Beginning Reading

Ellie Buzbee


This lesson will help students identify the short o sound, /o/, from the grapheme o. Students will learn to recognize /o/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (wiping off sweaty foreheads), practicing finding /o/ in words, and applying phoneme awareness in a letterbox lesson and through reading.


Tongue Twister on Chart Paper "Oliver the gave Oscar an octopus in October ;" Doc in the Fog- easy reader decodable book; Letterboxes for every student; Letters for every student- b, c, d, g, h, l, m, o, p, r, s, and t; Dry Erase Board; Dry Erase Marker Word List of /o/ words: 3-log, hot, rod, den, shot, big, pot, 4- stop, clog, block; Phoneme Graphic (a person wiping off their sweaty forehead),Assessment sheet for each student ( list of pseudo words students read to teacher one on one)


1.      Our language is a secret code. We are going to learn how to break this code and read the words that are written.  We are going to learn today about the sound /o/ just like in the words hop and rock.

2.      Can everyone say the word hop? Teacher drags out the word so students are able to hear /o/. The teacher writes the word on the board and again the students say the word again emphasizing the /o/.

3.      It is summer time and it is hot outside. So we are going to need to cool off with a cold glass of water. Let's pretend that we are wiping off our sweaty foreheads after drinking our water, /o/, /o/, /o/. (Pantomime wiping off forehead with back of hand.) When we say /o/, our mouth opens and our jaw drops. From now on every time we hear /o/, we will wipe off our foreheads after drinking our water.

4.      "Now, let's try a tongue twister with the /o/ sound. (Hold up chart.) 'Oliver gave Oscar an octopus in October.' Let's say that together three times while we wipe off our foreheads. We are going to say it again, but this time I want you to stretch the /o/ at the beginning of the words. 'Oooooliver gave Oooooscar an ooooctopus in Oooooctober.' Now, do you think we can make the /o/ sound and pause before saying the rest of the word? ' /o/ liver gave /o/ scar an /o/ ctopus in /o/ ctober.' Great Job Everyone!!!"

5.      Now we are going to play detective and see if we can find the /o/ sound in words. Let me show you how it’s done, "Do I hear /o/ in the word map or mop?"  Let me see if I hear the sound I make when I cool off after my cold water. /m/ /a/ /p/ Hmm, no, I don't cool off with the word map. Let me try mop. /m/ /o/ /p/. Look, I found the sound we make when we are cooling off! I hear /o/ in the word mop. Now we'll try some as a class. Do you hear /o/ in hat or hop? job or jug? dog or dig? pop or pat ? cot or cat?

6.      The teacher will now hand out letterboxes to each student along with the letters needed for the activity.  "When I say a word you try to spell it using your boxes.  Remember each sound you hear goes in one box.  I will show you how to do one.  For example, the word snob.  I hear the sounds /s/ /n/ /o/ and /b/.  So in my first box I would place a s for the /s/ sound.  The next sound I hear is /n/ so I would place the n in the second box.  The third sound I hear is the /o/ sound so I would place the o in the third box.  And finally I hear the /b/ sound so I would place a b in the last box.  I will let you know how many boxes are needed for each word."  "Now it is your turn to try."  Word List:  3-log lid, hot, pig, rod, ring, log, shot, mop, pot,   4- stop, clog, block .

7.      Now I am going to write the words on the board and we are going to read them. The words: pot, rod, shot, dob, log, hot, lob, mop, pot, clog, stop, and block).  There are two pseudo words in this list to see if the students can still read the word. 

8.      In small groups, have students read Doc in the Fog. Teacher can monitor students noting miscues for each student.

9.      As an assessment, one on one each student will read a list of words with the /o/, some of the words in the list will be pseudo words.

[wob, vob, lob, nob, fot, , coz, zob, wop,  nop, zock, grop]


Terry, Meg. "It's hot! Ahhh, lets cool off with o!"

Yow, Caroline. "Open your mouth wide…/o-o-o/"   

Phonics Readers Short Vowels: Doc in the Fog.(1990). Carson, Ca (USA), St. Albans, Herts. (UK):Educational Insights.

Return to Caravans Index.