This lesson is designed to help children understand the sound and
spelling of /i/. Short vowels are a very hard concept for
children to learn. They have to understand that letters stand for
phonemes and how you spell words stand for the sounds we say when
speaking. In this lesson, students will be able to find the /i/
(short i) sound in spoken words, give it a meaningful name, and then be
able to find the same sounds in written words.
Chart with “Izzy, the icky, sticky Indian, was in his igloo.”
A picture of an Indian in an igloo on the chart
Flashcards with the words pig, tin, fix, man, tips, hits, and cat on
Tin Man Fix-it (Educational Insights, phonics reader)
Crayons to color a picture with
1. Introduce the lesson: All of the letters we have
learned are part of a written secret code. When we write words,
we are actually combining a bunch of sounds or mouth moves using
letters. The hard part is figuring out which letters stand for
what mouth moves. Today we are going work on finding the mouth
move for the letter i. I makes the /i/ mouth move.
Sometimes it is hard to find the /i/ sound in words because it is not
always at the beginning of the word. Sometimes it is in the
2. Ask students: Have you ever blown a big
bubble with bubble gum and it pops all over your mouth? What did
it feel like on your mouth? Would you say it was icky and
sticky? Let’s try and stretch out the words icky and sticky and
see if we can hear the /i/ sound. I will try it first. I am
going to say icky as slowly as I can. /Iiiiicccckkkyyyy/.
Did you hear the /i/ sound? Now let’s all try it with the word
sticky. /sssttttiiiiccckkkyyy/. Good! We are
going to call the /i/ sound our icky, sticky sound!
3. Let’s practice by saying a tongue twister [on
chart]. “Izzy, the icky, sticky Indian, was in his igloo.”
Let’s all say this together three times. Now let’s say it again
and as we say it, let’s try and stretch out the /i/ sound in the words
we hear it in. “IIIIIIIIIzzy, the iiiiiiiicky, stiiiiiiiiicky
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIndian, was iiiiiin hiiiiiiis iiiiiiiiigloo.”
O.K. Now let’s say it one more time and this time, let’s try and
break the /i/ sound out the word and say it separately. /i/zzy,
the /i/cky, st/i/cky /i/ndian, was /i/n h/i/s /i/gloo.
4. I will give each student a sheet of paper and ask
them to take out a pencil. “What letter do you think we use to
represent the /i/ sound? We use the letter i. Let’s try
writing it together. Start at the fence line and then draw a
straight line down to the ground. Don’t forget, we always dot our
i’s. Ok, now everyone write a full line of i’s. (I will walk around to
room and check everyone’s letters. I will also demonstrate one
more time while the children are writing.) Good, when you
see the letter I in words, it makes our icky, sticky, /i/ sound.
5. Call on student’s to answer questions and tell how
they knew: Do you hear /i/ in chin or teeth? In or
out? Trick or treat? Big or small? Now, let’s see if
you can find the mouth move in some words. Raise your hand if you
hear the /i/ sound in these words. If you don’t hear the sound,
just leave your hand on your desk. Izzy, the, icky, sticky,
Indian, was, in, his, igloo.
6. Read Tin Man Fix-It and talk about the
story. Ok, I am going to read the story again and I want you to
raise your hand when you hear the icky, sticky, /i/ sound. I will
write the words on the board after we hear them. Then, give the
students a blank sheet of paper. Ask them to draw and igloo and
have them write a story about it using their inventive spellings.
7. As an assessment, you may want to give the
students a picture worksheet. Have the students circle the
pictures with the /i/ sound in them. You may want to name the
pictures with the students before they begin.
Murray, B.A., & Lesniak, T. (1999). The
Letterbox Lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding. The
Reading Teacher, 644-650.
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