Rational: This lesson is designed to help children learn to identify the sound a letter makes. Letters stand for phonemes, and before a child can distinguish how letters match phonemes, they have to recognize the phonemes first. They will learn to recognize and identify the correspondence i=/i/. By learning this correspondence, they will become more fluent readers
Materials: A large picture with "Mickey the Insect" on it, without his six legs; six insect legs that are sticky to be put on the legless " Mickey the Insect;" the book, In the Garden (Educational Insights), A piece of paper to record a running record as well as a pen/pencil to do this. A List of words to use in the letterbox lesson (2 phoneme: in, it):( 3 phoneme: icky, mit, fix): (4 phoneme: risk). Letterboxes, laminated letters that are cut into individual ones, including the laminated letters: i, n, t, k, y, m, f, x, r, s, and the letters c and k taped together to represent the phoneme ck=/k/. You will also need a standard pencil for your student and a worksheet numbered 1-5, with adequate space to draw in between each one; this material will be used in the assessment activity.
1. First, introduce the lesson by explaining that each letter makes its own sound, such as i=/i/. You can do this by saying the representation: "Icky Mickey the Insect." Then allow the student to repeat this representation to you. Demonstrate its use in realistic events such as an alarm going off: i….i….i…Have the student repeat this to you, ensuring its understanding. Then explain to the student how he/she will find the sound i=/i/ in many words such as "icky" and "insect."
2. Now place two letterboxes in front of the child as well as the ten phonemes, instructing the child to turn them over to the lower-case side, allowing the child to "help" the teacher out. At this time you should have the picture (body) of Mickey the Insect out as well as the six legs that will be stuck onto "Mickey the Insect" as the student gets the letterbox correct. As the words progress through the number of phonemes, the size of the letterboxes will get larger. Repeat the letterbox lesson with the six words and legs until "Mickey the Insect" is put back together so he can run back: In the Garden.
3. Next, place the letterboxes away and spell the words for the child asking him/her to read the words to you. Tell him/her that it is their turn to read them to you because they did such a good job sounding them out, encouraging and motivating each step of the way.
4. Lastly, give the child the book, In the Garden and ask him/her to read it to you. As the child reads this book, make sure you are taking a running record of the child's miscues as he/she reads, allowing you to know which correspondences need to be worked on. Make sure your student holds the book while he/she is reading to you; this is a very important element with "Beginner Readers."
5. For an assessment
activity, repeat the representation: "Icky Mickey the Insect,"
and allow the child to repeat after you. This will reinforce the correspondence
i=/i/. Then, give the child an activity worksheet numbered 1 to 5, with a large
drawing space in between each number. For the instructions tell the student you
will be calling out two words for each number, he/she needs to draw a picture of
the word that makes the sound /i/. Get everything organized once again with
adequate drawing space and encourage him/her to do their best!. "You know
he/she can!" Say: #1, which word says /i/: pig or log? Draw it! Repeating the
next four questions as is
#2. lap or mit?
#3. Mickey (Mouse) or sat?
#4. dog or insect?
#5. leg or kid?
~ Murray, B.A., & Lesniak, T. (1999). The Letterbox Lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher, 644-650
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