Learn About Letter Sounds Together: Beginning Sound (/z/)

  • chart paper
  • marker
  • number chart that includes the number zero
  • object with a zipper (shoe, boot, jacket, bag)

MA Standards:

English Language Arts/Foundational Skills/RF.PK.MA.2.c: Identify the initial sound of a spoken word and, with guidance and support, generate several other words that have the same initial sound.

Head Start Outcomes:

Language Development/Receptive Language: Attends to language during conversations, songs, stories, or other learning experiences.
Literacy Knowledge/Phonological Awareness: Identifies and discriminates between sounds and phonemes in language, such as attention to beginning and ending sounds of words and recognition that different words begin or end with the same sound.

PreK Learning Guidelines:

English Language Arts/Reading and Literature 8: Listen to, identify, and manipulate language sounds to develop auditory discrimination and phonemic awareness.

Learn About Letter Sounds Together: Beginning Sound (/z/)

© Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Early Education and Care (Jennifer Waddell photographer). All rights reserved.

ELA Focus Skills: Phonological Awareness, Speaking and Listening, Vocabulary

Educator Prep: Write the words to the chant on chart paper so you can return to it throughout the week.

Introduce children to the beginning letter sound /z/. Ask children what sound they hear at the beginning of the word zoom? After children identify the /z/ sound, say, Let’s all put our teeth together and make the /z/ while we z-z-z-zooom around like cars. Ask children to name other things that zoom.

  • Tell children that there are lots of fun words that begin with the /z/ sound. Have them repeat the words zip, zoom, zap, zonk, and zing with you. Emphasize the initial /z/ sound in each word.
  • Say, What sound does a zipper make? (z-z-z-zip) Demonstrate with a real zipper.
  • Display the number chart. Point to the zero and ask, What number is this? Yes, it is the number zero. The word zero begins with /z/. Have children repeat the word zero.
  • Invite children to say real or made-up words beginning with the /z/ sound. Make up a silly chant of /z/ words, for example, “Zilly, Zilly, Zoogle.”

Zilly, Zilly, Zoogle
Zilly, zilly, zoogle, zoom
The zebra zipped around the room.

Zizzle, zizzle, zoozle, zap
The zebra sung a zippy rap.

English Language Learners: Give English Language Learners opportunities to be ‘experts’ in the group and ask them to help other children, for example help a child with limited English proficiency become the class expert in identifying the letter sound /z/ or writing the letter “Zz.”

Educator Tip: Guided and independent letter, sound, and word practice continues to take place in center activities. It is helpful to set up the literacy center immediately after the direct instruction and repeat instruction before children work in the literacy center identifying letters.

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