Beginning Reading Lesson

                                 Suppressing Short O


                                             Courtney Hamby 

Rational: In order to be able to read words children need to understand and be familiar with the various sounds that make up written words. This lesson will teach students the vocal gesture used to create the sound that letter O makes in words like mop. This lesson also reviews the print make up of the letter O. The lesson will develop the student’s awareness of o=/o/, by giving them instruction and practice on how to form the short o sound, as well as, practice reading decodable text containing the short o sound. The students will receive instruction in the decoding of short o words, as well as, practice spelling the words themselves.

Materials: Primary paper
                   White Paper for Drawings
                   Board to write words on
                   Phonics Short Vowel Readers: In the Big Top
                  Assessment page: of Short o words
                  Tongue Twister on Sentence Strip Paper (optional)
                  Letterboxes and letters for whole class
(children can work in groups)
                  Letters needed for this lesson:
b, d, f, g, h, l, n, o, p, l, r, s, t  

I.   Procedures: Introducing the lesson

        A.) “The written language is like a secret code. Today, we are going to be learning about how to break this code and read words. Today we are going to learn about the vowel sound we see and hear in the word Octopus, /o/. Can you say /o/..? ”

        B.) “The first sound in the word Octopus is /o/.” .

      1.      Repeat the word Octopus by emphasizing the initial /o/ sound.
Write the word Octopus on the board.

C.) “How you ever been surprised. In order to create the /o/ sound we have to open our mouths like we have just been surprised by someone or something. Let’s pretend we are at a circus watching the acrobats and they suddenly amaze us with an absolutely awesome stunt in the air. We open are mouths in amazement and say /o/.

      1.     Model how to make the /v/ sound. 
2.  Get all the children to make the sound together.
3.   Have the letter O written on the board, as well as, example words.

D.)    “Today we are going to learn about the sound letter O makes in words like top and hot.”

II. Giving GESTURE to remember by:

            A.)  “Now we are going to pretend to be surprised every time we see the letter O making the short o sound.”

      1.      Model the /o/ sound, showing how to act surprised with hands on face.
2.    Remembering that the sound requires the mouth to be open in the shape of an O and model this until all children follow the example.

            “Put your hands on your checks and say /o/. Now let’s find the short o.”


            III.    Practicing the Sound with Tongue Twisters:

          A.) “Now we are going to try a tongue twister. I’ll read it first and then we will all say it together.”

1.      Slowly read the rhyme below, emphasizing the /o/ sounds in the words.
2.   Then have children say it with you.

EXAMPLE Tongue Twister:  Ollie the Octopus sings opera songs.

          B.) “Now we are going to read it together again, but this time when we hear the /o/ sound in a word we
                   are going do our surprised face.”

      1.    Read the tongue twister slowly together and when you come to a /o/ sound stop and pretend to be surprised.
2.    Remember to make the /o/ sound when you see the o=/o/, just like when you are surprised.
3.   Repeat the above activity until you are confident that children can identify the initial /o/ sound in each of the words in the verse. 

IV. Learning the Corresponding Letter

A.)         “Now we are going to learn practice writing our O’s?”

                             1. Give each student primary paper and a pencil to write with.
                       2. Tell them that they will all be drawing O’s today on their papers.

B.)      “This is the letter O. It makes the /o / sound like in the word drop. This is how you write the letter O. Start at the roof or top line. Then draw a circle around to the bottom line and then back up and around to the top. The letter O is just like a circle. Let’s practice making big ones and little ones.”

C.)      “I want to see everyone try to draw the letter O.

      1.      Check to see that all students are getting the concept.
How them practice making ten or so more on their own.
Remind them that this letter tells us to say the /v/ sound.

“When we see the letter O in our words today we will say the /o/ sound, like we have just been stunned by a sudden surprise.”       

V.  Modeling & Finding the /O/ Sound in words:

A.)        Have students take out their letterboxes and letters. We are going to use what we just learned about the letter o to spell words. 

“I will call out a word and you can spell it using the letterboxes. Before each word I call out I will tell you how many boxes to use. Each sound or mouth move in the word will go in a box. For example, the word I am going to spell is bop. I will use three boxes (draw three boxes on the board), because it has three sounds. The first sound I hear is /b/. I will place the letter b in the first box (model on board). Now it might help to say the word again to yourself, bop. The second sound I hear is /o/. We just learned the letter o stands for /o/, so I will place the o in the second box (model on the board). The last sound I hear is /p/. I will place the p in the third box (model on board). I spelled the word bop. Now you try.”

B.)         Then give the following words: hot, pop, dog (3), flop, stop, frog (4), and blond (5). After the students spells a word.

C.)        After the students have spelled all the words then check their decoding skills by writing the same words up on the board and letting them read them to you.

VI. Story and Writing Time

A.)   Read the decodable book In the Big Top. Have the students read quietly to themselves and then reread the story together as a class, allowing students to take turns reading out loud.

B.)   Then the teacher reads the story a third time. As the story is read, have the students find all the /o/ words they hear. This time let them use their short o gesture to show that they have found an /o/ word.

C.)   After reading, ask the students to tell you the /o/ words they heard in the story and write them on the board.

D.)   Then have the students draw a picture of their favorite surprise and then write about it. Encourage them to use some of the words we put up on the board.

VII.       Assessment Time

A.) Give each student a copy of the short o assessment sheet.

B.) Tell them to circle only the words that have the o=/o/ sound like in the word mop.

“We are going to circle all the words that we can find that have the /o/ sound, just like we hear in the word mop.”

C.) These sheets will show which students may need more practice with the short o vowel


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

              Kathryn Boyd, Choir Singer Says . . . /o/

              Shelley Bennett, Open Wide.

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