, zebra /z/, zipper /z/, zero /z/, zucchini /z/)