The Pink Pig


Beginning Reading

Nicole Huff

Phonemic awareness and letter name recognition are the two key means that students need to learn to be able to match phonemes to their letter spellings. The goal of this lesson is to teach children to recognize that i alone in written text will map out the /i/ phoneme in spoken words.  By helping them with this short vowel mapping I will further increase their knowledge and understanding of decoding short vowels.

Materials:  Cut jumbo pig shape from white bulletin board paper, easily accessible area on wall (to hang pig cut out), the book Liz is Six by Educational Insights, primary paper, pencil, pieces of construction paper to make enhanced laminated sized letter boxes, washable marker, page of pictures exhibiting the i=/i/ phoneme.

Who all remembers the sounds of the two short vowels that we have been learning so far? The a makes the a=/a/ and the e makes the e=/e/.  Very good everyone. Who can remember some words that have the a=/a/ sound like a sheep makes.  (Wait for response) Who can remember some of the words that have the e=/e/ sound like our grandparents make when they can’t hear us? (Wait for response).  Awesome job!

2.         Today we are going to learn the mouth move /i/ mapped out by the letter i. After a little bit of practice you will be able to spot the letter i all alone in with other words and you will know how to make your mouth say /i/.  Short i=/i/ is a messy letter, so when he goes to play he gets all icky and sticky and makes the /i/ mouth move.  When he makes that sound he moves his hands like this (demonstrate icky sticky movement).  Let us see if we can hear /i/ in some words by saying the words slowly and stretching out each individual sound.  I’ll go first.  I’m going to try “pig”: /p/…/i/…/g/.  I heard the /i/ right after the beginning sound of /p/.  Now it’s your turn.

3.         Now let’s try a new sentence.  Six pink pigs sniff six pink rats.  If you want to find the /i/ mouth move, say the sentence slowly and stretch each word out.  S…i…x  p…i…n…k  p...i…g…s  s…n…i…f…f  s…i…x  p…i...n…k  r…a…t…s.  Did everyone hear the icky sticky /i/?  Raise your hand when I say the word with the /i/ mouth move. (Repeat tongue twister).  Excellent job everyone!

4.         Now I will produce a large letter box lesson with the class.  Hang the laminated letter boxes on the board and get out your washable marker.  As a teacher you can listen to your student’s remarks and write the phonemes either for them or have them come up and write them themselves.  (Determined by class ability level and attitude).  Some example words to use are: it, pig, mit, slip, tin, fish, etc.

5.         Students should then read Liz is Six by Educational Insights once all the way through with the help of a peer or teacher.  Teachers will then read the book out loud to the students a second time and have the students raise their hands when the teacher comes across a word with the /i/ phoneme.

6.         Students should work alone and come up with their own i=/i/ word.  Have them practice writing their chosen word in their best handwriting three times.  Once the teacher approves tell the students to write their i=/i/ word on the big pink pig cutout on the board with a black marker/crayon.

7.         For assessment I will then hand out the picture page.  Students will then pick the pictures that exhibit the i=/i/ sound.  When finished they can then color a picture of a pig with the word dotted below for them to trace. 


Adams, Marilyn Jager (1990). Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print.
        MIT Press: Cambridge.

Eldredge, J. Loyd (1995). Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Simon and
         Schuster Company: New Jersey.

Liz is Six. Carson, CA (1990). Educational Insights.

Click Here for Innovations.