The Icky Sticky Insect


Beginning Reader

Michael Norris


Rational: This lesson will focus on the correspondence i=/i/. Its purpose is to help students understand the sound and spelling of /i/.  Vowels are used to spell all words in our vocabulary, so therefore it is important for students to understand the phoneme and grapheme of each vowel.  In this lesson, students will be able to identify the /i/ (short i) in spoken words, give it a meaningful name, and learn to spell words using the short I (/i/).

Materials: Primary Paper, Pencils, Poster with “The important insect was ill with injuries in his wings.”Tin Man Fix-it (Educational Insights, phonics reader), Flash cards with the words: it, sit, did, fit, pig, tin, kiss, rip, and swiss.

Procedures: 1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that our written language is a secret code. It is a combination of letters that make certain sounds by moving our mouths certain ways. Today we are going to learn what mouth movement we make when we use the letter i and what sound it makes as a short i (i=/i/).

2. Ask students have you ever gotten gum in your hair or glue on your fingers?  What did it feel like?  Was it icky and sticky?  Let’s all say that together icky and sticky.  Now let's say it real slow, iicckkyy and ssttiicckkyy.  Good.  Do you hear the /i/ in those two words?  Good.  Let's all say those words one more time real, real slow.  Iiiiicccckkkkyyyy  ssssttttiiiicccckkkkyyyy.  For now on we will call the /i/ sound icky sticky.  This will help us remember what sound the /i/ makes.

3.Let's take a look at a tongue twister (poster). The important insect was ill with injuries from investing in wings. Now let’s all say it 3 times together. Good! Now every time we hear the sound /i/ lets stretch it out and say it loud. The iiimportant iiinsect was iiill wiiith iiiinjuries from iiiinvesting iiiin wiiiings. Good! Now let’s say it one more time, but this time lets break the /i/ sound out of the word and say it separately. The /i/mportant /i/nsect was /i/ll w/i/th /i/njuries from /i/nvestigating /i/n w/i/ngs.

4. [Pass out primary paper to students.  Have them use their pencil.]  The letter i is used to spell /i/.  Let's all practice writing our i on our paper.  Start at the fence and draw a straight line down the sidewalk.  Lift up your pencil and dot the line above the fence.  Everybody hold up your paper and let me see your i.  Very good.  Now I want everyone to make me ten more i's using the pattern I gave you.  When everyone is finished put your pencil down on your desk.  For now on when you see the letter i all by itself you will know it makes the /i/ sound.

5. I am going to show you how to pick out the /i/ in the word dig. We know i says /i/ in the middle of a word. At the beginning of the word d says /d/ and the last letter g says /g/. When we put those sunds together, we get “dig!” I am going to stretch out the word dig very slow and I want you to listen for icky sticky. D-d-d-i-i-i-g-g-g. Let’s try it again, I don’t think I heard it that time. D-d-d-i-i Wait! There it is, the sticky icky. Did you hear it? Let’s all say it together real slow. D-d-d-i-i-i-g-g-g. Good Job!

6.Call on students to answer and tell how they knew:  Do you hear /i/ in is or up?  Lid or bad?  Rig or get? Thin or teeth?  Trick or treat?  Did or bad?  Now let's see if you can find the mouth move in some words.  If you hear the /i/ sound in a word raise your hand.  If you do not hear the /i/ sound in a word keep your hand on your desk. 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.

7.Read Tin Man Fix-It and talk about the story. Every time you hear a word with /i/ I want you to raise your hand.  I will write the words on the board when we come across them.  After the story have students write about an insect using inventive spelling.

8.Assessment: Pass out a picture page and have the students circle the pictures whose name has the sound /i/.  After they have circled their picture have them name the picture using inventive spelling.



·         Murray, B.A., & Lesniak, T. (1999).  The Letterbox Lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding.  The Reading Teacher, 644-650.

·         The Icky Stick Indian by Melissa Hensley


Return to Caravans