The Ghost says "Boo!"

Lesson Design for Beginning Readers



by Cassie Keith

After learning to recognize phonemes in spoken words, children need to develop alphabetic insight and awareness in order to identify graphemes that correspond with the learned phonemes. It is important for beginning readers to be able to identify correspondences in order to read accurately and fluently.  This lesson focuses helping children identify that oo=/OO/.  This goal will be met by having students do a letterbox lesson to spell words with oo=/OO/ in them and by reading a decodable book to practice reading words with oo=/OO/ in them.


Primary Paper and pencil

sentence strip with tongue twister on it (The moose and the goose escaped from the zoo and sat on a roof to eat some food.)

Elkonin letterboxes and letter tiles for every student

Elkonin letterboxes and letter tiles for teacher

Overhead Projector

flashcards with letterbox lesson words written on them (moo, boot, loop, heat, roof, cope, proof, scoop. drool, troop, school)

flashcards with pseudowords written on them (noo, choop, proosh, rood)

Ooey Gooey by Erica Farber and J.R. Sansevere (Step into reading. A Step 1 book) Random House.--a copy for each student



Introduce the lesson by explaining that reading and writing is like using a secret code and that every letter we see has a certain sound that goes with it.  "Today we are looking at the letter o.  (Write an o on the board.)  Now we already know that o can say /o/ or /O/.  But have you ever seen it two o's together like this? (write oo on the board).  Two o's together like that make the /OO/ sound.  Make that sound with me /OO/.  This sound is like the sound a ghost makes isn't it? Put your hands up in the air and wiggle your fingers down like a ghost.  Now do that while saying the /OO/ sound with me." 


Take out the sentence strip that has the tongue twister on it.  "Here is a tongue twister that I want us to say together. I am going to read it once, and then I want all of us to read it together. The moose and the goose escaped from the zoo and sat on a roof to eat some food. Good. Now this time I want to really stretch out the /OO/ sound in each word, and every time you hear the /OO/ sound, I want you to make the ghost gesture okay? Let's try it.  The m/OO/se and the g/OO/se escaped from the z/OO/ and sat on a r/OO/f to eat some f/OO/d.  Good job.  Let's try it one more time. (repeat tongue twister). Great!"


Ask the following questions to the students: Do you hear /OO/ in fork or spoon?  ceiling or roof? spit or drool? rough or smooth?


Now use the Elkonin letterboxes to do a class letterbox lesson.. Explain that some of the words are going to be review words.  Give each student their Elkonin letterboxes and letter tiles that correspond with the words that you use (in this case they will need the following letters: o, o, b, t, l, p, f, d, h, e, a, t, r, c, s, m). Put your letters and letter boxes on the overhead and model how to do a word in case thy have forgotten. „Let's start with the word food.  I need three boxes out because there are three sounds in this word.  I hear the /f/ sound first so I will put an f in the first box.   /f/-/oo/∑ I hear the /oo/ sound next and we just learned how  to make the /oo/ sound! So I will put oo in the middle box. The last sound I hear is /d/, so I will put a d in the last box. Now I have spelled food.š Then tell the students each word that you want them to spell.  Give them a sentence for each and explain the meanings of the word if you have to: moo, boot, loop, heat, roof, cope, proof, scoop. drool, troop, school. As they are working, walk around the classroom and make sure everyone understands. Give all of the students time to come up with an answer before moving on to the next word.  If a student misspells a word, read it to them just as they have spelled it, then tell them the original word again. If they still can‚t get it, give them the word spelling. After each word, model the correct spelling on the overhead before moving on to the next word.


When students are finished spelling all of the words, take out the flashcards with the words on them that they just spelled.  Ask the students to read the words to you.  "What is this word? You're right! Good job."  Make sure to let each student read at least one word, and then read them together as a class.


Introduce the decodable book: Ooey Gooey. „Now we are all going to read Ooey Gooey. Captain Short Bob is a pirate king.  He cooks up a dish of bubble gum and tuna fish, but while he does that, he loses his gold tooth to a sea beast! How will he get it back?  You will have to read to find out what happens.š Have students take turns reading sentences. Practice by finding the /oo/ sounds and reading with expression.


Have students do an invented spelling message. „Write a short message about a ghost." While they are doing this, the students can come up to be assessed. 


To assess each student, I will have them each read a few paragraphs from Ooey Gooey to me while I take miscue notes.  This way I will be able to see if they understand that oo=/OO/.  I will also ask them to read the pseudowords from flashcards (noo, choop, proosh, rood).





1. Erica Farber and J.R. Sansevere. Ooey Gooey. Random House. 1998.


2. Berryhill, Stefanie. /OO/ That's Cool!


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