Open Wide and Say, /o/!


Elana Rees Willett

Beginning Reading


To become skillful readers children must learn to recognize the different vowel correspondences within words.  This lesson teaches     students to recognize the letter o and associate it with the short “o” sound /o/.  By learning this and other correspondences children can become better readers.

primary paper
dry erase or chalk board
markers or chalk
Elkonin letterboxes
books: In the Big Top
pseudo words for assessment

1.  Begin the lesson by explaining to students how we use letters to make specific mouth moves that help us learn to read.  “Today, we are going to learn about the letter o and one of the sounds that it makes called the short /o/ sound.  When you go to the doctor and he wants to look at your throat, what does he ask you to do?  Right, he says open wide and say /o/!  That is the mouth move and sound that the “o” makes!  Let’s try making that sound again and stretching it out in some words that I have on the board: t/o-o-o/p and r/o-o-o/ck.  Good job everybody!”
2. “Now, we are going to find the /o/ sound in some words!  When I say a word you give me a thumbs up if you hear the /o/ sound and a thumbs down if you do not hear it.  For example: stop-Yes, thumbs up and run-Right, thumbs down!  Here we go: pot, pan, top, tip, napkin, and smock.  Good job, you all did great!                       
3. “All right class, now let’s get out our letterboxes and the letters that I have on the board.  I am going to call some more words out to you and I want you to spell them in these letterboxes.  Each box stands for one sound in a word.  For example, I have three boxes up here and I am going to spell the word mop.  So, I say the word slowly and think about which     letters to use.  /M/o/p/.  First, I hear a /m/, so that would be an “m”     in the first box, then /o/ would be an “o” in the second, and finally, I hear /p/, so that would be a “p”!  Now, I am going to say some words and you spell them in your boxes.”  After, I read all the words for them to spell; I will spell them on the board and have the students call them out to me. 
4.  “Excellent reading and spelling class, now I’m going to send around a book called, In the Big Top and I want everyone to read it while I come around and listen to how excellent you all can read!”  I will scaffold and assist the students in their reading if they have trouble with any of the words.  

1.  Ask the children to get out their paper and make up a tongue twister using the vowel sound /o/.  “Let’s all get out some paper and write down the craziest tongue twister you can think of using the /o/ sound!  Look at the ones I wrote on the board for examples of how to get started.  Let’s read them before we write our own.  Ron and Todd hopped in the hot rod and the octopus rocked on the bottom of the ocean!  Once you have finished writing yours, switch with your neighbor, and circle all of the short /o/ sounds you hear in their tongue twister. 
2. While the students are working on the tongue twister activity, call them individually to read a few pseudo words.  Mark their miscues while they read:  zot, tog, vock, and prol.


References:    1. Open up and say O, by Marie Nicol,

                        2. The Doctor says O, by Amy Strickland,

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