Open wide and say Ahhhh!

Beginning Reading

By Holly Johnson



In order for students to become successful readers they must learn the important vowel correspondences. This lesson will help children identify /o/, the phoneme represented by o. Students will learn to recognize /o/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (sound you make when a doctor looks down your throat), practice finding /o/ in words, read short o word in letter boxes and further their reading with a decodable book that focuses on the /o/ correspondence.



Elkonin Boxes for each student
Elkonin boxes for the teacher
A set of letters for each child and teacher (m, o, p, l, g, h, a, t, i, n, b, e, d, s, f, r, t)
Chart paper with the tongue twister on it --. Oliver the octopus hopped to Oz.
In the Big Top Educational Insights Phonics Reader
Worksheet containing pictures of words with and without the o = /o/ phoneme (mop, log, hat, tin, bed, stop, trot, frog, frost)

Primary writing paper and pencil for each student



1. Say: Our written language is a secret code. Today we are going to learn about the letter o (Write the letter on the board).  We are going to learn one of the sounds this letter makes.  I hear this sound a lot when I go to the doctor.  My doctor will tell me, "Open up and say Aaah".  Has your doctor ever said this to you?  Well, this is the same sound the letter o makes.  It says /o/.  Let's all say that sound together, /o/...We will learn the special sound that it makes, what it looks like, how to write it, how to hear it whenever we talk, and how to recognize it whenever we read.


2. "We spell /o/ with letter o. Let's see if we can hear this sound in our tongue twister. Remember to listen for that "ahhhhh" sound made with the o". Show tongue twister "Olly the otter swam to the top" and read it. "Now let's all try reading it together. Olly the otter swam to the top. Great job! Now let's see what words in our tongue twister have the /o/ sound in them." Read slowly with the students dragging out each word and discussing whether or not that word contains the /o/ sound. O-lly the o-tter swam to the t-o-p. Very nice! I can see that each of you is holding out that /o/ sound perfectly.


3. "Now that we know how the letter o sounds, let's try writing the letter o. Let me show you how to write the letter o." (Write on board for all students to see). "Start just below the fence. First write a little c, then close it up!  Now let's write one together on our paper.  Remember to start just below the fence. First little c, then close it up!  Great!"


4. "Next we are going to use out letter boxes to spell words with the /o/ sound, but we will also review some words with other vowels so we can hear and see the difference in these vowels and the short o vowel. Remember the sound we make for /o/? It's the sound that you might say at the doctor. Remember, we use the letter o to represent this sound."  (Pass out the boxes and the letters needed.) What if I want to spell the word hop? "Bunnies like to hop" To spell hop in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /h//o//p/. I need 3 boxes. The first sound I hear is /h/, the word starts with /h/, so in my first box I'm going to put a h. Next I heard that /o/ right after the /h/ so I'm going to put an o in the middle or 2nd box. Let's say the word again slowly stretching out the sounds. Hhhhhhhoooooooppppp .I think I heard /p/ at the end right after the /o/ so I'll put a p right after the o to end my word. Now, I want you to try some.  As I call out a word, I want you to put the letters in your boxes.  I will come around and help you if you need some help.   (Tell the students how many sounds there are in each word before you say the word.  This way they will know how many boxes to have ready). 


5. Now, I am going to write some of the words we just spelled on the board.  I want you to read them aloud to me as a class.  If you hear the doctor sound in the word, I want you to raise your hand. Let me show you how and then we will all do this together.  (Write the word log on the board).  This word says, log.  See how our o is in the middle.  This says /o/.  It starts with /l/ and ends with /g/.  Put it all together and this says log.  (raise your hand).  Now you try.  (Write the words from the letterboxes on the board).  Great Job!

6. Next I will have the students to whisper read the book  In the Big Top while I walk around and monitor their progress. "This book is about a family who wants to go to the circus.  They bring a lot of things to the circus with them, but they only have one little car to get them there!  Todd gets in the car first.  Then Roz hops in. Then Rob hops in. Then the dog hops in! Will any more people fit into the car? Will they ever get to the circus?  After their first reading, we will talk about some things they noticed in the story (that deals with the plot).  I will then have them read the book one more time to look for certain aspects to the story, as well as give them lots of practice in decoding the words in the book and to look for words that have the /o/ sound or letter o in it.

7. Next I will pass out a blank sheet of paper and allow the students to draw with crayons and object they can think of with the letter sound /o/ in it

8. For assessment I will pass out a page with boxes of words. Some words will have the /o/ sound and some will not. I will instruct student to color in the boxes with the /o/ sound. I will also have each student come and read two pages of In the Big Top to me at my desk. This will be a good assessment to see whether or not they can distinguish the /o/ sound in a word 





Murray, Bruce. Teaching Letter Recognition.

Whitney Adams, Hop Scotch.

Cushman, Sheila. (1990). Decodable book:  In the Big Top.  Educational Insights.  Carson City, CA

Kerns, Megan.  "Open wide and say aaah."


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