Hungry Ollie Octopus
Emergent Literacy
Michelle Copeland

Rationale:  Children must be able to understand that the different letters of the alphabet stand for phonemes.  Children must be able to identify these individual sounds in words to be able to read and write.  They need to have the chance to hear and identify the different phonemes in words.  This lesson will help children identify the phoneme /o/ short /o/, one of the short vowels.  They will learn to recognize /o/ sound in written and spoken words, and also practice finding /o/ in words.

Materials:  Poster board with an octopus drawn and colored and a hole cut out for its mouth; red construction paper cut into crab shapes; a marker to write the following words on the crab cut-outs:  box, taps, fog, pot, big, dog, hat, mop, red, got; drawing paper, crayons, primary paper, and pencils; Doc in the Fog (Educational Insights); chart with “Ollie the Octopus likes to eat hot crabs often.”; velcro for octopus and crabs, primary paper and pencil

1. Introduce lesson by telling the children that words have many different sounds in them that are made by our mouth moves.  To be able to read and write, we must be able to hear and know these sounds.
2. Tell the class that the sound we are going to learn today id the short o=/o/ sound, such as octopus and hot.  The short /o/ is made when we are really hot and we take a drink of something really cold.  After the cold drink goes down we say /o/ as in oooctopus and ooolie.  Lets all say /o/ together.  Have octopus and hot written on the board and have students read them out loud together.  Today we are going to learn to write the /o/ sound by using the letter o.  Let’s write it.  Start at the fence line.  Now, curve over and down to the sidewalk.  Then, without picking up your pencil, curve back up to the fence line where you started.  Let me see everybody’s o.  After I see it, I want you to make none more just like it.  Now when you see this letter in words, you will know to say /o/.
3. Have students try a tongue twister that is written on the chart.  “Ollie the Octopus likes to eat hot crabs often.”  Now, say it again, and this time, stretch the /o/ when you get to it in a word.  “Ooolie the Oooctopus likes to eat hooot crabs oooften.”  Try it again, and this time break it off the word, “/O/llie the /O/ctopus likes to eat h/o/t crabs /o/ften.”  Good job!
4. I have written some words on each crab and I need you to tell me if they have the short /o/ sound in them.  The crabs will be velcroed on the tentacles of the octopus.  If they contain the short /o/ sound, Ollie gets to eat them.  I am going to point to a word and I want you to repeat it after me.  If the word has the short /o/ sound, then I want you to put your hand to your mouth as if you were eating.  If it does not, remain still for me.
5. Once I have explained the game, I will model one with and without the short /o/ sound.  Class, this crab has the word top on it and it has the short /o/ sound, so Ollie gets to eat it (put it in the octopus’ mouth).  Now, this crab has the word lip on it and it does not contain the short /o/ sound, so Ollie does not get to eat it.  Okay, does everyone understand?  Good. Let’s begin.
6. Have students draw an octopus on the drawing paper with their crayon.
7. Read Doc in the Fog and talk about what happens in the story.  Read the story again, and have students raise their hand when they hear the /o/ sound.  Write the word on the board as they are writing it on their octopus drawing.  Have them write a message at the bottom using invented spelling.  Display their work.
8. For assessment, have the words on a piece of paper and distribute to each student Read the words out to them and have them underline the ones with the short /o/ sound.
Reference:  I expanded on the idea for this lesson from Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms and from Dr. Bruce Murray’s work, Auburn University.
Eldredge, J. Lloyd.  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Brigham Young University. Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1995.p.61.

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