Iiiiicky Stiiiicky


Lesson Design

Beginning to Read

Julie Kinsey


Rationale:  Children need explicit, systematic phonics instruction in order to successfully learn to read.  It is important for children to understand that individual phonemes in words can be 'mapped-out' into written words.  It is important to teach short vowels first because they are common.  This can be done be letter-box lessons, short letter books and repetition. This lesson with teach /i/=i.


tongue twister poster (Silly Billy wished the pig would shrink.)

word poster (him, pick, wash, net, inch, hint, snip, print, split)

primary paper (one piece for each student)

pencil (one for each student)


Letter boxes (The teacher and all students should have an Letter box with five boxes in it.)


plastic letterbox letters  (The teacher and all students will need a set.) Letters needed:  a, c, e, h, i, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, w


picture of girl with glue on her hands


book:  Liz is Six


list of pseudowords (sib, hin, pim, mir, bik, frip, slin)



1.  'Today we’re going to learn about /i/.  Can anyone think of a word with /i/ in it?  Good job!  Everyone make the /i/ sound.  We can make /i/ when our   mouths are open and our tongues are lowered.'

2.  'Now I want everyone to say icky sticky.'  Can you hear /i/ in icky sticky?  Every time you hear /i/ in icky sticky, I want you to hold that sound and make  an icky sticky motion.  The motion looks like you have sticky glue on your fingers, and you can’t get it off.  Let’s try it.  Iiicky Stiicky.  Good job.'

 3.   "I’m going to say some words, and you tell me which ones have /i/ in them.  Do you hear /i/ in big or bag...witch or watch...pick or pal…lift or loft?  Good job!

4.  "Everyone look at this poster."  (Read the tongue twister normally to the children first.  Silly Billy wished the pig would shrink.  Then, read it and hold the /i/ and make the icky sticky hand gesture every time you say it in the tongue twister.  Siiilly Biiilly wiiished the piiig would shriiink.)  "Now, I want all of  you to say this crazy tongue twister just like I just did.  Make sure you make your icky sticky hand motion.  Good job!"

5.  Hand out Elkonin boxes and letterbox letter sets to each child.  Model how to make a word with a letterbox.  ("Watch how I do this.  I’m going to spell the word 'stick.'  There are three sounds in stick: /s/, /t/, /i/, /ck/.  I put the letter s in the first box because the first sound is /s/.  I put the letter t in the second box because the second sound is /t/.  I put the letter i in the third box because /i/ and then ck in the last box to make the last sound in stick.")

6.  Begin letterbox lesson.  After you give each word that you want the students to spell in their letterboxes, walk around and make sure that they are getting the correct spelling.  If they have spelled a word incorrectly, say the word exactly as they have it spelled.  Wait until every student has correctly spelled each word before moving on to the next word. (3 phonemes:  him, pick, net, inch; 4 phonemes:  hint, snip; 5 phonemes: print, split)

7.  Take up Letter boxes and letters.

8.  Hold up word poster.  Ask students to read the words from the word poster as you point to each word.

9.  Pass out books.  (Liz is Six)  Give booktalk.  "Liz gets a mitt for her birthday.  She plays baseball with a pig.  Imagine that!  You’ll have to read the book to hear all the baseball game."

10.  Have students read the book with a partner.  One partner reads one page, and the other partner reads the next page, etc.

11.  Take up all books.

12.  Pass out primary paper and pencils.

13.  "Now, you’re going to write a message.  Here’s your topic:  What is your favorite meal?  Make it detailed using words like sticky, and filling. Start writing."

14.  As students are writing their message, call one student at a time to come and read pseudowords.  Assess their understanding of /i/=i by counting how many words they get correct.  (sib, hin, pim, mik, bik, frip, slin) 

Reference: Icky Sticky Fingers- Molly McCormick

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