Lesson plan

The First Letter is...

This fun flap book will help your students name the first letter and the beginning sound of zoo animals.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the What Does It Say? pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the What Does It Say? pre-lesson.

Students will be able to identify the beginning letter sound of a zoo animal name.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(10 minutes)
  • Ask students to name animals they know live in the zoo.
  • Read a zoo-themed book.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask a student for his name. Ask that same student what letter starts his name.
  • Write the student's name on the board. Accentuate the first letter and the sound it makes as you write the letter.
  • Repeat the process with another student.
  • Remind students that letters make sounds, and when you put letters together you make a word.
  • Show students a picture of a dog. Say the word "dog." Ask students to name the letter that starts the word dog. Write "dog" on the board and emphasize the sound of the letter D as you write.
(5 minutes)
  • Lay out the alphabet letters or letter cards.
  • Show pictures of animals to the students.
  • Ask students to identify the beginning sound of the animal name. Place the picture under the letter that starts the name. Accentuate the first letter sound as you place the picture under the letter.
  • Repeat the process 3-4 times for practice.
(15 minutes)
  • Give each student a flap book, pencil, and glue stick.
  • Lay out the pictures of zoo animals in front of the students.
  • Have students select a picture. Ask the students to identify the animal in the picture. Have students tell you what letter the animal's name start with. Emphasize the first letter if a student is struggling. Example: "T, T, tiger."
  • Have the student write the letter on the first top flap.
  • Have the student glue the picture under the first flap.
  • Repeat the process until all of the flaps are complete.


  • Cut the paper into thirds or halves to reduce the number of beginning sounds the student needs to identify. If the student is unable to write a letter, lightly trace the letter of the beginning sound of the zoo animal, then the student can write over your tracing.


  • Cut the paper into fifths so that advanced students can identify more beginning letters of zoo animal names. Students can write the letter of the beginning sound, as well as the entire animal name if desired.
(5 minutes)
  • Note any letters that students are not able to identify as well as the letter sounds that students are able (or unable) to identify.
(10 minutes)
  • Have each child name the letter on the top flap, then lift the flap to see the animal underneath.
  • You may have the student lift all of the flaps or just two of the flaps.

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