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Stack or Step on Stems
Target text


Read and write words that begin with st-.

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Lesson Plan

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Target Words:

  • stem
  • step
  • stack
  • stand
  • stick



  • Dried stems from red or green peppers
  • Dried stems from squash
  • Washable paint or stamp pad
  • Sticks
  • Paper sack
  • Stack the Stems target text*

*Items included below.


State and Model the Objective

Tell the children that they will play with stems and read and write words that begin with st-.

Literacy Activities

See what you can do with stems

  • Give the children stems. 
  • Explain what stems are and where the stems came from.
  • Allow the children to play with the stems. Ask if they can . . .
    • spin a stem?
    • put the stems stem to stem?
    • stand the stems with the end up? 
    • stand the stems up?
    • stack the stems?
    • stand a stem on a stick
    • stand a stick on a stem?
  • Have the children stick the stems in a sack.

Read target words in a text

  • Read the Stack the Stems target text (see below) with the children, fading support as appropriate.
  • Have children read phrases and pretend to act  out the phrases (stuff stems in a sack, stack stems, step on stems, stomp on stems, stick stems end to end, stand stems up, stick stems in a sack).

Stamp with stems

  • Have the children dip a stem in paint (or on a stamp pad) and stamp it on a piece of paper. 
  • When the paint is dry, let the children use a marker to draw sticksstems and leaves to make flowers.

Write target words from dictation

  • Let the children write words that begin with st- from dictation (stem, step, stick, stack, stand, stuck, stuff, stamp, stomp).

SEEL Target Texts

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Stack or Step on Stems

What can you do with stems?
Can you . . . . .
Spin a stem?
Put stems end to end?
Put the stems stem to stem?
Stand the stems with the end up?
Stack stems?
Stand stems up on end?
Stems do not stack.
Stems do not spin.
We can try to spin and stack stems.
But, let’s not step on stems.
And let’s not stand on stems.
And let’s not stomp on stems!
Let’s stick and stuff stems in a sack.



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