"Icky, Sticky Iguana"
Beginning Reading Lesson Design
Andrea Williams


    In order to read and spell words, children must have the knowledge of the alphabetic principle, the idea that letters represent phonemes and spellings map out phonemes in spoken words.  Knowledge of letter-sound correspondences must be present in order for children to successfully decode words and have future reading success.  Furthermore, being able to decode words with appropriate speed and ease is essential for fluent reading.  Short vowel are among the first letter-sound correspondences taught in beginning reading instruction.  This lesson is aimed at helping children identify the correspondence i = /i/.  Children will learn the sound that makes by learning a meaningful representation, and they will learn to identify /i/ in spoken words.  In addition, children will learn to spell and read words with the i = /i/ correspondence through the use of a letterbox lesson and by reading a new book.

1. Primary paper and pencils for each child
2. Letterboxes and letters (i, s, t, n, l, p, k, f, a, e, g, m, k, and w)
3. Chart with "Iggy is an icky, sticky iguana."
4. Large Elkonin letterboxes and letters for teacher
5. Copies of Liz is Six for each student (Educational Insights)
6. List of words used in letterbox lesson (2-{is}, 3-{sit, tin}, 4-{slip, milk, lift}, 5-{swift})
7. Chalk
8. Handout with pictures of a fish, a twig, an inch, a kid, and a pig (also include pictures of words without the i = /i/ correspondence)

1. Introduce the lesson by explaining to the students that they are going to learn about the letter i and its corresponding sound.  "We are going to learn i = /i/.  The letter i is a vowel that we see in many words.  I am sure that you remember the other vowels that we have learned so far, a and e.  Do you know why the letter i is so important?  We find i in so many words like milk, hit, kick, and drip.  Today, we are going to learn how to spell and read words that have i = /i/."
2. Show children a gesture for remembering i = /i/.  "Have you ever gotten something really sticky on your hands, like glue?  Well, to remember the /i/ sound, I want you to make this motion with your hands.  (Model rubbing your hands together as if something were stuck on them.)  Great!  We are about to do a tongue-twister, and every time you hear /i/ in a word, I want you to rub your hands together like something sticky is on them."
3. Practice finding /i/ in spoken words.  "I want you to practice findin /i/ in spoken words.  Do you hear /i/ in lick or slurp?  chip or chew?  lace or lip?  Very good!"
4. Have children direct their attention to the tongue-twister chart.  "To practice our /i/ sound, let's say a tongue-twister.  Remember to make our motion when you hear /i/.  (Model the tongue-twister and get the students to repeat.)  Let's say it again, but this time, I want you to really stretch out the /i/ in each word.  IIIIggy iiiiiiis an iiiiiiicky stiiiiiiicky iiiiiiiguana.  Did everyone hear the /i/ sound?  Great!"
5. Hand out the letters and letterboxes to each student.  Words included are is, sit, tin, slip, milk, and lift.  Review words are lap and peg.  "Today, we are going to do a letterbox lesson using i = /i/.  Everyone turn your letters over so that only the lower case sides are showing.  Each of your boxes represents a phoneme, or sound, in a word.  Be sure to listen so that you can hear how many boxes you will use for each word.  I will show you an example of how to spell a word.  For my word, I have three phonemes.  So, I am going to use three boxes.  (Model how to spell sit by sounding out each of the phonemes and placing the appropriate letters in the letterboxes.)  Now, I am going to show you how to read a word."  (Model how to read lift using body-coda blending.  The letter i says /i/.  First, I have /i/.  Then I will add /l/.  Finally, I will add the /f/ and /t/ to make "lift.")  The teacher will then proceed with the letterbox lesson.  Start with two phoneme words and move up to five phoneme words.  After each word is spelled, the teacher should walk around the room to check each student's work.  If a student misspells a word, the teacher should pronounce the word as it appears and ask the student to fix the word.  After the spelling of each word, the teacher writes the word on the chalkboard.
6. After spelling all of the words, have students read the words as the teacher spells them.  "After everyone has spelled all of the words, we are going to read them.  I am going to use my large letters to spell the words, and you will read them."  The teacher should pay close attention to each student to assess whether or not the child is able to read each word.  If a child cannot read a word, the teacher should use body-coda blending to facilitate reading. 
7. Hand out copies of "Liz is Six "to each student.  "Now, we are going to read a story called Lis is Six.  This book is about Liz, a little girl who is having a birthday party.  One of her presents is a mitt.  She and her friend, a pig, play a game of softball with Liz's new mitt.  It is a very close game.  We need to read the book to find out who wins!"
8. Have students read "Lis is Six."  "Everyone is going to read the book.  While you read, I will be walking around the room to hear your reading."
9. Help the students identify the pictures on the handout.  "Everyone take out his or her picture handout.  Let's help one another identify the pictures."  The teacher should walk around the room and make sure each child had identified the pictures.
10. Have each student write a message while other students are being called to the teacher's desk.  "I want each of you to think about your most favorite activity.  For example, in our story, Liz enjoyed playing softball.  After you have chosen your activity, write a message."

    For assessment, each child should individually come up to the teacher's desk.  Each child should bring the picture handout.  The teacher may say, "I want you to circle all of the pictures that show words containing /i/.  Then, I want you to choose a word that you would like to write."  (Provide primary paper.)  For other assessment, the teacher could have each student individually read Lis is Six.  The teacher could take a running record of the student's miscues. 

1. Eldredge, J. Lloyd, Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Upper Saddle River, NJ. 1995.
2. www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insp/ritterbr.html. Icky Sticky!!!! by Shannon Ritter
3. www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insp/hillbr.html. Icky Sticky Pig by Courtney Hill.
4. Murray, B.A., & Lesniak, T. (1999). The Letterbox Lessoon: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.
5. Liz is Six. Educational Insights, 1990.

Click here to return to Connections.