Rationale: To learn to read and spell words, children need the alphabetic insight that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out phonemes in spoken words. Before children can match letters to phonemes, they have to recognize phonemes. Short vowel phonemes are very important, and probably the hardest for children to learn. This lesson will help children identify /o/ (short o). They will learn to recognize /o/ in spoken words, a letter symbol to represent /o/, and will have practice in identifying /o/ in words.
Materials: Primary paper and pencil; poster with “Oscar the octopus was visiting the ostrich named Oliver in Oxford;” star stickers, popsicle sticks for whole class, In the Big Top; picture page with top, bag, clock, sock, dog, sun, mop, spot, frog, drum, hat, pig.
Procedures: 1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that some of the sounds we make depend on the way our mouth is shaped. Today we’re going to work on shaping our mouths the way we need to, to say /o/. /o/ is in many words that we use every day, and we’re going to learn to notice /o/ in these words.
2. Ask students: Have you ever been to the doctor and said /o/ when they looked at your throat? That sound and the shape our mouth makes are what we’re going to be looking for in words. Let’s pretend we’re at the doctor and having our throats checked…/o/.
3. Let’s try a tongue twister (on poster). “Oscar the Octopus was visiting the ostrich named Oliver in Oxford.” We’re going to say it three times together. Now, let’s say it again, but this time stretch out the /o/ at the beginning of words. “OOOscar the OOOctupus was visiting the ooostrich named OOOliver in OOOxford.” Very good!
4. Ask students to take out primary paper and pencil. We can use letter o to spell /o/. Let’s write it together. Start at the window. Curve around to the ground like little c, but keep going back around to the window where we started. I’m going to look at everyone’s o. When I put a star on your paper, write nine more o’s.
5. Does everyone know the song Skip to My Lou? We’re going to change the words and sing: “Who has a word that has an /o/? Has, has, has an /o/? Who has a word that has an /o/? Skip to my Lou, my darling!” Then call out a word with /o/ in it like stop. Then we’ll sing: “Stop is a word that has an /o/. Has, has, has an /o/. Stop is a word that has an /o/. Skip to my Lou, my darling!” Repeat song three times, each time with a new /o/ word.
6. Read In the Big Top and talk about the story. Before reading the story again say: When we go to the doctor they put a stick in our mouths when we say /o/. They are almost like popsicle sticks. (pass out popsicle sticks) We’re not going to put our popsicle sticks in our mouths, but we are going to hold them up high when we hear a word in the story with /o/ in it. List the words they hear in the board and go over them after the story.
7. For assessment, distribute the picture page and help students name each picture. Ask students to circle the pictures whose names have /o/.
Reference: Eldredge, J. Lloyd. (1995). Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. p. 59.
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