Open Wide

Beginning Reading
Kim Alldredge

Rationale: In order for students to learn how to read words.  They can learn to do this by being taught graphemes and phonemes.  Graphemes are letters that represent sounds and phonemes are sounds or “mouth moves” from which spoken words are made.  For example, e is the grapheme for the phoneme /e/ as in egg.  Students have to learn to recognize phonemes in spoken words.  This lesson will help students identify /o/ (short o).  Students will learn to recognize /o/ in spoken words by learning a phrase or action that will help them represent the sound and by having a letter symbol.  After students learn ways to represent /o/ they will then practice spelling words that have /o/ in them.

Materials:   Chart with “The fox is in the box with a frog on a log.”
                     Letter Boxes for each student
                     Letters for each student (r, o, c, k, d, b, l, p, f, g, b)
                     Book: In the Big Top for every pair of students
                     Picture page with rock, bag, sun, mop, pot, hat, sock, fan, and log for each student


1. Introduce the lesson by telling the students that all words are made up of sounds.  Some sounds may be represented by more than one letter.  The hard part is figuring out what letters stand for what sounds.  Today we are going to work on spotting the /o/ sound.  At first /o/ will seem hidden in words, but soon enough with practice you will be able to spot /o/ in all kinds of words.

2. Ask students: Have you ever been to the doctor and he asked you to open your mouth and say /o/?  That’s the sound we are looking for in words.  Let’s pretend we are act the doctor’s office and lets open our mouth and say /o/. [Open your mouth wide and say /o/.]  We open our mouth so the doctor can see inside.  Open you mouth and say /o/.

3. Let’s try a tongue twister.  “The fox is in the box with a frog on a log.”  Everybody say it three times together.  Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /o/ found in the words.  “The fooox is in the booox with a frooog ooon a looog.”  Try it again, and this time break it off the word: “The f /o/ x is in the b /o/ x with a fr /o/ g /o/ n a l /o/ g.”

4. Now we will move on to our letterbox lesson.  Everyone take out your letterboxes.  Now I am going to spell the word sob.  I hear sss-ooo-bbb, that’s three sounds so I must need three boxes.  When you hear /s/ that means that s goes in the first box, /o/ means that o goes in the second box, and /b/ means b goes in the third box. (Draw boxes on the board and write the letters in the box as you sound the word out.) Now I want all of you to get three boxes ready and spell the word job for me. (Continue on using the words rock-3, rod-3, block-4, drop-4, frog-4, and blob-4).  [As the students spell the words walk around to assess the student’s work and provide help as needed.

5. I am going to call each of you to a table so I can listen to you read some words to me.  While I am doing that I want you to get in groups of two and take turns reading In the Big Top. As your partner reads I want you to write the letter o every time they say the /o/ sound.  Everyone pull out your primary paper.  Let’s practice drawing the letter o.  The letter o starts at the fence and curves down to the sidewalk to make a little c.  Next you curve back up the fence to go from a letter c to the letter o.  [Walk around and observe the students as they write the letter o to make sure they are doing it correctly.]  After you both have read, compare to make sure that you both said the /o/ sound the same number of times.

6. For assessment, I will have a picture page in which students will have to circle the pictures that represent the /o/ sound.  I will walk around and observe students as they circle the pictures and provide assistance as needed.


                       Sheila Cushman.  1990.  In the Big Top.  Carson, CA: Educational Insights.

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