"OU"—O U Hurt Me!
Katy Locklin

Rationale: To learn to read and spell words, children need to break the alphabetic code and understand digraphs in order to match letters to phonemes.  This lesson will help children recognize the digraph ou = /ow/ in both written and spoken words by reading and spelling words with ou = /ow/.

Materials: Elkonin letter boxes; letters (o, u, t, s, r, m, h, f, l, d, c, n, p); primary paper and pencils; The Napping House by Audrey Wood; list of ou = /ow/ words from book

Procedure:
1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that one way to write the /ow/ sound is with ou (write this on board).  When these two letters are together they sometimes make the /ow/ sound.  Today we will be reading and writing words with the ou = /ow/ sound.

2. One way to help us remember this sound is to think of the sound you make if someone were to hit you—/ow/.  To help remember the spelling, after someone hits you, you would say /ow/, O U hurt me.  The O U part will help remember the spelling the /ow/ sound makes—ou = /ow/.

3. Let's try a tongue twister (write on board).  "The mouth of the south shouted out loud "That was a foul"!"  Everybody say it together.  Good job!  How many words have the ou = /ow/ sound?  You are right, six words.  Now let's say it again, but this time let's stretch out the /ow/ sound.  "The mou-ou-outh of the sou-ou-outh shou-ou-outed ou-ou-out lou-ou-oud, "That was a fou-ou-oul"!"  Great job!

4. Students will be given letterboxes with letters.  "Now we will be spelling some words with the /ow/ sound in them.  Each box contains one sound, so for every word we spell, you put the corresponding letter(s) that matches the sound you hear in that box.  We know that ou together makes only one sound, so we will put those two letters in one box showing that they represent one sound.  Are there any questions?"  I will model an example on the board.  I will spell our using two letterboxes—/ou/r/.  Let's spell some words: out (ou-t), sour (s-ou-r), mouth (m-ou-th), foul (f-ou-l), loud (l-ou-d), shout (sh-ou-t), south (s-ou-th), cloud (c-l-ou-d), round (r-ou-n-d), and proud (p-r-ou-d).

5. We will play a phoneme matching game to review our letterbox words.  Take out your paper and pencil.  I will be calling out some riddles and I want you to write down the answer on your paper.
· I am thinking of what we do when we leave our house.  We go ____ the door.  Its name begins with an /ow/ sound.
· I am thinking of what a lemon tastes like.  Its name has an /ow/ sound in the middle.
· I am thinking of something on our faces.  We eat with this.  Its name has an /ow/ sound in the middle.
· I am thinking of something that happens in baseball.  If the ball is hit outside the baselines it is considered a ____ ball.  Its name has an /ow/ sound in the middle.
· I am thinking of what we do when we scream.  We get ____.  Its name has an /ow/ sound in the middle.
· I am thinking of something we might do to get someone's attention that is across the playground.  We might ____ his name.  Its name has an /ow/ sound in the middle.
· I am thinking of a direction.  Its name has an /ow/ sound in the middle.
· I am thinking of something in the sky.  Its name has an /ow/ sound in the middle.
· I am thinking of what shape a ball is.  Its name has an /ow/ sound in the middle.
· I am thinking of something I am when you all do something good.  You make me very ____ of yourselves.  Its name has an /ow/ sound in the middle.
As I am calling them out, I will go around and check to make sure everyone is doing okay.  When I am through, we will go over the answers.

6. Students will read The Napping House to practice reading with ou = /ow/.  There is also review of old concepts in text by reading it.

7. For assessment, I will have a list of the ou = /ow/ words from the text and I will have each student read me the words.

References:
Murray, B. & Lesniak, T. (1999) The Letterbox Lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.
Eldredge, J. Lloyd. (1995). Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall. (p. 63-66)
Wood, A. (1984). The Napping House. New York, N.Y.: Scholastic.
www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/illum.buckbr.html

For further information, send e-mail to klocklin@mindspring.com