Itchy Iggy

Emergent Lesson Design
By: Jenna Ward

Rationale: For children to learn how to read and spell words, one must have an understanding of the alphabetic principle.  Children need to be able to recognize that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out phonemes in spoken words.  Long and short vowels are hard for children to understand but short vowels are the most difficult to recognize.  The goal of this lesson is i = /i/. In this lesson I will teach the children how to recognize the /i/ sound with a funny tongue twister. I will also have the children feel how their mouth moves as they say /i/. I will provide a helpful hand gesture that the children can use as they become familiar with the /i/ sound. This lesson will require children to recognize /i/ (short i) in spoken words and in written words.

Materials: Primary paper and pencil, chart with “Itchy Iggy itches in his igloo”, drawing paper and crayons, Liz Is Six (Educational Insights), box of objects (the objects will include stuffed animals such as a pig, duck, and inchworm), one worksheet for each child. The worksheet will include pictures of items that have a short /i/ and that do not have short /i/ (The pictures will include: lips, stick, bed, mint, fish, bear, witch, hat, and a bug).


  1. Introduce lesson by saying that language is like a secret code- letters are not only written a certain way, but they also make certain sounds when we speak.  “Today we are going to look at the letter /i/ and listen for what sound it makes.  We will see how our mouth moves when we say /i/.  There are so many fun /i/ words; you’ll be surprised how many you already know!  Let’s get started!  I know you’ll be experts!”
  2. “Have you ever been really, really itchy? Can you hear the /i/ sound in the word itchy?” Let me show you how our mouth moves when we say the /i/ sound.  Now let’s act like we are itching all over and make the /i/ sound as we scratch our itches.
  3. Display tongue twister chart. I am going to give you a tongue twister that has many /i/ sounds in it. (read tongue twister) “Itchy Iggy itches in his igloo.” Lets’ say this tongue twister together 3 times.  Okay this time when we say it I want us to stretch out the /i/ sound in every word that you hear the /i/ sound in. Let me show you how to do this : Iiiiiitchy Iiiiiiiggy Iiiiiiiitches Iiiiiiin hiiiiis Iiiiiiiigloo. Now this last time let’s say it as we use our hand gesture (scratch your itches) “Great Job! You all are INCREDIBLE!”
  4. “Let’s practice writing the letter that makes the mouth movement /i/.”  [Students take out primary paper and pencil] “We use the letter i to spell /i/. Let me show you how to write it: Start at the fence and draw a straight line to the sidewalk, then pick up your pencil and put a dot right above the line you just drew between the fence and the roof. [Model this] Now I want you to practice writing i.  While I am walking around checking your work I want you to make a whole row of i’s.  Now when you see the letter i by itself in a word you will know to say /i/.
  5. “You all are doing such a wonderful job!” Now, I have some objects in this box that have the /i/ sound and others that do not.  When I pull out an object from the box I want all of you to tell me what the object is.  After we name the object, I want you to raise your hand if you hear the /i/ sound in the word.  If you do not hear it, do not raise your hand.  Let’s do one for practice! (Pull out stuffed pig). Students raise hand. “Good job boys and girls! Now let’s try out the rest of the objects in our box.”
  6. “You all are incredible!” Now we are going to read Liz is Six, so pull out your book.  Whenever you hear the /i/ sound, scratch you itches like we did before.  Great job doing your hand gestures!  Now that we are pros with the short /i/ sound let’s read it again but this time I want you to say Itchy Iggy when you hear a word with the /i/ sound.  I will write these words up on the chalkboard.
  7. Students will then take out primary paper and pencil and write a silly story trying to use as many /i/ sound words that they can from the words I wrote on the board. After students have written a story, students will draw a picture to go along with the story. Students work will be displayed out in the hall.
  8. For assessment, I will give each student a worksheet with pictures of objects on them (the pictures will include: lips, stick, bed, mint, fish, bear, witch, hat, and a bug).  First let’s name all the objects together.  Now I want you to go back and circle the pictures that you hear the /i/ sound in.



Eldredge, J. Lloyd (2005). Teaching Decoding Why and How.  Pearson Education, Inc.  Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Pages 87-91.

“Itchy Richy” by Jeremy Knowles

Liz is Six. Educational Insights.

Click here to return to Constructions