Twirl and Swirl and Whirl Around


Read and write words with medial 'er' sound with two spellings: ir and ur.

Lesson Plan

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Target Words:

  • twirl
  • swirl
  • whirl
  • girl
  • circle


  • Streamer (or strip of cloth to be a streamer)
  • Wand or stick with streamer attached (optional)
  • Girl (graphic or real)
  • Ribbons or strips of paper that curl 
  • Shirt or skirt (can be doll shirt or shirt or the shape/outline of a skirt or shirt cut out of old cloth)
  • Twirl and Swirl and Whirl Around target text (see below)
  • Give it a Whirl target text (see below)

State and model the objective 
Tell the children that that today they well watch things swirl and twirl as they listen for words with the 'er' sound. Explain that the 'er' sound can be spelled in a variety of ways. Make a list of words with the 'er' sound: twirl, swirl, curl, girl.

Practice the skill within an activity

  • Twirl, swirl, and whirl around with a streamer
    • Take a streamer and show how it can be twirled around, both over the head and just above the ground. 
    • Let the children swirl and twirl and whirl their streamers as they twirl and swirl around and as they twirl and whirl around a girl. 
    • Let the children take turns swirling and twirling and point out who gets the first turn and the third turn (the other turns are labeled "not first" or "not third").
  • Curl and swirl ribbons and curled paper
    • Curl ribbon or strips of paper by pulling it along a dull surface (like a butter knife) or wrapping it around a finger. 
    • Show the children how to swirl the ribbon or paper and twirl the curls by holding the end and moving it in circles. Swirl and twirl and whirl the curls of ribbon or paper.  
    • Cut out the girl paper doll. Show the children that the paper girl can be curled and that let the children twirl around with her. 
  • Swirl around a skirt or shirt to make it twirl or whirl 
    • Place a large shirt on a boy (not buttoned up or placed over his shoulders) and watch it swirl and whirl around when the boy twirls.  Have the children take turns.  Decide who will be first and who will be third to twirl and make the shirt swirl and whirl.  
    • Let the girls (or the girl doll) twirl and swirl around wearing a skirt and watch the skirt swirl and twirl and whirl around.  

Apply the skill

  • Read target words in texts
    • Engage the children in reading the target text Twirl and Swirl and Whirl Around (see below) together with the group.
    • Have the children make a list of words containing the 'er' sound.
    • Read the text again, fading support.
    • Repeat with the target text Give it a Whirl (optional).

SEEL Target Texts

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Give It a Whirl

Give a curl a whirl.  
Give it a twirl.
Twirl it.
Make it swirl.
Whirl it around.
Whirl it around a girl.
Twirl it above a girl.  
Twirl it behind a girl.

Twirl, Swirl, and Whirl Around

Twirl, swirl, and whirl around.
A girl can whirl and twirl around.
Watch her whirl and twirl.
She can twirl, swirl, and whirl with a streamer.
She can twirl, swirl, and whirl around with some curls.
Watch her twirl, swirl, and whirl around.
A boy can swirl and twirl around wearing a shirt.
Watch the shirt twirl and swirl when the boy whirls around.
A girl can swirl and twirl around wearing a skirt.
Watch the skirt twirl and swirl as the girl whirls around.


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1. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.1.3.B: Decode regularly spelled one-syllable words.

2. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.1.3.C: Know final -e and common vowel team conventions for representing long vowel sounds.