My Dentist Doesn’t Make Me Say /o/


Emergent Literacy Design

Jeanine Grimes



Rationale:The goal of this lesson is to strengthen the relationship between the letter Oo, the sound /o/, and the mouth movement that makes this sound for the students involved. This lesson aids in making the o=/o/ correspondence more recognizable to students in speech and in text. This is important in not only to teach this correspondence but also to spark curiosity in the sounds created in speech and translated during reading and writing. As students identify, blend, and segment the phonemes in words they will become more familiar with the sounds and letters associated.


Materials:Picture of dentist, Sentence written on sentence strip, Letter Oo written on sentence strip, Sentence strip to model writing Oo, Blue and red Popsicle sticks, primary paper, Pencils, Drawing paper, Crayons, Assessment worksheets for each student, Doc in the Fog book, Pot, pan, hat, lock, chip, mop, knot, no, sock, men, up, chop, trot, run written in blue or red marker

Procedures:1. Ask a question to get students interested in the lesson. “Has anyone ever been to the dentist? What are some funny or weird things your dentist makes you do?” Allow students to raise their hands and make comments. “Well, I always think its funny when my dentist tells me to open my mouth and say /o/. I thought it was weird because I thought I never made that sound anywhere else but at the dentist’s office. But I learned that my mouth makes that sound a lot of the time. Lets all pretend our dentist just asked us to make that sound.” Students and teacher make /o/ sound.

2. We can find the /o/ sound in lots of words. Let’s read this silly sentence and try to find our /o/ sound. “Oliver never occupied Oscar’s octopus.” (Written on sentence strip.) Read the sentence together three times.

3. Lets read our sentence again but this time when we hear our /o/ sound, I want everybody to tilt their head back and open up wide like your dentist just told you to say /o/. Do this twice.

4. We have been making our dentist office sound but we need a name for our dentist that tells us to say /o/. (Show letter o)Name dentist Dr. O. Tell students there is a special reason for naming our dentist Dr. O. Sometimes when we read and see the letter o in a word it makes the /o/ sound. So when you see Dr. O in a word remember that he may be telling us to say /o/.

5. Lets practice writing our o’s so that we can recognize them when we read and use them when we write. Teacher models on sentence strip how to write upper and lower case letter o. “Start just below the rooftop, go up and touch the rooftop, and all the way around to close up your uppercase “o”. Start just below the fence, go up and touch the fence, and all the way around to close up your lowercase “o”. Give students two minutes to practice writing letters. When I say “Say /o/.” I want everyone to hold up their o’s and say /o/.

6. Give students red and blue Popsicle sticks. I am going to hold up two words and say them. if you hear /o/ in a word hold up the stick that is the same color as the word. For example, Teacher holds up the word pot written in blue, and the word hat written in red. Teacher says both words out loud. Then repeats the words slowly “p,p,o,o, o, t”, “p,p,a,a,n”. Then picks up a blue Popsicle stick and says pot makes my mouth say /o/. Students repeat activity using hat, lock, chip, mop, knot, no, sock, men, up, chop, trot, run. Teacher may give sentences to intensify meaning of words.

7. “Now let’s read a book about a wizard named Doc who gets into trouble when he uses his magic wand a little too much. Listen for Dr. O’s sound. Read Doc in the Fog. Then read again and this time instruct students to lift a Popsicle stick when the here our new sound. Read book slowly to give students time to respond.

8. For assessment, pass out a worksheet with seven pairs of pictures. Ask students to color the picture that makes their mouth make the /o/ sound.


Adams, Marilyn Jager. Beginning to Read:Thinking and Learning about Print. Cambridge, MA. MIT Press. Pg. 44

            Miller, Brittain. AAAAAAAA! An Alligator! The Reading Genie

            Phonics Readers. Doc in the Fog. Carson, CA. Educational Insights.1990.

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