Emergent Literacy Design


 Michelle Mummert

Rationale: For children to learn how to read and spell words, one must have an understanding of the alphabetic principle.  Children need to be able to recognize that letters stand for phonemes ad spellings map out phonemes in spoken words.  Long and short vowels are hard for children to understand but short vowels are the most difficult to recognize.  This lesson will help children recognize /i/ (short i) in spoken words and practice finding /i/ in words.

Materials: Primary paper and pencil, chart with “Iggy found an icky sticky inchworm in Italy”, drawing paper and crayons, Icky Sticky Inchworm (Educational Insights), box of objects, set of picture cards for each student with (lips, witch, bed, mint, fish, bear, hat, bug)


  1. I will introduce the lesson by saying that the tricky part of our language is learning what letters stand for the mouth moves we make as we speak.  Today we are going to practice spotting the mouth move /i/.  Once we practice the mouth move /i/, we will be able to spot it in all sorts of places.
  2. “Who has ever gotten glue stuck all over their fingers?” When we get glue all over our fingers, we say that it is icky sticky! Let’s hold our fingers and act like we have icky sticky glue all over them.  In the word icky sticky we hear the sound /i/.  Let’s say icky sticky several times to hear the /i/.
  3. Display tongue twister chart. I am going to give you a tongue twister that has many /i/ sounds in it. (read tongue twister) “Iggy found an icky sticky inchworm in Italy!” Lets’ say this tongue twister together 3 times.  Okay this time when we say it I want us to stretch out the /i/ sound in every word that you hear /i/ sound in. Iiiiiigy found an iiiiicky stiiiiicky iiiiinchworm iiiiin Iiiiitaly.  When /i/ is at the beginning of the word, we can break it apart from the rest of the word. /I/  ggy found an /i/  cky sticky /i/  inchworm /i/  n /I/  taly.
  4. “Let’s practice writing the letter that makes the mouth movement /i/.”  [Students take out primary paper and pencil] “We use the letter i to spell /i/. Let’s write it: Start at the fence and draw a straight line to the sidewalk, then pick up your pencil and put a dot right above the line you just drew between the fence and the roof. [Model this] Now I want you to practice writing i.  While I am walking around checking your work I want you to make a whole row of i.  Now when you see the letter I by itself in a word you will know to say /i/.
  5. I have some objects in this box that have the /i/ sound and others that do not.  When I pull out an object from the box I want all of you to tell me what the object is.  After we name the object, I want you to raise you hand if you hear the /i/ sound in the word.  If you do not hear it do not raise your hand.  Let’s do one for practice! (Pull out stuffed pig). Students raise hand. Good job boys and girls! Now lets try some more.
  6. I am going to read Icky Sticky Inchworm and talk about the story.  That was a good story let’s read it again but this time I want you to say Icky Sticky Inchworm when you hear a word with the /i/ sound.  I will write these words up on the chalkboard.
  7. Students will then take out primary paper and pencil and write a silly story trying to use as many /i/ sound words that they can from the words I wrote on the board. After students have written a story, students will draw a picture to go along with the story. Students work will be displayed out in the hall.
  8. For assessment, give each student a set of cards with pictures of objects on them.  First let’s name all the objects together.  Now I want you to go back and circle the objects that you hear the /i/ sound in.

Reference: Eldredge, J. Lloyd (2005). Teaching Decoding Why and How.  Pearson Education, Inc.  Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.  

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