Open Wide Ollie

Beginning Reading Design

Courtney Smith



Rationale:  It is critical for beginning readers to clearly understand the alphabetic principle.  Vowels are the hardest concept to learn so there needs to be plenty of practice.  This lesson is designed to have the children recognize, spell, and read words that contain the correspondence o=/o/.  The students will learn meaningful representation of the letter and have plenty of practice with written and spoken words which contain o=/o/.  



-Primary paper and pencils

-Chart with the following sentence written “Oliver had and operation in October, and Oscar gave him an octopus."

-Large letterboxes for teacher

-Small letterboxes for students

-Letters for each student- t, h o, p, f, r, s, d, g, a, f, l

-Picture sheet with some words with o and some without- dog, top, stop, doctor, popcorn

-Book: In the Big Top, Educational Insights (1990)



*Whole Class

  1. Today we are going to learn about a new vowel.  It is “o” and it makes the /o/ sound (o=/o/).  “Can anyone else raise their hand and tell me some other vowels.  The short vowel o is important because it makes words like top, dog, spot, and stop.  Today we are going to work on spelling, writing and reading words that have /o/ sound in them.” 


  1. “To make the /o/ sound we open our mouths wide like your yawing.  Now  

           let’s pretend we’re yawing and make the /o/ sound.  We now look like    

           we’re yawing while making the /o/ sound.”


  1. “Now let’s try our tongue twister.  Repeat this after me.  "Oliver had an operation in October, and Oscar gave him an octopus."

  Repeat till firm.  Now stretch it out and act like your yawing

when you hear the /o/ sound.  “O-o-oliver had an  o-o-operation in O-O-October, and  O-O-Oscar  gave him  an  o-o-octopus."


  1. “We are going to do a letterbox lesson today.”  Words used in the letter  

      box lesson include:  top (3), dog (3), hot (3), spot (4), stop (4), frost (5);      

      review words from the previous lesson:  lap (3) and flat (4).  Teacher    

      hands out one kit per student.  “I need everybody to turn all their letters so

      I can see lower case letters only.  I need everybody to be good listeners      

      because I am going to tell you the number of boxes you will need.  First, I

      am going to give you an example.  I have three phonemes, or boxes in my   

      word.   I will explain the letterboxes to the children that each box represents a sound.

     “I am going to spell lap.”  Lap is a review word from the previous  

      lesson.  “ /l/,” the teacher writes a l in the first box.  “/a/,” the teacher writes   

      an a in the second box.   “/p/,” the teacher writes a p in the final box.  “/l/ /  

      /a/ /p/.  lap.  The teacher starts with three phoneme words and works his

      or her way up to the five phoneme words.  After each word is spelled the

      teacher checks to make sure the students have the correct grapheme/     

      phoneme correspondence in each box.  If a student does not

      use the correct graphemes the teacher should say the word the student

      spelled and ask him or her to spell the correct word.


  1. “We are going to read a book entitled In the Big Top (a decodable

      text).  This book is about a family who works at the circus.  They all have    

      to fit in a car to drive around inside the circus tent.  To find out if they can  

      all make it in you have to read the book.  Teacher allows all students to

      read the book.  “Now, I want you to read In the Big Top with your neighbor

      think of a special way to recognize /o/ throughout the book, like yawing or   

      something else.”


  1. “Now we are going to do an activity.  I will pass out each student a picture

      sheet and you are to circle the words that have the /o/ sound in them. 

      Work really hard and do your best.” 



Teacher will call each student to her desk and do a running record on In the Big Top. 


Correct reading




Correct Reading

No mistake.

I saw a pirate.

      / / / /


Say a different word than what is written


Make a second miscue on the same word.

I was a pirate.


I was, er, say a pirate.  

     / was / /


    / was/say / /


Skip a word that is there.

I saw pirate.

    / / _ /


Say a word that is not there

I saw a man pirate.

  / / /     ^     /


Fix the miscue.

I was, I mean, saw a pirate.

   / was/SC / /




Cushman, S. (1990).  In the Big Top.  Educational Insights.  Carson City, CA. 

Dakota Farrulla, Ollie Ollie Oxen Free,

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