Icky, Iggy, Iguana


Beginning Reading

By: Caroline Burr


            In order for children to be fluent readers, they must be able to recognize short vowels and their pronunciations. An understanding of short vowels is very important for phonemic awareness. This lesson is created to give students a better understanding of the correspondence i=/i/. Through creative techniques and memorable activities, the students will leave this lesson with a better understanding of how to include the phoneme /i/ in their verbal and written language.


Primary paper and pencils

Elkonian boxes and letters

Chart with tongue twister: Icky, Iggy, Iguana lives in his Igloo.

Picture with a popsicle and “Icky” hands

List of words: 2- is, if, 3- lip, big, tip, 4- mist, fist, twig 5- twist, crisp review word: pet, click

Popsicle sticks for decoding

Class set of the Tin Man- Fix It

Handout with pictures: pig, mit, wall, leaf, bridge, truck


1.     Introduce this lesson by explaining that it is important for us to understand the different sound that each letter in the alphabet makes. When we know the sounds of the letters, it is easier for us to decode words that we do not know as well as makes it easier for us to spell and speak. Today we are going to learn an exciting and memorable way to remember the correspondence /i/.  Have you ever eaten a Popsicle and didn't like the way your hands feel after your done eating it. More than likely when you felt the stickiness on your hands, you said ICKK. This is the sound the short i makes in certain words that we say everyday. Lets pretend that you have just eaten a Popsicle, I want everyone to make the noise ICCKK and shake your hand as if you are trying to get something off of your hands. (Do this three times so the students understand the shape their mouth makes when they are making the short i sound)

2.     Now we are going to read this tongue twister together as a class.  I am going to read it aloud first and then you are going to read it with me. Icky Iggy Iguana lives in his igloo. Now when we read it together, we are going to listen for the short i sound. When we say the tongue twister together, I want you to pretend like you have something sticky on your hands that you want to get off. As we say the sentence, shake your hands so I know that you are hearing the /i/ in the sentence. Great job! Now we are going to say the tongue twister again and stress the /i/ when we hear it. For example when I say the words Icky, if I want to stress the /i/ I would say “iiiiicky”. Don't forget to pretend like you have something sticky on your hand when you hear /i/. (IIIIcky IIIggy iiiiguana liiiives iiiin an iiiiigloo).

3.     Now I am going to say a set of words aloud and you are going to raise your hand and tell me which word you hear /i/. For example: Do you hear the /i/ in sit or sat? You hear /i/ in the word SIT. (siiiit) Now do you hear the /i/ in the words: bit or but? Pig or bag? Snip or set? Hill or hole?

4.     Now we are going to learn how to write the letter i in upper and lower case. It is important to know how to write this letter so we can visualize what it looks like when we are reading and when we have to write sentences that have /i/ correspondence. First we are going to start with the lower case letter. First take your pencil and place it on the fence dotted line. Draw a line straight down and stop at the sidewalk. After you have drawn a straight line, place a small dot on top of the fence. You have written your first lower case i. I want you to each raise your hand when you have finished, after I have checked your writing, please write 9 more just like the first one. Now we are going to practice writing the upper case i. Place your pen on the rooftop and draw a line that is sideways on the rooftop. Next, I want you to place your pencil in the middle of the line that you have drawn and draw a straight line all the way down to the sidewalk. Finally, just like you did on the rooftop, draw another line that is sideways on the sidewalk. Great work! You have just drawn an upper case I. After I have checked your work, please draw nine more just like the first one.

5.     Now we are going to have a letterbox lesson, Write the letters that the students are going to need on the board and have them pick them out of the box and place them where they can see each letter easily. As a teacher, you need to have a set of letters and boxes so you can model to the students what the boxes represent and how to spell words that contain /i/. “We are going to be learning how to spell words that contain /i/. Each of your boxes will have only one sound. Watch as I spell the word BIG. I need three boxes for the three individual sounds. I am going to say the word slowly so I can hear the different letters. When I hear the /i/ sound I am going to make sure i make the hand gesture like something is stuck on my hand. I am going to put the b in the first box, the i in the second box (make the icky hand gesture), and the g in the final box. You have just learned how to spell the word BIG. Lets have you try to spell some words and check them as a class. 2- is, if, 3-  lip, big, tip, 4- mist, fist, twig 5- twist, crisp *Teachers don't forget to tell the students how many boxes they need before they start spelling the word.

6.     Now we are going to practice reading words that contain /i/ in the book Tin Man Fix It. First I am going to tell you a little about the book before we start reading. This is a book about Tim the tin man who is helping his friend Jim plant a garden. Sid comes and runs into Tim making him fall apart. To find out if they can put Tim back together, we are going to have to read the book. You are going to each read this book silently. If you are coming across some trouble, first try to decode the word using your Popsicle stick, and if you are still struggling raise your hand and I will come assist you.

7.     For the assessment call the children back to your table and have them read a new tongue twister. Observe them read the sentence and assess their ability to decode the tongue twister of the phoneme /i/. Note the children that are still struggling with this particular phoneme, so they can get extra assistance and practice throughout the year.


Hale, Laura Iggy is Icky Sticky, http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/innov/halebr.htm

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

Burr, Caroline cib0001@tigermail.auburn.edu

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