Float with O!

A Beginning Reading Lesson

Crystal Dykes


This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence oa=/O/. In this lesson, students will be able to recognize the long O sound when shown words with the spelling patterns oa. They will learn meaningful representation of oa by seeing a swim ring float (which contains the correspondence oa) and the float is in the shape of the letter O. My students will spell words containing this correspondence during a letter box lesson. They will then read these words that they have spelled from a word list. After going through the spelling and reading of words containing this correspondence with the letter box lesson and word list, students will read a decodable text which focuses on the correspondence oa. Students will match medial letters of words with sounds using a word train.


Picture of a swim ring float, letter box for teacher to use on overhead, letters for letterbox a, b, c, d, e, f, g, k, l, o, s, t, t, u word list (coat, sock, boat, duck, float, get and toast) 4 letter boxes. For each student: (18 students) I will need a letter sound train engine and caboose, 5 letter sound train cars, index card labeled with the letters oa and attach to each train engine (verbally explain long O sound), medial sound picture cards which include: boat, duck, hat, coat, dog, soap, goat, float, and sock. Paperback books Bo and Rose. Paper and pencil.


1.Say: We have already learned what the short o sounds like, and what it looks like in words when it makes the /o/ sound like in the words hot and pot. Now, so that we can become even better readers, we need to learn the long O sound. Today we are going to learn that long O sometimes has a buddy next to it that tells it to say its name. That buddy is the letter a. When I say /O/ I think of a float used for swimming (show image of a swim ring float). Now, let's look at the spelling of the sound /O/ that we are going to learn about today. In the word float, the letter a is right there next to the letter o, telling o to says its own name. Teacher will write float on the board and circle oa.

2. Say: Before we learn about /O/, lets listen for it in some words first. When I say a word that has the /O/ sound in it, I hear O say its own name. I also feel how my lips are shaped when I say the /O/ sound. Let me show you an example: when I say boat, I here O saying its name, and my lips look like the letter O. There is a long O in float, now let's see if there is a long O in cow. Nope, I didn't hear O say its name and my lips didn't make the letter O shape. Now I'm going to say a word and if you hear O say its name, and your lips make the O shape, give me thumb up. If you don't hear O's name or make O's shape with your lips, then give me a thumb down (show students thumb up or thumb down). Here we go! Home, train, coat, hat, rope. Very good! Now we are going to do that again, this time, if you here O say its name, I want you to show me your O lips by dragging out the /O/ sound for 3 seconds. Ready, here we go! H/O/O/O/me, train, c/O/O/O/at, hat, r/O/O/O/pe. Great job! You all know how /O/ sounds.

Modeling New Strategy:

3. Now we are going to learn how to spell some words with /O/. Let me show you an example on the projector: If I want to spell the word soap, first, I would use it in a sentence to be sure that I understand the meaning of the word. My hands are dirty and I will need to wash them with soap. Now I am going to spell the word soap in letterboxes. Before I can begin spelling the word, I need to sound it out so that I can count how many phonemes are in the word. Phoneme means sound, so I need to know how many different sounds I hear in the word soap. I will find out by saying the word slowly and listening for different sounds. I will stretch it out and count: /s/ /O/ /p/. I hear three phonemes, so that means that I will need three letter boxes. First, I heard /s/ so I am going to put the letter s in the first box. Next, I heard /O/ after /s/, so I will need to put an o in the second box. Now I have to figure out which of o's buddies can tag along beside it, to remind o to say its own name. Because we talked about it earlier, I know that the letter a is the letter o's buddy that makes o say its own name when placed beside it. Remember, the o comes first and then a sits to the right side of o. So, I am going to put the letter a right next to the letter o in the same because. I know that the letter a does not have its own letter box because I don't hear the sound /a/ or /A/ in the word soap. Finally, the last sound that I hear is /p/. This tells me that I need to put a letter p in the last letter box.

4. Now that I have showed you how to figure out letterboxes for the letters in a hard word like soap, now I will show you how to read this hard word. Look up on the board, I have written the word soap. First, I will cover up every some letters so that only the oa is showing. So, first I will start with this part oa because this part says /O/. Now, I will uncover the s and add it to the part that I already know. Now I see soa, but to figure out the whole word, I will now add the p in to the word that I have put together so far. Now I can blend them and I get s-oa-p. This word says soap.

Guided Practice:

5. Now we are going to spell some words together in letterboxes. The first word is coat. How many boxes do we need? (Children answer: 3). What should go in the first box? C, second? oa, third? T. Allow children to answer as I go through each word. The words we use will be coat, boat, float, sock, toast, and rock. Now that we have gone through a letterbox lesson, I will put up a list on the board of the words from the letterbox lesson and I will have students read the words aloud.


6. Students will match medial phonemes to graphemes using a letter sound train. I will give each student a stack of picture cards, a paper train that includes the engine, five empty letter sound train cars, and a caboose with a correspondence written in it. The picture cards will include: boat, duck, hat, coat, dog, soap, goat, float, and sock.

7. Say: I am going to give you a train, and a stack of picture cards. The caboose of the train will have the /O/ sound on it. I want you to flip over one card at a time, and if it makes the /O/ sound, I want you to place the card on one of the empty train cars between the engine and the caboose. If you do not hear the /O/ sound, do not put the card on the train.

Reading Activity:

8. Say: You all have done a great job with spelling! Now, I am going to pass out paper back book to each one of you.

9. Book talk: The name of the book is Bo and Rose. Rose has a goat named Bo. Rose ties a rope to Bo at home. Bo bites the rope and goes. Rose says no! Bo thinks that no means go. What do you think is going to happen? Will Bo come back home? What will Bo do while he is gone? We will read together as a class, and everyone will follow along. I will stop and ask questions and talk before I turn each page or two.


10. Say: Now that we have read the book Bo and Rose, I want you all to write about your pet if you have one, or if you do not have one, write about one that you would like to have.

11. As the students are writing, I will call each one up individually and I will have them read /O/ words from a word list. Word list: goat, soak, rock, coat, hat


Cushman, S. Bo and Rose. c. 1990 Educational Insights, Carson, CA. 

The Florida Center for Reading Research. 2008. Website: http://www.fcrr.org/Curriculum/pdf/GK-1/P_Final_Part2.pdf

return to the doorways index