This Glue is Sticky!!


Beginning Reading

Shealy Melton



            In order for a child to develop phonemic awareness, they must have an understanding of short vowel sounds.  This concept is essential in order for a child to be a successful reader.  This lesson will help students understand the correspondence i = /i/ by illustrating the concept with memorable tools used in showing them the /i/ sound in spoken and written words.


- Tin Man Fix-It for each student

- Chart with the tongue twister on it (Iggie the Indian is in the igloo)

- Primary paper and pencils for each student

- Letterboxes for each student

- Set of oversized letterbox and letters (teacher copy for board)

- Plastic letters for each student (b, i, t, f, n, h, m, d, d, s, p, w, g, c, c, k, l, r)

- Picture of “icky sticky” (girl with glue on her hands)

- White paper for each student

- Crayons

- Picture page with illustrations [pig, duck, bed, hill, twig, bib, fish, pan, witch,  



  1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that it is very important in reading to know the sounds that different letters make when we see them in words.  “Today we are going to learn a fun way to remember what the letter i says in a word.  Has anyone ever gotten glue that was sticky on their fingers?  When you tried to move your fingers what kind of sound did you make?  ‘iiiick’, Right!  That’s the sound that the short i makes.  Now, let’s all pretend that we have glue on our fingers and we want to try to get it off.  Remember to make the sound when you do it; iiiick!  Good job!  Another way to remember is to say the words ‘icky sticky’ (hold up picture) when you’re doing it, too.  Let’s all try.  ‘Icky sticky!’  Good job!”

     2.  “Now, let’s all look at a tongue twister.  Everybody read it together.  (Iggie the Indian is in the igloo).  Great!  This time when                we say it, every time we hear the /i/ sound, let’s all make the ‘icky sticky’ hand motion and stretch out the /i/ sound.  (Iiiigie the
           Iiii iiiis iiiin the iiiigloo.)  Good job!”

     3.  Have the students tell if they hear the /i/ sound in different words.  “Do you hear /i/ in:  sit or stand?  lip or nose?  small or

     4.  “Now that we have all mastered the /i/ sound, (do “icky sticky” with fingers) we are going to practice writing the letter i.  Take
         out a piece of primary paper and a pencil.  Everyone do what I do
(model on the board/have lines on the board that match their
         paper).  We start at the fence and go down to the sidewalk.  Now, pick up your pencil and give him a dot just above the fence.
Everyone do that 5 more times on your paper while I walk around and make sure that they look right.”

  1. Tell the class to take out their letterboxes and letters.  Have them spread the letters out on their desks.  [Have a big model that will be taped on the board for them all to see, as well as letters.]  “Now we are going to spell words that have the /i/ sound in them.  Each of your boxes will have only one sound in it.  Watch me as I spell the word pig.  P-p-p-i-i-i-g-g-g.  It helps to say the word so you can hear all of the sounds.  The first sound I hear in pig is what?  /p/.  Right.  So, now I put the p in the first box.  Then what sound do I hear?  [Do the ‘icky sticky’]  Right!  I hear /i/, so I’ll put the i in the next box.  What is the last sound I hear?  /g/.  Good job!  Now I put the g in the last box.  Let’s read our word.  P-i-g.  Great!  We have just spelled the word pig!  Let’s see if you can spell these words that have /i/ in them.”  Have students use the letterboxes and their letters to spell the following words:  3 phonemes – bit, fin, him, did, sip.  4 phonemes – twig, click, list.  5 phonemes – split, crisp.  Tell the students exactly how many boxes they will need to use for each set of words.  “Now we’re all going to practice reading and spelling  words with the /i/ sound.  Try to spell them the way I just showed you.  When you’re finished, raise your hand and I’ll come check!”

     6.  Pass out copies of Tin Man Fix-It.  “Today we are going to read Tin Man Fix-It.  This book is about Tim, a tin man who is helping
         his friend Jim plant a garden.  Sid, the big kid, comes by on his skateboard and runs into Tim, making him fall apart.  To find out
         if they can put Tim back together, you’re going to have to read.”
  Have the students read on their own.  If students encounter a
         problem reading, they will raise their hand and wait for teacher assistance.  When they are done, ask them what words they read
         that had the /i/ sound in them.  Write these words on the board. 

     7.  For assessment, pass out the picture page and as a class name each picture.  With the class, read the names of the pictures on
         the page.  Have the students circle the pictures that have the /i/ sound. 


Murray, B. A., & Lesniak, T. (1999). The letterbox lesson: A hands-on approach for
            teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.

Orso, Jordan.  Scary A-a-a-a!.

(1990). Phonics Reader Short Vowel Tin Man Fix-It. Carson, CA (USA), St Albans,
            Herts. (UK): Educational Insights.

Click here to return to Connections.