Doctor Says: Say Ahhh!

Beginning Reading Lesson Design

By Megan Castleberry

Rationale: This lesson teaches children the short vowel correspondence o = /o/. In order for students to be effective readers, they need to know that letters stand for phonemes and that we make different phonemes with different mouth movements. Students need to be able to recognize individual phonemes for them to be able to decode. In this lesson, children will focus on the /o/ and the "ahh" sound it makes so that they will remember that sound and be able to find it and read it in words.

Materials: Graphic of a doctor and patient; tongue depressor; cover up critters; chart with tongue twister; Elkonin boxes for modeling and individual Elkonin boxes for each student; decodable text: Doc in the Fog; letter manipulatives for each child and magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher: o, d, l, h, t, p, s, f, r, c, k


1. Decoding and reading words is something special that we get to learn when we come to school. We get to discover what letters stand for and which sounds we make with our mouths when we move them to say those letters and words. Today, we're going to talk about the letter o and the "ahh" sound that it makes. This sound is in a lot of words and we're going to try to find it!


2. When you go to the doctor, he tells you to open your mouth and say "ahh" so he can check in your throat. Well that is the sound that o makes in a lot of words. Can everybody say "ahhh"? That's the sound! Let's talk about how our mouth looks and feels when we do that.


3. Let's do a tongue twister! Oliver had an operation in October, and Oscar gave him an octopus. Now we're going to drag out the "ahhh" sound in each word that has it. Ooooliver had an ooooperation in Ooooctober and Ooooscar gave him an ooooctopus. Great job!


4. Now we're going to listen for this sound in some words. Give me a thumbs up when you hear the sound!  "on, go, stop, pot, pan".


5. What if I wanted to spell doll? Mary's doll has blonde hair. To spell doll in letterboxes, I need to listen for how many phonemes, or sounds, I hear in the words. Let's see: /d/ /o/ /l/ doll so I hear 3 sounds so I'm going to put out 3 boxes. But to spell doll, I need two L's. So in my box I'm going to put /d/ then an /o/ and in the last box I'm going to put two L's to spell doll. Do you hear the "ahh" sound in doll?


6. Now we're going to spell some other words in our letterbox. The first one is: on. How many sounds? 2 sounds. What should go in the first box? What about the second? /o/ /n/ "on". Great job! Continue with: odd, pet, toss, hot, pot, lost, hop floss, rock.


7. Now I am going to let you read the words you've spelled. Have students read the words as a class then call on students individually.


8. You've done an awesome job with the "ahh" sound and letterbox lesson! Now we're going to read a book with a lot of words with this sound. The book is called Doc in the Fog. Doc is a wizard who uses his magic to do some really cool stuff! Let's see what he uses his powers for! Let's pair up and take turns reading the book to find out what Doc does with is magic. [Children pair up and take turns reading alternate pages each while teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]


9. You guys have done awesome! Now we're going to do an activity sheet where you figure out which words have the "ahh" sound and say them then color them!



Decodable Text: Doc in the Fog. Educational Insights. 1990.


Return to Doorways