“Howwwwl at the Moon”
Beginning Reading
By: Courtney Gibson

Rational: In order to be a fluent reader, one must be able to recognize a variety of vowel digraphs. These digraphs can consist of two letters that go together to make up one sound. An example of this is ou = /ow/. This means that children must realize that when o and u appear in a written word it makes that the ow sound. With the help of this lesson, students will be able to recognize the ou = /ow/ sound in spoken and written words by stretching out the word to hear the sounds, and then reading and writing words that contain this vowel diagraph.


-The Napping House by Audrey Wood
-Picture of a coyote/dog howling at the moon with an ou = /ow/ written at the bottom.
Elkonin letterboxes for each student (for three and four phoneme words)

-Letters for letterbox lesson contained in an envelope for each student (s, o, u, r, l, d, m, t, h, c, n)
-Poster with tongue twister “Howard the hounds loud mouth howls proudly” written on it
-Index cards with letterbox words on them (sour, loud, mouth, cloud, count, scout, hound)
-Worksheet with pictures for assessment for all students (pictures of thins that have ou=/ow/ sound like: cloud, outfield, outfit, mouth, shout, sour)
-Worksheet with matching pictures and spellings for all students (cloud, mouth, shout, house, couch, ground)
-Dry erase or chalk board (can be large or hand held)
-Dry erase marker or chalk

-Large letterboxes for modeling

-Large letter cards for modeling



1. Introduce the lesson and objective to the students.  Explain how when you fall and get hurt in makes you say, “Owww” and how a coyote howls at the moon and says, “Owww.” Write ou on the dry erase/chalk board. “Who has ever heard a coyote or a dog howl late at night? What does it sound like? That’s right they make an owww sound. Write the ou on the board. These are the letters o and u.  Sometimes when we are reading and spelling o and u come together to make the sound /ow/, just like a coyote. Let me hear you all make the coyote sound. Good job! We are going to find /ow/ in some written words and we are going to spell words with o and u in them that say /ow/.”

2. Take out poster with tongue twister on it, and read this tongue twister to the students. “Howard the hounds loud mouth howls proudly. Now I want everyone to read the sentence with me, Howard the hounds loud mouth howls proudly.  Ok this time I want you to stretch out the /ow/ sound in each word like this (you model first).  Now everybody try it with me. (Read the tongue twister with students).  Good job!”

3. “Boys and girls please take out your letterboxes now and the envelope of letters that I handed out to you.  Now we are going to spell out words with the /ow/ sound in them.  It’s important to remember when we are spelling words that we only put one sound in each box.  Remember that o and u work as a team to spell /ow/, so make sure you put both o and u in one box together.” 

4. On the board you want to model an example for the students.  You can use your larger version of the letter cards and boxes and put them up on the board using sticky-tac. “Ok I want to spell the word shout.  Ok I have my 3 letterboxes out in front of me…shhh shhh (put s and h together in first box), oww oww shhh owww (put the o and the u together in the second box), sh ow t (put the t in the last box).  Ok now I see how to spell shout. I put the s and the h together because they made the /sh/ sound that I heard. Then I put the o and u together in the second box because they made that /ow/ sound.  Then I heard /t/ at the end so that went into the last box.”

5. “Ok boys and girls now I want you to try to spell some words.” Give them the words and make sure they understand how many boxes each word needs.  They don’t have to figure that out themselves. It is important that you emphasize the /ow/ in each word and use each word in a sentence so they can also understand its meaning. For example, “The first word is hound. You will need four letterboxes for this word. I took my hound dog hunting. Hound.” You should do this with all the words below and walk around the room while the students are working so you can give assistance when it is needed. After the students are all through with each word, for the first few you may want to remodel the concept on the board with your larger letters and letterboxes to ensure that students are grasping the concept. Make sure each student has either spelled the word correctly or you have showed them how to do it before moving on to the next word.

Teacher Notes:
3 boxes [shout, loud, mouth]
          I had to pour water on the flowers..
          It was so loud when the space shuttle took off.
          My mouth hurt after I went to the dentist.
4 boxes [hound, cloud, spout, mount]
          I took my hound dog hunting.
         There was not a cloud in the sky when we went to the beach.
         The water came shooting out the spout.
         The farmer brought over a horse for me to mount.

6. Partner the children up.  Give each set of students a set of flashcards with the words that they just spelled on them.  “Now boys and girls I want you and your partner to work together to read the words on these cards.  One partner can be the teacher and the other partner can be the student who will read the words.  Then we will switch.  If you are the teacher then you need to show the cards to your partner one at a time and let them read the word.”  Write hound on the board and model for the students, “I want to read this word…hh oowww nnn d.  Oh its hound!”  Give the students’ time to practice reading and a chance to be the teacher.  Walk around the room helping students who have difficulty.

7. Have everyone gather around to read the The Napping House.  “Ok we are going to read The Napping House today and everybody is sleeping in the house because it’s rainy and stormy outside and perfect for a nap.  But slowly one by one everybody in the house tries to go to Granny’s bed to take a nap.  Her bed is getting crowded…somehow I don’t think this is going to work.  To find out what happens to Granny and all the other characters read The Napping House.” 

8. As an assessment pass out the matching worksheet with the pictures and picture names on it To make the worksheet put things on there that do not contain the ou=/ow/ correspondence and things that do not. “Boys and girls I need you to match the pictures that contain the ou=/ow/ sound that we talked about today with their words.” You may want to have an example of one on the worksheet and model it in front of the class. If time permits, have the students do the second worksheet where they circle pictures that have the ou=/ou/ correspondence, and then write in the name of the object using invented spelling.

Teacher Notes:
Pictures of things you could put on the worksheet that do contain the ou =/ow/ correspondence are; house, outfield, clown, couch, mouse, scout, ground.
-Pictures of things you could put on the worksheet that do not contain the correspondence; women, computer, cup, bowl, window, fan, school.


The Napping House by Audrey Wood (Harcourt Children's Books; 1st  Edition, c 1984.)

      Kasl, Megan. Ow! That Hurts! http://www.auburn.edu/%7Emurraba/invent/kaslbr.html

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