pizza puzzle

Pizza Puzzle

Pizza Puzzle
Target text


Read and write words spelled with the zz letter combination in the middle of the word.

See Standards

Lesson Plan

Target Words:

  • fuzzy
  • puzzle 
  • sizzle
  • drizzle
  • blizzard
  • mozzarella


  • Puzzle graphic 
  • Dice graphic 
  • Pizza box
  • Unfinished Story handout

State and Model the Objective
The children will build a pizza puzzle and then read and write words spelled with the zz letter combination such as fuzzy, sizzle, blizzard, drizzle, and mozzarella.
Literacy Activities
Build a pizza puzzle

  • Put the children into groups and give each group a cut-out pizza puzzle graphic with two dice.
  • Have each group get into a circle, mix up the puzzle pieces, and then lay them face-up on the floor.
  • Read the words on the pizza slices to the children and explain any new vocabulary words as needed.
  • Ask the children what the words have in common (the zz letter combination).
  • Invite the children to take turns rolling the two dice.
  • Have the children read both words on each die (provide support if needed).
    • If both dice show the same word, the child can take the corresponding puzzle piece and put it in the pizza box.
    • If the dice do not match, it is the next child's turn to roll them.
  • Play until all pieces make a pizza in the pizza box.

More Practice 
Identify the double letters 

  • Have the children take turns removing a piece of the pizza out of the pizza box and reading the word on it.
  • Invite the children to circle the zz letter combination in each target word. 

Pizza vs. Puzzle

  • Ask the children if they see any similarities between the words pizza and puzzle (both contain two Zs). 
  • Slowly sound out both of the words while emphasizing the initial /p/ sound, and then ask the children what sound the words have in common.
  • Slowly sound out both of the words again, this time emphasizing the /z/ sound found in puzzle and the /ts/ sound found in pizza
  • Ask the children if they hear the difference between the sounds. 
  • Explain that the word pizza is a special word where the two Zs make the /ts/ sound not the /z/ sound.

Finish the story

  • Make a list of target words used throughout the lesson and help the children think of other words that have the zz letter combination in it.
  • Give each child an Unfinished Story handout and display it for all the children to see.
  • Explain that the children will help fill in the missing target words to finish the story. 
  • Read the completed story and then invite the children to fill out their handout. 
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SEEL lessons align with Common Core Standards. Please see the standards page for the code(s) associated with this lesson.