Olly Octopus Says Ahhh
Meredith Coblentz
Emergent Readers

Rationale:  Recognizing phonemes is a crucial part of learning how to read.  Though this is often difficult for children this lesson is designed to help students identify the /o/ (short o).  From the lesson the children will learn to recognize the /o/ sound in written and spoken words.

Materials:  Primary pencil and paper, poster with tongue twister "Olly the octopus ate olives in October," drawing paper and crayons, stickers, picture page drawn by the teacher containing an olive, frog, box, dog, fox, Doc in the Fog- Educational Insights.

1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that our written language is a secret code.  The tricky part is learning the sounds that each letter makes.  Today we are going to work on spotting the mouth move /o/.  It may be difficult at first but with practice it will get easier to find the /o/ sound in words.

2. Ask students:  Have you ever gone to the doctor and he has asked you to open your mouth and say ahhh.  That is the sound that /o/ makes.  Letís pretend that we are at the doctor and say /o/. /o/.

3. Let's try a tongue twister. (on poster) "Olly the octopus ate olives in October." Everybody say it three times together.  Now say it again and this time stretch the /o/ at the beginning of the words.  Ooolly the oooctopus ate ooolives in Oooctober.  Try it again and this time break it off the word. "/o/ lly the /o/ ctopus ate /o/ lives in /o/ ctober". Great job!

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 line, curve around and touch the sidewalk then curve back up to the fence line. [Model each step] I want to see everybodyís o.  Once I have given you a sticker you make six more just like it.  When you see o in a word all by itself thatís the signal to say /o/.

5. Ask students questions.  When called upon ask them how they knew.  Do you hear /o/ in frog or snake?  Dog or cat?  Wrong or right?  Mom or Dad?  Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /o/ in some words.  Say /o/ if you hear /o/ or no if you don't.  [Give words one by one]  Olly, the, octopus, ate, olives, in, October.

6. Sing a song to the tune of Skip to the Lou but change the words as follows:  Who has a word that starts with /o/? Starts, starts, starts with /o/?  Who has a word that starts with /o/? Skip to my Lou, my darling!  Substitute words with /o/ (short o).  For example, Olly is a word that starts with /o/.  Starts, starts, starts with /o/.  Olly is a word that starts with /o/.  Skip to my Lou, my darling.  Sing the songs three more times using octopus, olives, frog, box, and dog.

7. Read the book "My Very Own Octopus" by Bernard Most.  Read it again and have the students raise their hand when they hear /o/.  List the words they choose on the board.  Then have the students draw a picture of an octopus and tell what they would change if they could use invented spelling.  Display their work.

8. Assessment- Ask the children to circle the pictures that contain the /o/ sound.

1) Eldredge, J. Lloyd. (1995).  Developing Phonemic Awareness. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Pp. 59-61
2) http://www.teachers.net/lessons/posts/1086.html. (1999). Early Childhood Mailring ().  #1086 "O" Letter Ideas.

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