Ah Ah Ah! Don’t Do That!



Emergent Literacy

Lindsay Allen


Rationale:  In order to learn to read and spell words, children must be familiar with the alphabetic principle that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words.  Before children can match letters to phonemes, they have to recognize phonemes in spoken word contexts.  Short vowels are probably the toughest phonemes to identify.  This lesson will help children identify o = /o/ (short o).  They will recognize /o/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and letter symbol, and then practice finding /o/ in words.


Materials:  Primary paper and pencil; A picture of an open mouth with the sentence “Oscar Otter often offers Ollie Octopus access to his office.”  Signs with picture of open mouth (one per child); drawing paper and crayons; Froggy Goes to the Doctor by Jonathan London published by Scholastic; picture page with sock, drop, crop, top, hat, mop, rock, gum, shot, and  bed (original).



(1)  Introduce the lesson by explaining that our written language is a secret code.  The tricky part is learning what letters stand for (the mouth moves we make as we say words).  Today we are going to work on spotting the mouth move /o/.  At first it will be hard to find this special part of the secret code, but soon you will find it in many different words!

(2)  Ask students:  Have you ever gotten in trouble and your mom or dad said to you, “Ah Ah Ah! Don’t do that!”?  That /o/ is the mouth move we are going to look for in words today.  Let’s pretend we are getting on to someone and say “Ah ah ah” (shake finger as to say no).  We are helping others do what is right.  Show me how you get on to someone who is doing wrong with the “don’t do that /o/”. 

(3)Let’s try a tongue twister (on picture).  “Oscar Otter often offers Ollie Octopus access to his office.”  Everyone say it with your partner.  Now just girls say it.  Guys.  Everyone.  Now let’s say it again, but this time let’s stretch out the /o/ at the beginning of the words.  “Oooscar Oooter oooften oooffers Ooollie Oooctopus access to his oooffice.”  Try it again and this time break the /o/ sound off the word.  “/o/ scar /o/ ter /o/ ften /o/ ffers /o/ llie /o/ ctopus access to his /o/ ffice. 

(4)  (Have students take out primary paper and pencil)  We can use the letter o to spell /o/.  Let’s write it.  Start at the fence.  Draw down to the sidewalk, curve over, and back up the fence to meet the start.  I want to see everyone’s o.  After I put a smile on it, I want you to make nine more just like it.  When you see the letter o in a word, that is your signal to say /o/.

(5) (Have students draw an open mouth on a piece of white cardstock or construction paper.  Glue or tape a paint stir on the back of each to create a sign. Have students hold up the sign if they hear the /o/ anywhere in the word).  Shop (Y), Sit (N), Run (N), Trot (Y), Rock (Y), Pebble (N), Toss (Y), Throw (N), Even (N), Odd (Y).  Say:  I will say the secret parts of the word and you have to tell me the whole word.  /pl/ /o/ /p/ (plop), /tr/ /o/ /d/ (trod), /k/ /o/ /t/ (cot), /sh/ /o/ /k/ (shock), /bl/ /o/ /b/ (blob), /fr/ /o/ /g/ (frog).

(6)  Read Froggy Goes to the Doctor and talk about the story.   Read it again, and have students hold up their open mouth signs when they hear words with /o/.  List their words on the board.  Then have each student draw a picture of Froggy going to the doctor saying “AHH”.  Have them write a message using inventive spelling.  Display their work.

(7)  For assessment, distribute the picture page and help students name each picture.  Ask each student to circle the pictures whose names have /o/.


Reference:  Boyd, K.  Choir Singer Says.../o/.  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/discov/boydel.html


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