Icky Sticky Fingers

Beginning Reading

Ashlyn Pouncey

Rationale: In order to be able to read, children must learn to recognize the spellings that map word pronunciations. In this lesson, children will recognize the short vowel i = /i/ in both spoken and written words by practicing reading and spelling words containing i = /i/. The children will all participate individually in a letterbox lesson and practice with recognizing words that have the /i/ sound in them.

Materials: Graphic image of icky sticky, Elkonin Letter Boxes; letters: b, g, p, t, r, c, k, j, l, l, s, n, h, w, m, w; note cards of the letterbox words (in, it, big, spill, milk, Jim, sing, hill, twig, swim, spring) on them (one set of cards for every two students); primary paper and pencils; Lad Is Sick by Bruce Murray


1. Introduce the lesson by showing the students the graphic image of the lady with slimy fingers. Say: Often times, when you see this letter it makes the /i/ sound in many of the words you will come across. Today we are going to work on reading and spelling words with the i = /i/ in them. 

2. A good way to remember this is to think of the sound you would make if you have syrup on your fingers. Wiggle our fingers while we say icky sticky, icky sticky, ick, ick, ick. (Teacher models as she says this). 

3. Write: Jim spilled his milk while singing up the hill. Let's say this tongue twister together. Read it twice. Model how you find /i/ in a word by reviewing the phoneme and how to find the phoneme in words. How many words did you hear the /i/ sound in? 6 Good Job! What were some of those words? I will then write them on the board. Let's repeat this one more time and really emphasize the i = /i/. Erase the words and sentence when finished. 

4. Now I am going to work with the children hearing sounds in different words and being able to pick out the /i/. I am going to ask them: Do you hear the /i/ in ________ or _________? The word choices will be: pin or dog; sink or tub; bid or sat; thin or mom; ship or boat. 

5. Students will take out the letterboxes and letters tiles. Say: Now we are going to work on spelling out some words with the /i/ sound in them. We are going to spell only one sound in each of our boxes when we spell words. Are there any questions? You guys are going to do a great job I know but first I am going to show you an example on the board. /i/ move i to middle box, /d/ move d to first box, and /g/ move g to last box. Dig. Okay, now let's spell some words. 
2 letterboxes: in, it 
3 letterboxes: big, his, pig, Jim, sing, hill 
4 letterboxes: twig, spill 
5 letterboxes: spring.

6. First model reading showing how you identify and pronounce words with the letter /i/, then blending to get the word. In pairs, students will use note cards to practice reading aloud the words from the letterbox lesson. The teacher will observe and assess the students during this part. 

7. Now we are going to read a book called Lad is Sick. This is a story about a little dog that is sad for some reason. We are going to read to find out why Lad is so sad. Children pair up and take turns reading alternate pages while teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads Lad is Sick aloud together, and stops between pages to discuss the plot.

8) To assess reading accuracy and comprehension, students will read a passage individually to me (while I’m also monitoring children in paired reading).


Murray, Bruce and Lesniak T. (1999). The Letterbox Lesson: A Hands-on Approach to Teaching Decoding. The Reading Teacher, 52. 644-650, http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/letbox.html

Murray, Bruce. Lad Is Sick. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html

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