"Help! This /i/ is Itching!"

by: Bailey DeBardeleben


One important step to becoming an automatic reader is being able to learn that letters represent certain sounds called phonemes and spellings map out these phonemes in spoken words.  Before new readers can make this correspondence connection between letters to phonemes, they have to be able to recognize the phonemes.  In this "Itchy" lesson, readers will be identifying i =/i/.  They will learn to recognize i = /i/ in spoken words and they will also practice finding /i/ in written words.


Materials:  Primary paper and pencil; a poster with a girl named Izzy at a doctor's office with the captions "Doctor, Fix my itch- it is itching!" Teacher has a list of words he or she will use during the lesson:  bit, cat, miss, stop, pig, dog, mitt, mat, did, dad, six, her. Book:  Liz is Six


1. Introduce the lesson by explaining how our written language is in a secret code and that we are going to try to understand some of that code today.  It is important that we learn what letters stand for, the sounds they make, and to make these sounds we need to know which mouth moves make those particular sounds.  Today, we are going to work on the mouth move /i/.  It may be hard, at first, to hear the /i/ in words, but as you practice /i/, you will be able to find it in many words. Then you'll be an /i/ expert!

2. Ask students:  "Have you ever had an itch?"  Well, the beginning sound of itch is /i/.  Lets all scratch our heads and say,/i/, /i/, /i/as we scratch our heads back and forth faking scratching an itch kind of like a bug bite would feel.

3. We are now going to try a rime on this poster.  "Doctor, fix my itch, it is itching!"  Now, I want us all to say it together three times. Now, say it again and this time really stretch out the /i/ sound like this: "Fiiiiiiiiix my iiiiiiiiiiiitch iiiiiiiiiiit iiiiiiiiis iiiiiiiiiiiitching!" I can hear that itch really well now, can't you?

4. (Have students take out their primary paper and pencil.)  We are now going to write the letter /i/.  I will show you on the board how to make the letter i. First, we start at the fence, go down to the sidewalk making a straight line, and then we put a dot in between the fence and the sky (the teacher models each instruction).  I want each of you to practice writing i.  I am going to come around and look at your i's. Write ten of them and when you're finished itch your head, and I'll come check it!

5. Ask students the following questions.  Call on different students and allow them time to explain how they got their answer.  Do you hear /i/ in Izzy or cat?  Do you hear /i/ in miss or stop?  Do you hear /i/ in pig or dog?  Do you hear /i/ in mat or mitt?  Do you hear /i/ in did or dog?  Do you hear /i/ in six or her?  Now, I want you to listen to some words I am going to say.  If you hear /i/, I want you to say /i/.  If you do not hear /i/, I want you to say no.  (Give words one by one) itch, and, six, days, week, doctor, I, will, have, to, meet.

6. Letter Box Lesson; 2 phonemes: [is, in]; 3 phonemes [bet, big, hit, chip]; 4 phonemes [slid, land, grid]

7. I will now read a story about a little girl who turns six.  I want you to listen very carefully for the /i/ sound.  When you hear /i/, I want you to scratch your head.  List the words the students choose on the board.  Book:  Liz is Six.

8. For assessment, have the students draw a picture of Liz playing with a pig (in the book) and have them write a message about their picture using invented spelling.  The children should put at least one word in their spelling that has the /i/ sound. When they are finished with their invented spelling, have each child come to you one at a time and explain to you what their picture is and what their story says.  Ask the child if he or she has a word in the story he or she has written that has the /i/ sound. 

Reference:  Eldredge, Lloyd J.  Developing Phonemic Awareness.  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Prentice Hall, 1995 (pages 54-57).

Reference Lesson: "Doctor Help! This /i/ is ITCHING!" by Taylor Osborne.



Return to the Caravans index.