Icky Piggy

Beginning Reading

Emily Shumock

pig dive 


    As children become beginning readers, it is imperative that they learn explicit, systematic instruction so they become successful decoders.  Beginning readers need to understand the correspondences between letters and sounds, which is the foundation for reading words.  This lesson will focus on the i = /i/ letter-sound correspondence.  Children will learn this correspondence through a letter box lesson, a memorable hand gestures, tongue twister, and several other print and spoken language activities.



Letterbox set for students

Letter box set for teacher (8x10 pieces of colored cardstock for each letter box – 5x7 index card for the letters, so students can see the word when modeled)

Tin Man Fix-It – decodable book that focuses on short /i/ (a copy for each student)

Paper/plastic letters: d, f, h, i, k, l, m, p, s, t, w

Picture page with corresponding word list: pig, ball, hill, wig, bell, lips, box, milk, king, ship

Primary paper


Poster with tongue twister: "Izzy the icky piggy was digging in the mud"



1. "Ok everyone, today we are going to talk about a new sound that we hear in a lot of words! Do you remember when we talked about how important it is to know the letters of our alphabet and the different sounds they make?" "Right, we have to know the sounds of letters, because it helps us read."  Today we are going to talk about the letter i and its sound /i/ and I have some fun ways to help us remember that i = /i/.  (show picture of the icky piggy)  "What is this a picture of?  Right, it is a picture of a pig with mud on it! Do you think we could call this an icky piggy?"  (demonstrate hand movement; open and close hands) Pretend that you have mud on your hands and let's say "Iiiiiicky Piiiiggy."  Do you hear the /i/ sound in Iiiiicky Piiiiggy?"  Good, I do too!

2. "Now, let's read a tongue twister with the /i/ sound.  I will read it first and then you read it with me." Izzy the icky piggy was digging in the mud.  Great, now let's read it again and when you hear the /i/ sound I want you to open and close your icky hands and stretch out that /i/ sound.  So, if I say "sticky," we would say "stiiiicky." Ready, Iiiizy the iiicky piiiggy was diiiggiiing iiin the mud.  Very good guys!

3. Students will then listen to a set of words and tell the teacher which word has the /i/ sound.  Word sets: igloo/house; hill/slope; big/small; little/tall.  Be sure to stretch out the words, so the students hear the difference.

4. Have students take out letter boxes and letters.  "Now, let's take out our letter boxes and spell words that have the /i/ sound.  You will need to take out all the letters that are on the board.  Be sure you spread out your letters on your desk so you can see all of them."  Make sure that each student can see the big teacher letterboxes and letters. "Remember that each box contains only one sound. I will spell our first word, while you watch and help me. The first word we will spell is strict, s-s-s-t-t-t-r-r-r-i-i-i-i-c-c-c-t-t-t.  The first sound we hear is /s/, so we would put an s in the first box.  The next sound we hear is /t/, so we would put a t in the next box.  The next sound we hear in s-s-s-t-t-r-r-r-r-i-i-i-c-c-c-t-t-t is /r/, so we would put an r in the third box.  The next sound is /i/, so we would put an i in the next box.  The final two sounds we hear are /c/ and /t/, so letters c and t go in the last two boxes. Ok, we just spelled strict in our boxes. Now I want you to spell words that have /i/ in them as I read them to you." Have the students work with their letters and letterboxes to spell the following words: (2- if, at; 3-sit, bed, him, sick; 4-list, think, shape; 5-split, twist). Tell the students how many boxes are needed for each set of the words listed above.

5. "Now we are ready to read a book with the /i/ sound.  We are going to read Tin Man Fix It!  This book is about a Tin man that gets hit by a big kid.  He falls down and breaks some of his parts.  What do you think will happen to the Tin man?  Let's read and fin out if Tin man can be fixed."  All the students will read this book silently and if they have any problems, they can raise their hand and receive help.  Once everyone has finished reading the book, we will make a list of the words with the /i/ sound on the board.

6. As a post-assessment of the lesson, the teacher will pass out a picture sheet for the students to circle the words that have the /i/ sound.  The students will look at each picture with a list of corresponding words and the students will choose the correct word that matches the picture.
Ex: ship  lips  jet   cat                   



 Lindsay Williams. Don't Lick That Sticky Stuff. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/constr/williamslbr.html


Murray, B.A. & Lesniak, T (1999).  The Letterbox Lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding.  The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.

Tin Man Fix It.(1990) Phonics Readers Short Vowels. Carson, CA (USA): Educational Insights.

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