Naughty or Nice

Naughty or Nice
Target text


Recognize and produce the /n/ sound in a series of words that all begin with /n/.

See Standards

Lesson Plan

Target Words:

  • naughty
  • nice
  • need
  • noise
  • notebook


  • Santa hat 
  • Action cards  
  • Notebook labeled “Nice Notebook” 
  • Picture cards
  • Dice template 

State and Model the Objective
Tell the children that they will see who is on Santa's naughty or nice list while listening for words that start with the /n/ sound, such as nail, nose, not, and notebook.

Literacy Activities
Naughty or nice

  • Write the words naughty and nice on the board and help the children define them, then point out that both words begin with the /n/ sound.
  • Show the children each naughty and nice action card and help them identify what is happening in the picture before you put the card into the Santa hat. 
  • Invite the children to take turns drawing a card out of the Santa hat and holding it up for the children to see.
  • Have the children call out “Naughty!” or “Nice!” depending on the action on the card.
  • Choose a child to glue or tape each “Nice!” card into the Nice Notebook while all of the children say, “It’s nice not to be naughty.”
  • Allow the children to take turns drawing the rest of the naughty or nice pictures card out of the hat. 

Searching for the /n/ sound

  • Have the children work together in small groups to sort the picture cards according to their initial sounds.
    • If the picture starts with the /n/ sound, have the children say, “____ (e.g., nail) starts with /n/!” and place it face-up on the table.
    • If the picture doesn’t start with /n/, have the children say, “____ (e.g., bat) does not start with /n/.” and place it face down.
  • Ask the children to take turns pointing to the /n/ sound cards and identifying the word as they emphasize the /n/ sound (e.g., /n/ /n/ /n/ nose).

More Practice
Recognize words beginning with the target letter

  • With ideas from the children, write a nice note to Santa telling him about the /n/ words they heard throughout the lesson (e.g., naughty, nice, notebook).
  • Read the letter aloud to the children, pointing to the words, and having the children echo the /n/ words back to you.
  • Read and say the /n/ words again with the children, emphasizing the /n/ sound (e.g., /n/ /n/ /n/ nose)

Roll the /n/ dice

  • Assemble the paper dice, and read each of the words on the dice to the children, pointing out that some start with the /n/ sound and some do not.
  • Allow the children to take turns rolling the dice while you help read the word that the dice lands on.
    • If the dice lands on a word that starts with the /n/ sound, have the children repeat the word and say, “That’s /n/ /n/ nice!”
    • If the dice lands on a word that starts with a different sound, have the children say, “No, that’s not /n/!”
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