S is for...4

Print Lesson


SWBAT use correct letter formation to make the lower case s.

Big Idea

We use the letter S to read and write.

Prepare the Learner

15 minutes

I always start off my letter/sound instruction by singing two ABC songs.  The first one focuses just on the letters and order of the alphabet.  The second one focuses on the sound of each letter.  I sing these songs every day of the school year.  Even though I have not formally taught every letter and sound at this time of year, the kids quickly learn the songs and they actually recognize many of the letter sounds before I have formally taught them. 


We then review s pictures that begin with the sound of S.  I use the same pattern for these pictures every day and with every letter.  You will see this pattern throughout my lessons.  The basic pattern is I say(name of picture), you say(name of picture), we say letter sound three times.  For example, I may begin with the picture of 'snowman' with the letter S.  I say: Snowman.  Students say: Snowman.  We all say:  /s/ /s/ /s/ 


If you don't have vocabulary cards, here is a great video!




Interact with concept

45 minutes

Our printing books are called Leo books.  I do the capital letter as directed teaching on Tuesdays and the lower case letter as directed teaching on Thursdays.  When we do letter formation practice it is very systematic and teacher directed.  I do the pages one line at a time. 


Here is a fun video to preview letter Ss formation!

Say: Boys and girls, pencils down, eyes on me.  Where to I start for the lower case s? (on the middle line) That’s right we put our pencils at the middle and we go around to the left, curve it around to the right, go down and sit it on the line. (students are watching me and I write very slowly and precisely so they do the same) (there is now an ‘s’ on the line)  Does everyone see how my ‘s’  is sitting on the bottom line?  (yes)  Ok.  Watch me again. (I make another m very slowly)  Say: Middle, around and down, sit it on the line.   I try to give simple word sequence clues for students to say to themselves as they make the letters.  I only do this after I have modeled it several times, so the kids know what the word clues mean. 


I believe in the power of non example as well as example, so I do a few nonexamples as well.  Say: Boys and girls, is this a good lower case s?  I make a lower case s that is not sitting on the line or one where I start on the bottom line.  The students will tell me ‘no’ and then I ask them to tell me why.  I then stress to them to NOT make s’s that are flying in the air, meaning they do not sit on the bottom line. 


Say: Now I want you to try your s’s on line #1.  Only line #1 then you put your pencil down and wait for me.  Begin.    As kids are making their s’s on the first line, I assist and monitor where necessary.  If students are making mistakes, I use hand over hand to help them, or I show them with my marker on their paper while they watch.  I then have them make an ‘s’ while I watch and offer further correction, if it is necessary.  As I see that kids are finishing, I go back to the document camera and do the same routine with the rest of the page.  


Here is a picture of "hand over hand" with a different letter.  The letter doesn't matter.  The strategy works with any letter formation activity!

Extend Understanding

20 minutes


Students rotate through the centers, going to one per day. 

I have a centers chart where they find their name daily and what center they are assigned to for that day.


My centers are designed to address skills that students need, be it fine motor, gross motor or academic. 

1. Puzzles

2. Pocket Chart- /s/non=/s/ sort (students sort pictures into two groups, those that begin with /s/ and those that do not)

3. Writing-student trace sandpaper letters with their finger(tactile fine motor)Here is a picture!

4. Math-shapes sort: Here is a picture!

5. Computer- students can listen to /s/ pictures and a story on starfall.com