Secret Santa


Recognize the /s/ sound in phrases or a series of words that all begin with /s/.

Point to words in a text to demonstrate print awareness. 

Lesson Plan

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Target Words:

  • sack
  • socks
  • sandwich
  • secret
  • scooter
  • Santa


  • Red construction paper for a Santa hat (make one - class set optional)
  • Cotton balls (one for hat - class set optional)
  • Sack (e.g., grocery bag, paper bag)
  • Picture cards (see below)
  • Silly Santa target text (see below)

State and model the objective
Tell the children they will see what secrets are in Santa’s sack as they listen for words that start with the /s/ sound, such as send, socks, scooter, sandwich, and Santa

Practice the skill within an activity
Secret Santa sends something

  • Create a Santa hat out of a large piece of red construction paper, shaped and stapled or taped into a cone (trim excess as needed), and attach a cotton ball to the top (make 1 for this activity).
  • Write the letter S on the board and remind the children that the letter S makes the /s/ sound in words such as secret, Santa, socks, sandwich, scooter, soccer ball, sweater, and sack.
  • Teach the children the Secret Santa Chant (below), explaining that a Secret Santa gives gifts or does kind things for others secretly, and invite the children to join in as you say the chant a couple of times. 
    • Secret Santa sent something to Sally,
      Something to Sally, something to Sally.
      Secret Santa sent something to Sally.
      What did Santa send?
      Secret Santa sent Sally a _______. (insert an S word)
  • Have the children sit in a circle then choose one child to be the Secret Santa and wear the paper Santa hat.
  • Lead the children in the Secret Santa Chant as the Secret Santa walks around the circle.
  • When the children say, "What did Santa send?" have the Secret Santa stop and let a child select a picture card from the sack.
  • Let that child show the S card she received and help her identify it (as needed), emphasizing the /s/ sound at the beginning of the word.
  • Invite the children to join together in saying, "Secret Santa sent a ____." (insert the picture card word).
  • Have the Secret Santa trade places with the child who picked from the sack and repeat activity.
  • Say several words from the activity that begin with the /s/ sound, emphasizing the initial sound, and have the children repeat the word as you write it on the board.
  • Invite the children to take turns circling an S or s in one of the words on the board as they make the /s/ sound. 

Apply the skill
Read a predictive, repetitive text to the children to support print awareness

  • Display the Silly Santa target text (see below) large enough for children to easily see.
  • Read the text to the children, pointing to each word in left to right sequence.
  • Read the text again and have the children point to each word in left to right sequence. 
  • Ask the children to help you find and circle the S in the words that start with /s/ in the text (i.e. sent, skunk, scarf, spaghetti) as you read it aloud again.
  • Repeat with the Secret Santa Chant text (see above), if desired.

Re-create the target letter on Santa's cap

  • Give the children each a piece of red construction paper (or white paper and a red crayon) and have them practice writing the letter S on it.
  • Help the children roll their paper into a cone and tape or staple it in shape then glue a cotton ball on top (trim off excess as needed).
  • Invite the children to wear their Santa caps as they pretend to be Santa, encouraging them to say, "/s/, /s/, /s/ Santa!"

SEEL Target Texts

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Silly Santa

Secret Santa sent something silly to Sally.
Santa sent something that starts with sssss.
What did Santa send?
Secret Santa sent a skunk wearing a scarf!
Secret Santa sent something silly to Sammy.
Santa sent something that starts with sssss.
What did Santa send?
Secret Santa sent a sock full of soup!
Secret Santa sent something silly to Sammy.
Santa sent something that starts with sssss.
What did Santa send?
Secret Santa sent spaghetti with snowballs!
Silly Secret Santa!



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