Beginning Reading Lesson


Say: "Ahhh"

By: Noelle Jones

·        Rationale: This lesson is geared to help children recognize the vowel correspondence o= /o/. In order for children to read, they must be able to recognize the spellings that map word pronunciations. The students will learn to identify /o/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful and authentic representation (opening mouth and sticking out tongue slightly, like you would at the doctor’s office and say “ahh”), they will spell and read words with this spelling in a letterbox lesson, and then read a decodable and rhyming book that targets the short o=/o/ correspondence.

·        Materials: Elkonin/ letterboxes; graphic image of a man yawning or at the doctor’s office making the sound “ahhh”; cover-up stick; letter tile manipulatives for each child or board letters for the teacher: b, c, d, d, g, k, l, m, o, r, s, t; list of spelling words on a small poster or note cards to read: odd(2), cob(3), trod(4), stock(4), rock(3), smog(4); text to be read is Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel.

·        Procedures: 1. Say: Our written language is a secret code we can access. The tricky part is learning what the letters stand for and the mouth moves we make as we pronounce each word. We’ve already learned to read the short a vowel sound, like “wahhh” when a baby cries, and today we will learn about short o, such as when we are at the doctor’s office and having to stick our tongue out and say “ahhhh.” When I say /o/ I think of going to the doctor and having him look at my throat while I stick out my tongue and say “ahhh” [show image]. Now we’ll look at how we use /o/ in spelling words that we will learn today. We spell the o=/o/ sound with the letter o.

2. Say: Before we learn about the spelling of the o=/o/ sound, we need to try to listen for it in some words. When I listen for o in words, I don’t hear it say its name, but I listen to see if I am making the sound like we talked about earlier from the doctor’s office, “ahhh.” I feel my mouth open, and if I place my hand under my chin, then I feel it going down as far as it can. While saying the short o vowel sound, I can trace a big letter o around my lips as I’m saying the sound/word to signify the short o sound. Here, I’ll show you first: crop. As I said the word, I heard the “ahhh” sound and traced the letter o around my lips as I said the sound in the word. I now know that there is definitely a short o in the word crop. Now let’s see if it’s in the word broke. Listen and help me see if we here o=/o/ in “bbb-rrr-ooo-kkk.” I didn’t feel my chin moving down as much in broke, and I wasn’t able to make a big O shape around my lips this time. If you hear /o/ say, “Ahh that’s it!” If you don’t hear /o/, say “no that’s not it.” Do you hear it in snooze, slow, stop, zone, hop, step, pain? (Have children make the large O circle motion around their lips when they hear o=/o/.)

3. (MODEL w/ letterboxes) Let me show you how to find /o/ in the word rock. “I threw a rock in the pond.” Write the letter o on your marker board first. To spell rock in my letterbox, I first need to know how many phonemes are in the word, so I stretch it out and count: /r/ /o/ /ck/. I need 3 boxes. I heard the “ahh” sound just before the ck so I’m going to place an o on the second box. I can hear that the word starts with an r, so I’m going to place an r in the first box. I also heard /k/, and I know we spell rock with a ck at the end, so I’ll put ck in the last box together.

4. Now I’d like you to spell some of the words in the letterboxes. First, you will spell out an easy word with two boxes for odd. Something that is odd is out of the ordinary or strange, “it is odd for Ms. Jones to be late because she is always punctual.” What should go in the first box? (respond to answers). The second box? I’ll check your spelling as I walk around the room (observe). We’ll use 3 boxes for the next word: cob. “I ate corn on the cob with my lunch; cob.” [Follow this same procedure for the remaining words: trod(4), stock(4), rock(3), smog(4)].

5. Say: “Now I’m going to let you read the words that you have spelled, but first I’ll show you how I would read a difficult word.” [display prong on your poster or whiteboard and model reading the word.] After you have modeled this, have the students read the word in unison. Then, call on individual students to read one word. Then have the class read all of the words we’ve spelled. Afterwards, call on students to read one word on the list until all have read one word.

6. Say: “I’m so proud of you all. Each of you has done a wonderful job with reading our new words with our spelling for /o/ as “ahhh.” Next we are going to read a book called Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel. This is a story about two friends who enjoy swimming. Frog and Toad agreed: it was a perfect day for a swim. And Frog was kind enough not to look at Toad in his bathing suit, per Toad's request. But when the swimming was over, a crowd had gathered to see Toad in his funny-looking suit, and neither Frog nor Toad could make them leave.

7. Well that was a fun story! Before we finish our lesson on the short o vowel, I want to see how well you can complete our spelling and reading worksheet. On this worksheet, we have a few words that are missing. I’d like you to see if you can figure out which words to write in the blanks. I’ll help you with the first few, and then I want you to complete the rest of them on your own. We’ll first read through all of the word choices together, and then start placing the right words in the missing blanks. Before you turn in your worksheet, be sure to check your work.

·        Resources:

Bonnie Terry, LD Specialist:


Sarah Dennis-Shaw, “Teaching Short-Vowel Discrimination Using Dr. Seuss Rhymes.” Read Write Think. Web. 27 February 2012. < >


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