Doc on top

Beginning Reader Lesson

Anne Kimbell Grant






Reading fluency is very important to improvement of reading comprehension, which is the ultimate goal of reading instruction.  In order for a student to become a fluent and skillful reader, the student must learn to recognize correspondences in words.  In this lesson, students will be learning the o=/o/ correspondence.  They will learn to recognize o=/o/ in words.  Mastering short vowel sounds is imperative before moving on to more difficult correspondences, and to becoming a more fluent reader.



1.      Elkonin letterboxes

2.      letter manipulatives (o, f, f, n, i, t, l, c, k, p, h, s, r, g, b, x)

3.      primary paper

4.      pencils

5.      The Big Top

6.      poster board with „Doc had a sock on the top of the pot.š



1.  First, I will review the short vowel correspondences to be learned before o=/o/. I will do this by playing a game with the children. I will tell them that I am looking at a b-a-t. Can anyone tell me what this is? Then I will continue until I feel that the children have a grasp on the short vowels.  I will ask the students to tell me what short vowel sounds we have learned so far, and have them give me an example.
2.  Today, we are going to learn a new short vowel sound.  It is the /o/ sound.  The letter o makes the /o/ sound.  You make this sound when the doctor tells you to open your mouth wide and say /o/.  Try it with me.  Open your mouth really wide and make the /o/ sound with your throat.  Ready.../o/.  Great job!
3.  I will have poster board with a tongue twister written on it.  Now, we are going to learn a tongue twister with our new sound /o/ in it.  Listen closely as I say it.  „Olly the octopus yelled olly olly oxenfree.š  Now, everyone say it with me and make sure to make the /o/ sound you make at the doctor.  „Olly the octopus yelled olly olly oxenfree.š  Great job!  Now, let‚s stretch out the /o/ sound.  „Ooolly the oooctopus yelled ooolly ooolly oooxenfree.š  Good work!  I really heard the /o/ that time.
4.  Everyone take out your letterboxes and your letters.  I will remind you how this works.  I will call out a word, and you spell it on your letterbox.  I will model the example b-o-x for them.
The following are the words I will use for the letterbox:
 2 [on, off, it]

3 [lock, pot, hop, box, fit]

4 [frog, stop, flip]
I will tell the students how many boxes to have showing.  Then, I will say the words that are appropriate for that number of boxes.  I will walk around and check to see how everyone is doing and scaffold as needed.
5.  Next, I will spell the words for the children on the whiteboard and have them read the words together for assessment and understanding.
6.  I will tell them to get out your primary paper and pencil because we are going to write a message.  We are going to write about frogs hopping.  You can write anything you want about them, but remember that when you write the o in frog that it makes the /o/ sound.  Try to think of other words that have the /o/ sound in them in your message or somewhere else on your paper. I will also have the students to copy the words from our letterbox lesson that are on the boards onto their primary paper.
7.  Then I will pass out copies of The Big Top to every pair of students.  I will have them take turns reading to each other as I walk around the room. I will provide help (scaffold) as needed. After they have finished, I will have each group of children write two sentences about the book.
8.  I will have the students come to the front of the room and sit down.  I will reread The Big Top to them.  I will tell them that when they hear a word with the doctor sound /o/ in it to raise their hands.



I will observe the students  throughout the lesson. I will have a checklist on what to look for in every student‚s understanding. I will also take up their journal and check to see if they copied the words correctly and to make sure they made all of their letters correctly. That way I can work with a student if he/she is not printing correctly.





-best effort given


Eldredge, J. Lloyd.  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classroom.  Prentice Hall Publishing  Company.  Upper Saddle River, NJ:  1995.
Murray, B. A. and T. Lesniak.  „The Letterbox Lesson:  A Hands-on Approach for  Teaching Decoding.š  The Reading Teacher.  1999.  644-650.



Click here to return to Innovations