Getting Icky and Sticky with /i/

Beginning Reader

By: Catherine Anne Moulton


Rationale:  Students must develop phonemic awareness in order to identify letters and become effective readers.  It's very important for children to master the short vowels first, since they occur in every word.  The goal for this lesson is for students to be able to identify the short i sound, /i/, by learning a meaningful visual and oral representation of /i/, practice finding /i/ in words modeled by the teacher, and by completing a worksheet.



Poster with grapheme-phoneme listed under picture of icky sticky fingers

Word cards containing: did, fix, kiss, thick, grin, lick

Chart with tongue twister

Book Tin Man Fix It

Assessment worksheet




1. I will introduce the lesson by explaining that letters make up words, and it is important to learn the different sounds of the letters so we can become good readers. First I will build some background information by talking to the class about short vowels. I will say, 'Who remembers some short vowels we have learned?' Then after some discussion, I will say, 'Today, we will work on the short vowel i, which makes an /i/ sound. After we recognize the sound /i/ in spoken words, we will learn how to read i=/i/ in a book.'


2. Pass out cards with grapheme-phoneme and picture to student.  "Pretend you have a big ice cream cone in your hand.  The ice cream is melting and dripping down your hand.  Look at your icky sticky fingers!  Say iiiiiick!  Can you hear the /i/ sound in icky sticky?  Watch my mouth as I say iiiiicky stiiiiicky!  Let's say it together!"


3.  I will say to student, "Now that we have learned the phoneme /i/, I'm going to give you a fun tongue twister to help you with the sound /i/.  I will model the tongue twister with the icky sticky hand gesture; Isabella the Iguana is incredibly itchy.  Let's say it together and listen for the /i/ sound!"


4.  "Let's try to find the /i/ sound in other words that do not start with I.  I will model a word by slowly stretching out that /i/ sound.  Lick.  Liiiick.  Do you hear the /i/ sound?  Great job! Let's try some together.  Can you hear the /i/ sound in mix?  What about spit?  Now, do you hear the /i/ sound in fat or thin?  Snake or lizard? Grin or frown? Fix or brake?


5.  I will read the book Tin Man Fix It to my student.  Before reading, I will give a brief book talk.  'Tim is a tin man who works in a garden with his friend Jim. One day, Tim gets knocked over and falls apart and it is up to Jim to fix him. Do you think Jim can save his friend? We will have to read to find out!' "Every time you hear the /i/ sound, I want you to raise your icky sticky fingers!"  After the book, we will go back over all the words we heard the /i/ sound in.


6.  Next, I will show the word cards, and ask my student to tell me if it says itch or ditch?  "How do we know?  We see the i and know it makes the /i/ sound.  Now you try some.  DID: did or lid? KISS: miss or kiss?  


Assessment: I will give students a worksheet where they can cut, color, and write on.  The words are: igloo, iguana, inch, ink, insect, and a blank spot for them to fill in "what else starts with i?"



Cushman, Sheila. Tin Man Fix It. Educational Insights.

            Carson, CA:1990.

Enchanted Learning, Short I Alphabet Activities Page.


Strowd, Michelle. "Icky Sticky Mess." Auburn University, Alabama, 2002.