Slim Pig
Brandy Thomas
Beginning Reading

 Phonemic awareness, and alphabetic knowledge (letter recognition) are the key insights students need to learn and match phonemes to their letter spellings. This lesson will teach children to recognize that “i” alone in written text will map out the /i/ phoneme in spoken words.

 Cut jumbo pig shape from white bulletin board paper, easily accessible area on wall (to hang pig cut out), phonics book - “What Is It” (Educational Insights), primary paper, pencil, small pink pig cutout miniatures for each student (much smaller than original -may want to use di-cut), one small black cut out for large pig’s eye, black markers/crayons, glue, full pieces of construction paper to make enhanced sized letter boxes (laminated), washable marker (for teacher), damp paper towel (to clean letter boxes), Follow the i=/i/ dots page (for assessment).


1. “Introduce lesson by explaining that writing is a secret code-the tricky part is learning what a letter stands for.” Lets review the mouth move we learned last week a=/a/-remember when we screamed “aaaaa.” Who can remember some words that make our mouths move in the scream position.” (Teacher waits for appropriate responses). Very good. Now what tells us to make that /a/ mouth move? (Wait for response). Very good!
2. Tell students: Today we are going to learn the mouth move /i/ mapped out by little i all by himself. After a little bit of practice you will be able to spot little i alone in a lot of words and you will know that that means your mouth says /i/. Short “i” is just a little thing, so when he is alone he whimpers and makes the /i/ mouth move. Let us see if we can hear /i/ in some words by saying the words really slow and stretching out each individual sound. I’ll go first. I’m going to try “pig”: p…./i/….g. I heard it right after the beginning sound /p/. /i/ /g/. Now it’s your turn.
3. Let’s try a new sentence. Big pigs stick pins in cats. If you want to find the /i/ mouth move say it real slow and stretch each word out. B..i..g  p..i..g..s  p..i..n..s  i..n  c..a..ts. Did everyone hear the whimpering /i/?  Raise your hand when I say the word with the /i/ mouth move. (repeat tongue twister). Did anyone also hear our review mouth move? Excellent job class!
4. Letter box lesson: Hang large boxes on board and get out washable marker. Teacher can listen to student remarks and write phonemes themself or allow students to attempt to write (determined by class ability level and attitude).  Some words to use are: it, pig, mit, slip, tin, fish, etc.
5. Students should  Read “What Is It” (Educational Insights) once all the way through with the help of peer or the teacher. Teachers will then read it to the students (second time). Have students raise hand at each word with the /i/ phoneme. Take out the i=/i/ words out that students choose and write them on the board.
6. Activity: Students should work alone and come up with their own i=/i/ word. Have them practice writing their chosen word in their best handwriting three times. Once teacher approves tell the students to write their i=/i/ word on their pink pig cutout with a black marker/crayon. Students will then glue their pig inside the outline of the larger pig cutout  hanging on the wall.
7. Assessment: Hand out “connect the dots” page (Each dot should have a one syllable word). Students should only connect the dots with i=/i/ text. When finished an outline of a fish should appear.  May want to include review words on page so the teacher knows students can decipher between the different phonemes.
8. Assessment 2:  Give each student a separate sentence. Have them circle the words with the /i/ phoneme, and put a square around the letter that maps out that phoneme (“i”)
Example words: hit, chicken, igloo, itch, flip, sit, miss, inch-worm, big, pig, fish, big, win, tin can  (Teacher should read each sentence out loud to students).
Activity idea adapted from Rita Burke and Cathy D’Amour at St. Jane
        DeChantel school in Bethesda, MD. 1996.
Adams, M.J. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print.
        MIT Press: Cambridge, 1990. pages 73-87.
Eldredge, J. Loyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Simon and
         Schuster Company: New Jersey, 1995. pages 35-49.

Click here to return to Elucidations.