Tower of Tall Tops


Associate the letter T (and lowercase t) with the /t/ sound as in tip, tap, and top.

Lesson Plan

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Target Words:

  • tip
  • tap
  • top
  • tower
  • topple
  • tell
  • ten


  • Bottle and jar tops (variety of sizes)
  • Bottle top used as a toy top (tipped on its side and spun)
  • Toy tops (optional)
  • Make a Tower of Tops text
  • Tip Over a Tower of Tops text
  • Letter T to put on the tops
  • Word blending cards

Demonstrate and tell the children that they will build a tower of tops while they listen for and play with other words starting with the /t/ sound. List words that start with the /t/ sound such as tap, top, tip, tall, toy, tower, tell, and two.

Literacy Activities
Tell others to touch, tap, or take a top

  • Spread the different sized bottle and toy (optional) tops on the ground.
  • Tell a child to take a couple tops and tap them together.
  • Let one child tell another to take tops and tap them together saying, “I’ll tell ___ to take two tops and tap them together.”
  • Have the children act on the tops using words that start with /t/: touch, tap, tip, take.

Put a toy top on top of a bottle top

  • Place a bottle top on the ground.
  • Put a toy top or a bottle top used as a toy top on top of the bottle top.
  • Spin the toy top or bottle top (tipped on its side and spun) on a bottle top.

Make a tall tower of tops

  • Give the children different sizes of tops to put on top of another top.
  • Let the children stack one top on top of another to make a tall tower of tops.
  • Take a toy top or the letter T and put it on top of the tower.
  • Throughout the activity make comments such as: “How tall can you build the tower of tops?” “Be careful not to tip over your tall tower of tops.”
  • Topple over the tops.
  • Explain that the word topple means to have something fall over.
  • Next have the children topple the tall tower of tops by telling them to take a top from the tower.
  • Tell the children that they can tip over the tower in other ways by tapping the tops and touching the tops.
    • Ask, “Will the tower topple? Will the tower topple if you tap it or touch it?”

More Practice
Identify, blend and manipulate sounds

  • With word blending cards, have the children make new words by changing the vowel or either of the consonants:
    • tap → lap; tip → dip; top → mop
    • tap → tip → top
    • tap → tan → tab; tip → tin; top → tot

Read target words/patterns to the children

  • Read the text Make a Tower of Tops to the children.
  • Have the children underline the words that begin with T.
  • Have the children state the sound that goes with the letter T by saying /t/ every time they see a word that starts with T.
  • Repeat with the text Tip Over a Tower of Tops.

Practice alliteration

  • Produce words that start with the letter T:
    • Remind the children of the words they played with (e.g., top, tip, tower, topple).
    • Tell them you can think of other words that start with (e.g., tell, toss, take).
    • Ask each child to think of a word that starts with T.
    • If a child doesn’t respond in a few seconds, give him/her an option:
      • “How about tell? Does tell start with the letter T?”

Write about the activity using target words/patterns

  • Give each child a paper and pencil or whiteboard and have them simply practice writing the letter T.
  • Have the children write words from dictation changing one or two letters each time to make a new word: tip, tap, top, mop, map, mat, sat, cat, cut.
  • Write about the experience by generating sentence frames and letting the children fill in target words and phrases:
    • Tell a friend to ______ (tap) two ______ (tops).
    • We will build a tower of _______ (tops).
    • We can _______ (tap) and _______ (tip) the tower.
    • Make the tall tower _____ (tip).
    • Put the toy_____(top) on _____ (top).
    • Be careful when you touch the _______ (top).
    • Do not let the tower _______ (topple).

SEEL Target Texts

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Make a Tower of Tops

Make a tower of tops.
Put one top on top of another top.
Put another top on that top.
Top the tower with yet another top.
Make a tall tower.
Top the tower of tops with a toy top.

Tip Over a Tower of Tops

How can you tip over a tower of tops?
Put a toy top on top of the tower of tops.
Tap on the tops.
Touch the tops.
Take a top from the tower.
The tower of tops will tip over!



See More

1. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.1.D: Recognize and name all upper and lower case letters in the alphabet.
2. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.3.A: Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary sound or many of the most frequent sounds for each consonant.