Jennifer Pegues

Literacy Design—Beginning Reading


Picky Pig


Rationale:   In order for children to learn to read, they must first be aware of the correspondence that exists between a letter and the phoneme it represents.  Short vowels are the most difficult phonemes for children to be aware of and to identify in words.  In this lesson, the children will learn to recognize the correspondence i = /i/ in written words.  They will learn the sound i makes by learning a meaningful representation and how to spell and read words with the i = /i/ correspondence through a letterbox lesson and by reading a book.


Materials:  primary paper, pencils, elkonin boxes for each child, laminated letters for each child (a, b, f, g, h, i, n, p, r, s, t), “copy of Liz is Six” for every child, worksheets for each child (see attached page for example of worksheet)



  1. Discuss the letter i and the sound that it makes /i/.   Write the letter i on the board and ask the children if anyone knows what sound it makes.  “Does anyone know what sound this letter makes?  That’s right, /i/.  Let’s listen for /i/ in this sentence:  The picky pig sits on a big hill.  Can someone come and point to the letter in the word pig that says /i/?  Good job.  The letter “i” is what makes the /i/ in pig.  Can someone tell me another word from our sentence that has /i/ in it?  Great.”
  2. “Now I want you to listen closely to some words and tell me which word has /i/ in it.  Big or small?  Stand or sit?  Swim or walk?  Mountain or hill?  Good job.”
  3. “Now I want to make sure that everyone knows how to write the letter “i”.  Pull out your paper and pencil and practice writing it five times on your paper.  Great job.”  
  4. Begin the letterbox lesson.  “Let’s take out our letterboxes and letters.  Watch what I do so that you know what we are doing.”  Model how to place the letters i and t in the letterboxes to represent the word “it.”  “ I want to spell it.  So I need to figure out what letters make the sounds /i/ and /t/.”  Then take away the letterboxes and say “This word says ‘it.’”
    1. “Now I want you to spell ‘is’ in your letterboxes using your letters.  Can someone tell me how many boxes we need to spell ‘is?’  Good job.  We need two boxes because there are two sounds in the word ‘is.’”
    2. Continue with the letterbox lesson asking the children to spell fin, ran (review word), rib, thin, grip, and spit. 
    3. After completion of spelling the words, write each word on the board, asking a student to read it to you. 
  5. Introduce the book, “Liz is Six” to the class with the following introduction:  “This book is about a girl and her friend who is a pig.  One day something happens when they are playing softball.  Let’s find a partner and read the book together to see what happens.”
  6. Have the children pair up and read the book to each other.
  7. For an assessment, pass out worksheets for the children to work on.  “Boys and girls, I want you to read the sentences on this paper very carefully.  Circle the words that have /i/ in them.  I know you will do a great job.  You can say the words aloud if you need to in order to figure it out.  When you are through with that, color the pictures at the bottom of the page that have an /i/ in their names.

Example of Worksheet

Name:  ______________________


Circle the words that have /i/ in them. 


1.     The big bug ran down the hill.


2.     Billy’s dog licked his chin.


3.     The cat sat on the window sill.


4.     The fin on the fish is red.


5.     Our ribs are inside our body.



Color the pictures whose name has /i/ in it. 










 Carey, Erin.  Nick’s Sticky Icky Fingers.

Thomas, Gina.  Mr. Piggy.

For more information, send an e-mail to Jennifer Pegues

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