Emergent Literacy
Katy Locklin

Rationale: To learn to read and spell words, children need to understand that letters stand for phonemes and to know the alphabetic principle, which the spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words.  Before children can connect letters to phonemes, they have to recognize phonemes.  Short vowels are probably the hardest phonemes to identify.  This lesson will help children identify /o/ (short o), one of the short vowels.  They will learn to recognize /o/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then practice finding /o/ in words.

Materials: primary paper and pencil; chart with "Dot locked up Tod's fox and mom said, "Hot Dog"!"; drawing paper and crayons; In the Big Top (Educational Insights); picture page with dog, bug, frog, ox, bat, table, log, top, wig, sun, and mop.

1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that writing is a special code.  The tricky part is learning what letters stand for the mouth moves we make as we say words.  Today we are going to work on spotting the mouth move /o/.  At first /o/ will seem hidden in words, but as you get to know it, you will be able to spot /o/ in all kinds of words.

2. Ask students: Have you ever gone to the doctor and had the tongue depressor put in your mouth for him to look at your throat?  What is the sound he has you make?  That is right /o/.  That is the mouth move we are looking for in words.  Let's try it together.  I will be the doctor, "Open up and say /o/."  Good job.

3. Let's try a tongue twister (chart).  "Dot locked up Tod's fox and mom said, "Hot Dog"!"  Everybody say it together.  Now say it again and this time, stretch out the /o/ sound.  "Do-o-ot lo-o-ocked up To-o-od's fo-o-ox and mo-o-om said, "Ho-o-ot Do-o-og"!"  Good job.

4. Take out your paper and pencil.  We can write the letter o for the sound /o/.  Let's write it.  Start a little under the fence, curve down to the sidewalk, and curve over and back up to the fence.  Now I want you to do a whole row of o's.  When you see the letter o, all by itself in a word, that's the signal to say /o/.

5. We will sing a song to enhance phonemic awareness with /o/.  The song is as follows (to the tune of Skip to my Lou):
 Who has a word that has an /o/?
 Has, has, has an /o/?
 Who has a word that has an /o/?
 Skip to my Lou, my darling!

 Dog is a word that has an /o/.
 Has, has, has an /o/.
 Dog is a word that has an /o/.
 Skip to my Lou, my darling!
We will make sure we go around the room so everyone has a chance to participate.  I will model how to the first verse.

6. Read In the Big Top and talk about the story.  Reread it, having the students raise their hands when they hear words with /o/.  Write the words on the board.  Have students choose a word from the board and draw a picture and write a message about it using invented spelling.  Display their work.

7. For assessment, give each student a picture page and help students name each picture.  Ask the students to circle the pictures whose names have /o/.

Eldredge, J. Lloyd. (1995). Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall. (p. 23, 59)
In the Big Top (Educational Insights)

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