Here Kitty, Kitty

Amber Farrulla

Rationale:  This lesson will allow children to learn to recognize the correspondence i = /i/ in written and spoken words.  The children are able to practice spelling and reading words that use this correspondence through the letterbox lesson.  This lesson also allows children to practice listening for phonemes in spoken words (word game).  Eldridge states that phonemic awareness is a necessity for children to become more successful readers.


*This lesson is designed for a small group of students.
1.    “Today we are working on i = /i/.  The letter i is a vowel.  Can anyone tell me another vowel?  a, e, i, o, u.  The short vowel ‘i’ is important because it makes words like lip, spin, and sit.  Today we are going to work on spelling, writing and reading words that have /i/ in them.   

2.    “Have you ever called a kitty?  Well, when I call my kitty I say here kitty, kitty, kitty.  Now I want everybody to call a kitty with me.”  Children and teacher say ‘here kitty, kitty, kitty.’  “Good, now we are going to hold out /i/, just to be sure the kitty can hear us calling.”  Teacher and students say ‘here ki-i-i-ity,       ki-i-i-ity, ki-i-i-ity.’  “Great job class.  Now we are going to say a tongue twister.”  Teacher uses chart and pointer and points to each word as he/she says it.  “I am going to say it for you first.  Kim’s important kitty became ill in an igloo.  Now I want everybody to say it with me.  Great, now we are going to say the tongue twister a little differently.  We are going to hold out /i/ in the short ‘i’ words in the tongue twister.”  Teacher and students say ‘Ki-i-im’s i-i-important ki-i-i-ity became i-i-ill i-i-in an i-i-igloo.’  “Great job everybody.”       
3.    “We are going to do a letterbox lesson today.”  Words used in the letter box lesson include:  It (2), is (2), sip (3), lid (3), slim (4), print(5); review words from the previous lesson:  lap (3) and flat (4).  Teacher hands out one kit per student.  “I need everybody to turn all their letters so I can see lower case letters only.  I need everybody to be good listeners because I am going to tell you the number of boxes you will need.  First, I am going to give you an example.  I have three phonemes, or boxes in my word.“  Teacher draws three boxes on the chalk board.  “I am going to spell bat.”  Bat is a review word from the previous lesson.  “ /b/,” the teacher writes a ‘b’ in the first box.  “/a/,” the teacher writes an ‘a’ in the second box.   “/t/,” the teacher writes a ‘t’ in the final box.  “/b/ /a/ /t/.  ‘bat.’  The teacher starts with two phoneme words and works his or her way up to the five phoneme words.  After each word is spelled the teacher checks to make sure the students have the correct grapheme/phoneme correspondence in each box.  If a student does not use the correct graphemes the teacher should say the word the student spelled and ask him or her to spell the correct word.  {Example:  “John you spelled cit (incorrect word), can you spell cat (correct word).”}   “Now I am going to spell a word for you on the chalkboard, when you know the word I want you to raise your hand.”  Teacher waits for all the students to raise their hands.  “I want everybody to say the word together.”  Teacher writes each word, following this process, on the chalkboard.

4.    “Now we are going to read a book entitled Liz Is Six (a decodable text).  This book is about a girl named Liz.  She is turning six today.  To find out how her birthday goes you have to read the book.  Teacher allows all students to read the book.  “Now, I want you to read Liz Is Six with your neighbor think of a special way to recognize /i/ throughout the book, like giving a thumbs up.”

5.  “We are going to play a game.  I am going to say two words.  I want you to tell me which word has /i/ in it.  /i/ may be at the beginning or middle of the word so listen closely.  Ready?  Good.  (1) in or out.  In, good job.  (2) sip or slug.  Sip, good job.  (3)  fish or shark.  Fish, great job.  (4) igloo or snow.  Igloo, correct.”  The teacher can continue with this activity for as long as he or she cares to.  Other /i/ words that can be used for this activity are:  inch, slip, swim, is.       

6.  Assessment:  The teacher calls each student, individually, to his or her desk and asks the student to read The Tin Man (a decodable text).  As the student reads the teacher completes a running record. 

Correct reading
Correct Reading
No mistake.
I saw a pirate.
      / / / /

Say a different word than what is written


Make a second miscue on the same word.
I was a pirate.


I was, er, say a pirate.  
     / was / /

    / was/say / /
Skip a word that is there.
I saw pirate.
    / / _ /
Say a word that is not there
I saw a man pirate.
  / / /     ^     /
Fix the miscue.
I was, I mean, saw a pirate.
   / was/SC / /

Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ:  Merrill. (1995) p. 32.

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

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Amber Farrulla
Beginning Reading