Robyn Shields
Emergent Literacy

Ouch! I have a booboo!

Rationale: To learn to read and spell words, children need the alphabetic insight that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words. Before children can match letters to phonemes, they have to recognize phonemes. Of all the phonemes, short vowels are probably toughest to identify. This lesson will help children identify foul in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then practice finding /ou/ in spoken words.

Materials: Primary paper and pencil; chart with “Out from under the couch, came a mouse that lived in my house with his spouse”; class set of cards with ou on one side and ? on the other; drawing paper and crayons; If You Take A Mouse to the Movies by Laura Joffe Numeroff; picture page with couch, mouse, butterfly, house, blouse, trousers, mouth, head, loud, round, cup, cloud.

1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that our written language is a secret code. The tricky part is learning what letters stand for--the mouth moves we make as we say words. Say: Today we’re going to work on spotting the mouth move /ou/. At first /ou/ will seem hidden in words, but as you get to know it, you’ll be able to spot /ou/ in all kinds of words.

2. Ask students: “Did you ever fall and scrape your knee and say /ou/, that hurt? That’s the mouth move we’re looking for in words. Let’s pretend we fell down and say /ou/. /ou/, that hurt!”

3. "Let’s try a rhyming sentence [on chart]. 'Out from under the couch, came a mouse that lived in my house with his spouse.' Everybody say it three times together. Now say it again, and the time stretch out the foul sound in the words. 'Ooouuut from under the cooouuuch, came a mooouuuse that lived in my hooouuuse with his spooouuuse.' Try it again and this time break it apart from the rest of the word:  '/Ou/ t from under the c /ou/ ch, came a m /ou/ se that lived in my h /ou/ se with his sp /ou/ se.' Good job!"

4. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil]. “We can use the letters ou to spell /ou/. Let’s write it. For o, start a little below the fence, go up to touch the fence then, round it around and down to the sidewalk and back up to where you started. For u, start at the fence line. Draw down to the sidewalk, curve over, and back up to the fence, and now, without lifting your pencil, draw straight down to the sidewalk. I want to see everybody’s o and u. After I put a smile on it, I want you to make nine more 0’s and U’s just like it. When you see the letters o and u together in a word, that’s the signal to say /ou/.”

  5.  Model for the students, say: “I have the words in and out. I hear the /ou/ sound in out.” Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Say: “Do you hear /ou/ in Sound or taste? Mouse or cat? Barn or house? Couch or chair? [Pass out ou/? card to each student.] Say: "Let’s see if you can spot the mouth move lout in some words. Show me ou if you hear /ou/ and question mark if you don’t. [Give words one by one] “Out, from, under, the, couch, came, a mouse, who, lived, in, my, house, with, his, spouse.”

6. Read If You Take A Mouse to the Movies and talk about the story. Read it again, and have the students raise their hands when they hear words with /ou/. List their words on the board. Then, have each student draw a mouse and write a message about it using invented spelling. Display their work.

7. For assessment, distribute the picture page and help students name each picture. Ask each student to circle the pictures whose names have /ou/.

Reference: Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
                  Prentice Hall, Inc., 1995. pp.23-49.

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