Dr. Ollie operates on Oliver

LaReading To Learn


Lauren Thomas


For a child to be a successful reader they must be able to recognize letters and then associate them with their corresponding sounds. These correspondences can easily be taught through fun activities, like tongue twisters, and reinforced through letter box lessons, and reading. In this lesson, students will master the O= /o/ grapheme and phoneme, through tongue twisters, letterboxes, a story, and a worksheet.


Overhead projector

Letterboxes for each student

A baggie for each student with the letters: t, o, p, m, c, k, s, h, n, d, b, k, f, r e, i, a.

Picture illustrating the doctor /o/ sound (picture of someone opening their mouth and saying /o/.

Whiteboard with markers

Chart paper with the tongue twister “Dr. Ollie the octopus operated on Oscar the ox with help of Oliver the fox.”

Decodable book: Cushman, Sheila. In the Big Top. (1990). Educational Insights. Carson, California. (one for every student)

Assessment worksheet (pictures: pizza, frog, sock, cat, dog, bike, mop, puzzle.)A letterbox and the letters (s, t, o, c, k) to use in the model for the letterbox lesson.

Pseudo words: hod, frod

Teaching Procedure:

1. “Today, we are going to play doctor and learn the /o/ sound that is by made letter o, like in the word hot.”

2. The teacher will call on a student to volunteer to come to the front. “I am Dr. Ollie and this is my patient Oscar” (the student volunteer). “If I want to take a look down Oscar’s throat what should I have him do?” The teacher will show a picture of someone opening their mouth and saying /o/ to the doctor. “That’s right just like the picture I would have him open his mouth real wide and say /o/.” “This is the mouth move we use to say the /o/ sound.” The teacher would model the /o/ sound and the way the mouth opens wide to the make the sound. “Okay Oscar lets take a look, open your mouth and say /o/.” “Well Oscar you look healthy to me you can go have a seat.” The teacher will group the student into pairs or small groups. “Now you and your partner are going to take turns being the doctor and the patient. If you would like you can even try to come up with names for each other that have the /o/ sound. If you are the doctor tell your partner to open wide and say /o/.”

3. “Let’s practice the open wide /o/ sound in this silly tongue twister. The teacher will model how to read the tongue twister while pointing to the words on the chart as each word is said: “Dr. Ollie the octopus operated on Oscar the ox with the help of Oliver the fox. “ The teacher will now reread the tongue twister emphasizing the /o/ sound. “Dr. /o/llie the /o/ctopus /o/perated /o/n /o/scar the /o/x with the help of /o/liver the f/o/x.” Now the students will read the tongue twister once regular and then two times emphasizing the /o/ sound.

4. “We are now going to spell some words that have the /o/ sound in them.” The teacher will model how to spell words in a letterbox lesson using the overhead projector. The teacher should wait until after the modeling is complete to distribute the student’s letterboxes and letters, so that they aren’t distracted. “I am going to show you all how to spell the first word and then you will each receive your own letterboxes and letters, so that you can try spelling the other words. The word I am going to spell is stock. In this word we hear three sounds /s/ /t/ /o/ /ck/. I will need four letterboxes, because these boxes represent how many sounds are in the word. The first sound is /s/ so I will place the letter s in the first box. The second sound I hear is /t/ so I will place the lettert in the second box .The next sound I hear is /o/ so I will place the letter o in the third box. The final sound I hear is /k/ so I will place the letters c and k is the third box. My word /s/ /t/ /o/ /ck/-stock! Now I am going to let you spell some word in your letterboxes.”

5. The teacher will now hand out individual letterboxes along with baggies containing the letters needed for the activity to each student. The teacher should inform the students of the number of boxes needed for each word. “Your first word is top. ‘My books are on the top self.’” The teacher should walk around and indiscreetly monitor the students while providing corrective feedback when needed. The teacher should avoid asking questions in a letterbox lesson, but instead tell the student what their word says and retell them the word that they are trying to spell. This lesson should continue in the same way until all the words have been spelled. Word list: 3-top, red, mop, pit, lock, shop, back, 4- pond, block, 5-frost.

6. “You all did a great job spelling the words, so now let’s see how you do reading them. I am going to write all the words you just spelled including two pseudo or made up words on the board and I want you all to read them to me.” (top, log, hod, mop, lock, shop, frog, pond, block, frost). “Great job!”

7. “We are now going to read the book In the Big Top. What do you think this book will be about from looking at the cover? Does anyone know what in the big top means? The big top means a circus, in this story there is a family that has to fit in a tiny car to make it to the circus, or the big top along with their dog and all of their stuff. Will they all fit and be able to make it the circus? We will have to read to find out if they make it.” The teacher will now pass out the books. The students should read the book silently while the teacher walks around the room to help anyone who might need help.

8. To access the individual students understanding of the /o/ sound each student will get a page with different pictures on it. The pictures will have some words containing the /o/ sound while others will not. The students should color in each picture that contains the /o/ sound. The pictures will be pizza, frog, sock, cat, dog, bike, mop, puzzle.


Cushman, Sheila. In the Big Top. (1990). Educational Insights. Carson, California.

Freeman, Kari Beth. The Doctor is In! http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/constr/freemanbr.html

Shumock, Emily. Icky Piggy.http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/encounters/shumockbr.html

Langley, Heather. Dr. Ollie says open wide and say /o/. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/voyages/langleybr.html

Return to doorways: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/doorways.html