Open Up Wide, Ah!

Beginning to Read

Morgan Grace Deason


Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the short vowel correspondence o = /o/. In order

to be able to read, children must learn to recognize the spellings that map word pronunciations. In this lesson children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling o. They will learn a meaningful representation (patient at doctor saying ahh), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence o = /o/.


Materials: Graphic image of patient in doctor’s chair; cover-up critter; whiteboard or smartboard Elkonin boxes for modeling and individual Elkonin boxes for each student; letter manipulatives for each child and magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher: f, h, j, k, l, m, o, p, s, t; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: hot, mom, spot, job, stop, pop, look, soft, slop; decodable text: A Hot Spot, and assessment worksheet.



1. Say: In order to become expert readers we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. We have already learned to read short vowel words with a, like tap, and today we are going to learn about short o. When I say /o/ I think of a patient at a doctor’s office saying “ahhh” to get his throat examined [show graphic image]. Now lets look at the spelling of /o/ that we’ll learn today. It looks like a perfect circle.


2. Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /o/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I listen for /o/ in words, I hear the same sound I would make if a doctor was looking down my throat. [Make vocal gesture for /o/.] I’ll show you first: lock. I heard o say its name and I felt my mouth open wide [make mouth open wide]. There is a short o in lock. Now I’m going to see if it’s in school. Hmm, I didn’t hear ahhh and my mouth didn’t open up wide. Now you try. If you hear /o/ say, I am not well, Doctor. Ahhh. If you don’t hear /o/ say,



That’s not it.” Is it in rock, dot, pat, mop, block, rot, snow? [Have children open their mouths wide to say /o/.]



3. What if I want to spell the word pot? I need one pot to cook soup tonight.” A pot is a bowl you can put on the stove in this sentence. To spell pot in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /p//o//t/. I need 3 boxes. I heard that /o/ just before the /t/ so I’m going to put an o in the 2nd box. The word starts with /p/, that’s easy; I need a p.  I have one empty box now. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /p//o//t/.] The missing one is /t/. Now I’ll show you how I would read a tough word. [Display poster with spoke on the top and model reading the word.]  Here is how I would know how to read a tough word, /po-t/. Oh, pot, like “I need one pot of green beans for dinner.”

Text Box: p o t


4. Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. Youll start out reading easy words with three boxes, such as top, I want to put icing on the top of the cake. What should go in the first box? [Respond to childrens answers]. What goes in the second box? And the third? I’ll check your spelling while I walk around the room. [Observe progress.] Youll need four letterboxes for the next word. Listen for the beginning sound to spell in the first box. Then listen for /o/.  Here’s the word: stop, I stop my bike when I come to road; stop. [Allow children to spell remaining words: drop, lock, mope, drip, plop.]


5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words youve spelled. [Have children read words in unison. Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.]


6. Say: Youve done a great job and reading words with our new spelling for /o/: o. Now we are going to read a book called A Hot Spot.  This is the story of a boy named Tim who has accidentally spilled his mom’s drink on a hot day. He has to get a job to get her more pop to drink. Let’s pair up and take turns reading A Hot Spot to find out if he and his family are able to cool down. [Children pair up and take turns reading alternate pages each while teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads A Hot Spot aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]


7. Say: Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /o/ = o, I want to see how

you can solve a reading problem. On this worksheet, we have two words missing. Your job is to look at the pictures and use the given letters to spell the short o words.  Reread your answers to see if they make sense. [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.]



Emily Watts, “Aaaaaa! It’s okay baby”:

Murray, G. (2004) A Hot Spot. Reading Genie:

Build A Word KidZone! Preschool and Kindergarten Assessment worksheets:


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