Aye, Aye, Aye, Look at the Time!

Beginning Reading Lesson

Shawna Harris

Clock Graphic


Rationale: This lesson teaches students the long vowel correspondence i_e = /I/. In order to read, children must recognize how spellings relate to word pronunciations. In this lesson, students will learn to spell and read words using the spelling i_e. They will learn a meaningful representation (looking at a watch) , will spell and read words containing i_e in a letterbox lesson, and will read a decodeable book focusing on the correspondence i_e = /I/.

Materials: Image of man pointing to watch, whiteboard & marker (for teacher), letterboxes (1 per student & teacher), letter tiles (1 set per student and teacher of letters b, c, d, e, f, h, i, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, & w), chart paper (with words time, like, bit, dime, side, mine, list, shine, twice, slide, crime, strike, and sprite written out), copies of Kite Day at Pine Lake (1 per student), pencils & worksheets (1 per student).


1. Say: If we want to read well, we have to learn the code that shows us how to pronounce words. We’ve already learned several parts of that code, like the consonants and the short vowels. We’ve been learning about long vowels, ones that say their name, like /A/ and /E/. Today we’re going to learn about another long vowel sound, /I/, and one way we can spell it. Have you ever heard someone say “Aye, aye, aye”? They usually say that when they’re worried or not sure what to do. [Show image of man with watch.] When you hear the /I/ sound, I want you to think about someone saying, “Aye, aye, aye, look at the time!” I also want you to tap your wrist, where a watch would go. Now, let’s look at a way to spell /I/. One way is with the letter i and an e at the end of the word. That e tells the i to say its name. [Write i_e on the board.] Anytime you see a word with i, another letter, then e, you know the i will say its name.

2. Say: First, let’s see if you can hear that /I/ sound in some words. When I make the /I/ sound, my mouth is open in a sort of football shape. Watch out for your mouth making that shape in these words. When you hear the /I/ sound, tap your wrist where a watch goes. Let’s try the word kite. Kiiiiiite. Say it with me. Kiiiiite. Do you feel your mouth making that football shape? What about the word line. Liiiine. Did you hear /I/ there? Did you feel your mouth make the football shape? What about the word rip? Riiip. Do you hear the /I/ sound in rip? I don’t hear /I/ in rip. What about in fry, time, sky, leaf, shine? [Students should tap their wrists to indicate that they hear the /I/ sound.

3. Say: How would we spell the word time? “What time does school start?” First we need to figure out how many phonemes are in time. /t//I//m/. I hear 3 phonemes, so we’ll need three boxes in our letterbox. Fold your letterbox so there are three boxes showing and spell this word with me. I hear /t/ then /I/ then /m/. The /I/ was the second sound I heard, so the letter i it goes in the second box. I know I need an e on the end to make the i say its name, so I put the e on the end, outside the letterbox. Time starts with a /t/, so I need a t in the first letterbox. Now I have /t//I/. I hear /m/ next, so I put an m in the third box.  Now I have the word time. The e on the end makes the i say its name. Now, if I came across a word like this in a book, how would I read it? [Write like on the board.] First, I would look at the vowels. I see i, which can either say /i/ or /I/. How do I know which sound it makes? Hey, I see an e on the end! The e makes the i say /I/. Now that I know the vowel sound, I can start at the beginning. /l//I//k/. Like! I like to eat pie!

4. Say: Now it’s your turn to spell some words. Let’s start out with an easy word. You’ll only need three boxes for this word. Dime. “ The candy costs a dime.” What should go in the first box? [Respond to students’ answers, correcting as necessary.] What about the second box? Since the i says its name? What should go on the outside of the last box? What about the third box? [Check students’ spellings, correcting as necessary. Let’s try another word. Side. “My desk is on the other side of the room.” What’s the first sound? The vowel sound? What goes on the end to make the i say its name? [Repeat procedure with mine, life, shine, twice, slide, crime, strike, & sprite. Instruct students to add letterbox as phoneme count increases.

5. Display all words spelled on chart paper. Say: Now, let’s read the words we spelled. [Have students read words in unison, then have one student read two to three words at a time until all students have had a turn.]

6. Say: Now that we know how to spell and read words with the /I/ sound, we’re going to read a book. I want you to be on the lookout for words with the /I/ sound in this book. This book is called Kite Day at Pine Lake. In this story, it’s kite day at the lake! Everyone is having a great time flying kites. But Bob isn’t. He doesn’t have a kite, but he still wants to have fun. What do you think he will do? I want everyone to get a partner and read the story together. [Students will pair up and partner read the story, while teacher walks around observing and assisting as needed. When students have finished reading, the teacher brings the class back together and discusses the plot.]

7. Say: Now we are going to see how well we know how to read and spell long /I/ words. [Hand out worksheets.] On this worksheet, you’ll see some pictures. All these pictures have the /I/ sound. Your job is to write the names of the pictures, using the i_e spelling we learned today. One letter goes in each space. Make sure you read the words after you write them so you know they are correct. [Take up worksheets at end of lesson to assess progress.]


-Worksheet from http://www.phonicsworld.com/longvowelie2.html
-For further practice: Letterbox Lesson “Long I Bites” by Rebekah Beason http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/doorways/beasonrbr.htm
- Cushman, Sheila (1990). Kite Day at Pine Lake. Educational Insights.

Return to Awakenings Index