Beginning Reading
Icky Sticky!
Mary Rouse

Rationale:  To learn to read and spell words children need the alphabetic insight that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words.  Of all the phonemes, short vowels are probably the toughest to identify and read.  This lesson will help children identify /i/ in written words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then practice reading /i/ in words.

Materials:  Primary paper and pencils for each child; letterboxes and letterbox letters (i, t, n, j, m, s, p, f, x, b, g·) for each child, chalkboard, chalk, Tin Man Fix-It books for each child, flannel board, flannel suckers

Procedures:  (1) Introduce the lesson by explaining that our written language is a secret code.  The tricky part is learning what letters stand for÷the mouth moves we make as we say words.  Words are made up of sounds that are represented by different letters.  Today we are going to work on the short i as we read it in many different words.
(2) Ask students: Have you ever eaten a sticky piece of candy before?  Your fingers get all sticky donât they?  An easy way to remember what the short i sounds like is to say ãicky stickyä.  ãIcky stickyä begins with an /i/ sound.  Letâs all say ãicky stickyä two times.
(3) Letâs see if we all remember how to write an ãIä.  As I hand out pieces of primary paper everybody put on their thinking cap of what a capital ãIä looks like and what a little ãiä looks like.  O.K. raise your hand if you can tell me how to start a capital ãIä·.  Raise your hand if you can tell me how to draw a little ãiä·
(4)  I am going to show you how to spell words using letterboxes.  There is going to be a box for each different phoneme in a word.  If I want to spell "kit" I am going to need three letter boxes because there are three phonemes.  Say "kit" emphasizing each phoneme.  Draw on the chalk board three boxes and write "k" in the first one, "i" in the second one, and "t" in the last one.  If I was going to spell out "kick" I would still only need three phoneme boxes because there are still only three phonemes.  Say "kick" emphasizing each phoneme.  Draw on the board three more boxes.  The first box would have "k", the second one would have "i" and the third one would have "ck".  Although "ck" has two letters it only makes one sound.
(5) Everybody pull out their letterboxes as I pass out your letters.  We are going to spell some words with /i/ in it.  The first word has 2 phonemes in it so we need to have two boxes out.  Everybody spell ãitä.  Can someone come and draw on the board what they have put in their letterboxes for ãitä.  (Have 2 boxes already drawn on the board for the child to fill in the letters).  After writing the letters explain to the class why you put those letters.  Continue the process with the words tin, sip, Jim, fix, big·.
(6) I am going to write some words on the board and I would like for the class to repeat what it says after I finish writing it.  Write it, tin, sip·.
(7) In a little while we are going to read a story about a robot that fixes things.  If you could have your own personal robot to help you do something then what would it do?  Everybody write on their primary paper about what their robot would do.  I would like for your sentences to include at least one word with /i/ in it.  (allow children time to write)  Would someone like to share what he or she wrote with the class.
(8) Now we are going to read Tin Man Fix-It.  I would like for everyone to look for words with /i/ in it.  As I call your name I would like for you to read to the class the next sentence.
(9) For assessment play sucker concentration.  Have felt suckers cut out with different /i/ words on the back.  Place the suckers on a flannel board.  Divide the class into two teams.  Students must pronounce each /i/ word that they turn over correctly.

Reference:  Murray, B. A., & Lesniak, T. (1999).  The letterbox lesson:  A hands-on approach for teaching decoding.  The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.

(1990). Phonics Reader Short Vowel Tin Man Fix-It. Carson, CA (USA), St Albans, Herts. (UK):  Educational Insights.

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