Icky Sticky Mess


Emergent Literacy

April Grimmett

This lesson will be used to help children gain the skills needed to read and spell words.  Before children can learn to read, they must have an understanding that
words are made up of individual vocal gestures or sounds (phonemes).  Then they must also understand that written letters have corresponding phonemes that help to
create a map between our spoken and written language. This lesson will focus on the correspondence i = /i/ (short i).  Students will learn the short i correspondence
by giving it a meaningful name and through hearing it in other words.  Then they will practice finding /i/ in different words.

Primary paper
poster with "Iggy was in an icky sticky mess when he licked his igloo" and a picture of a boy with his tongue stuck to an igloo
Activity page with pictures of a  pig, bag, stick, brick, lip, and cat.
Liz is Six (phonics readers),

1. Introduce the lesson:  All of the letters that we have learned are a part of a special map that helps us to be able to read different words.  We have to learn how to
decode the map if we want to read the words.  Today we are going to learn about part of the special map.  We are going to see if we can discover what sound the
letter i makes.

2. Ask students: Have you ever gotten bubble gum stuck in your hair or on the bottom of your shoe?  What was it like on the bottom of your shoe?  Would your say
that it was icky and sticky?  Do you think that you could stretch the words icky and sticky out and see if you hear the sound /i/.  I will try first.  I am going to machine
gun the beginning of the word icky  /iiii-cky/.  Did you hear the /i/ sound?  Now let's stretch out the word sticky.  /st-i·.-cky/  O.K. so we can call the /i/ sound the
icky sticky sound.

3. Let's practice saying the /i/ sound in this phrase.  (put up the poster) "Iggy was in an icky sticky mess when he licked his igloo".  Let's say that sentence together.
Now let's say it again, but this time I want you to stretch out the /i/ sound whenever you hear it.  "Iiiiggy was iiin an iiiicky stiiicky mess when he liiiicked hiiis iiiigloo"
Now I am going to break off the /i/ sound from the rest of the word, and then you can try.  "I-ggy was I-n an I-cky st-I-cky mess when he l-I-cked his I-gloo"  Great

4. Now I want you to take out your paper and pencil and we are going to practice writing the letter i.   We use the letter I  to make our icky sticky sound.  To write
the letter I, we will start at the fence and pull down to the sidewalk.  Then we will finish it off by giving him a little feather right above the fence.  I want everyone to try
and make the letter i on his or her paper.  When I come around and check your work I want you to fill up a whole line on your paper with just the letter i.
Remember that the letter I makes the sound /i/ , our icky sticky sound.

5. Now I want to see if you guys can find the icky sticky sound in the words that I say.  If you hear the /i/ sound, then I want you to make the icky sticky motion.  If
you do not hear the /i/ sound then you should rub your hands together like you are washing the icky sticky off.  Give words slowly and one at a time.  (Pig, bat, big,
get, stick etc)

6. Read the book Liz is Six  with the students.  Then you may go back through and read the book again and have the students raise their hand when you say a word
that does not have the /i/ sound in it.  Students can write about the Liz is six  book, and they should get practice using the letter i in their spellings.

7. In order to assess the students you may give them a worksheet which has pictures of different objects on them.  They should circle the pictures that have items
which have the /i/ sound in their name.  Then they should write what the picture is showing. When they are done with the worksheet have them draw a picture of two
different things that have the /i/ sound in their name.


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

Click here to return to Discoveries.