Isabelle the Iguana

Beginning Literacy Design


Jennifer Kate Hall

Rationale: "Before children can acquire a productive understanding of the significance of words and letters, they must acquire an awareness of the spoken correspondences, words and phonemes" (Adams, 56).To start this process, children have to begin with learning correspondences. A correspondence is made up of a grapheme and a phoneme. This lesson focuses on the correspondence I=/i/.By the end of this lesson, the students will be able to identify and read written and spoken words which contain the short I=/i/ sound through the use of tongue twisters, letterbox lessons, and shared and independent reading.

Materials: Chart with tongue twister (Isabelle is an itsy bitsy iguana who is ill with injuries), board, dry erase markers, primary paper and pencils for each student, individual letterboxes for each student, a set of letters for each student (c, d, g, h, I, k, m, n, p, s, t, and w), stickers, cards with picture of glued hands on one side and X on the other side, Mig the Pig, easel, pointer, individual copies of Liz is Six for each student, and journals


  1. Say: "Today class, we are going to learn about the letter I. The letter I and its sound are found in many different words, and by the end of this lesson you will be able to see and hear the I=/i / sound in those words." 
  2. Say: "Can anyone tell me a word that has I and makes the /i/ sound in it? [hit] Exactly! What about another one? [eye] Well, that's close, but listen to the difference: /I/ and /i/. They sound almost alike, but one says/i/ and the other says /I/. Good try though, Thank you for thinking. But today, we are going to talk about the sound I makes when is sounds like /i/. Have you ever touched something sticky and thought, "EEWW! Icky Sticky!!" Well, that is one way to remember that I says /i/. Now everyone press your hands together and let's pretend that we have glue stuck in between our hands (you could actually let the children glue their hands together so they would better understand the importance of the movement). When we pull our hands apart, the glue is slimy and sticky between them. Let's do this as we say 'icky sticky' making the /i/ sound. [Demonstrate and involve the class].
  3. Okay, remember this movement, because we will come back to it in just a second. But first, let's try this tongue twister [on chart]. "Isabelle is an itsy bitsy iguana who is ill with injuries" Say: "Let's say it together three times." "Now let's say it again, only this time stretch out the /i/ sound in each word and slowly pull our hands apart [do glue-hands demonstration] while we think of 'icky sticky'. IIIIIsabelle iiiis an iiiitsy bitsy iiiguana who iiiis iiill with iiinjuries." Now this time let's break off our icky sticky sound at the beginning of each word. "/i/sabelle /i/s an /i/tsy bitsy /i/guana who /i/s /i/ll with /i/juries." Wonderful boys and girls!!
  4. Say: "Okay, now we are going to practice making the letter I to represent the sound /i/. [Students will need primary paper and pencils]. For lowercase I, start at the fence and go down. Then give it a feather. (The teacher should demonstrate as she talks it through how to correctly draw lowercase I). Now I want everyone to make the letter I on your paper. Once I put a sticker on your paper for making it correctly, I want you to make nine more I's on your paper. When you see it again, you will know that this letter sound like/i/, icky sticky. Great job everyone!!
  5. Say: "I want you to think of as many words as you can that have the letter I in them. You can look around the room and on the word wall to help you, and when you know one raise you hand and I will call on you." Write each word on a large chart for the students to see. Ask the child, "Does this I say iiiigh like icky sticky?" Make sure all children understand. Say: "I am going to see if you can hear the /i/ sound in some words. [Have students take out cards with the letter I and a picture of hands with glue on them on one side and an X on the other side]. I will say the word and if you hear /i/ in that word show me the card with the icky sticky picture on it. If you do not hear the /i/ sound, show me the X side of the card. [Give the words one by one]. Kick, punch, sit, stand, slim, skin, fat, hair. Great Job class!! Say: "Now I am going to draw letterboxes on the board and I want you to get your own boxes out of your desk. First, I am going to put the letters in my boxes and I want you to read the word. Remember that each box stands for one mouth move and some boxes can have more than one letter. [Model how to do this with the word go using two boxes]. Take out two boxes and I want you to spell the word go. That means you will put the g in the first box because it makes the /ggg/ sound by itself, and the o in the second box because it makes the /O/ sound by itself. Take out your set of the letters c, d, g, h, I, k ,m, n, p, s, t, w. Let's start with 2 boxes. I will say the word and I want you to spell it. It, is. Move to 3 boxes for hit, pin, chip, pig. Move to 4 boxes for swim, skin. Now let's read the words without the boxes. I will spell them on the board and you read them aloud. [Spell each word in the list].
  6. Have the students sit on the floor in front of the teacher. Say: "I am going to share with you a story about Mig the Pig. There are several words in this book      that make the sound /i/. When I point to a word, I want everyone to read that word. [While reading the book, point to the words on the right side of the          page in big, bold print]. Read Mig the Pig, a big book by Colin and Jacqui Hawkins emphasizing I=/i/.  Say: "Now I want you to return to your seats and take out your copy of Liz is Six. This story is about a little girl named Liz, who has a birthday and gets a mitt for a gift. She and her friends do something fun with this new present. I want you to read silently or in a low whisper and find out about what happens to Liz." After each child has finished, have them reread the book and this time make a list of the words that make the I=/i/ sound.
     7.  For assessment, the teacher will go around and listen to each student whisperread.She will make sure that they are not missing more that one word on                   eachpage and if they struggle with a word, she will send them back to reread thatparticular sentence.To further assessment, the students will write a                       summary and the text in their journals as well as include the listing of the /i/ sounding words they wrote down, and a list of some presents they have gotten on               theirown birthdays.


Adams, Marilyn J., Beginning to Read. Summary. 1990. p.56

Hawkins, Colin and Jacqui. Mig the Pig.Dorling Kindersley, 1995.

Liz is Six. Educational Insights, 1990.

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