“Icky Sticky!”

Beginning Reading Lesson
Katie Lincoln

    In order to read and spell words, children must have the knowledge of the alphabetic principle, the idea that letters represent phonemes and spellings map out phonemes in spoken words.  Knowledge of letter-sound correspondences must be present in order for children to successfully decode words and have future reading success.  The most difficult phonemes for children to recognize are vowels. This lesson is aimed at helping children identify the correspondence i = /i/. 
They will recognize /i/ in spoken words by learning a memorable representation and a letter symbol, and then practice finding /i/ in words. 


* Copy of Liz Is Six for each student

* Copy of picture page for each student

* Crayons

* Primary Paper and Pencil

* Dry Erase Board and Marker

* Copy of the Tongue Twister for each student

* Plastic letters for each student (i,s,h,p,b,t,g,l,m,k,d,d)

* Elkonin boxes for each student

* Large Elkonin boxes for teacher

* Large letters for teacher (i,s,h,p,b,t,g,l,m,k,d,d )

* Picture of “Icky, Sticky!” (child with glue on hands


1. “It is very important in reading to know the sounds that different letters make.  Today, we are going to learn a fun way to remember when you see i in a word it says /i/.  Have you ever gotten glue stuck on your fingers? What sound did you make when you had glue stuck on you? That’s right! I bet you said /i/ck! Let’s pretend that we have glue on our fingers.  Remember to make the /i/ sound as in /i/ck as you try to rub the glue off of your fingers! /iiii/ck!  One other way to remember the sound is to say the words “Icky Sticky” (show picture) as you are doing it.  Let’s try it together. “Icky Sticky!”

2. “Now, let’s all look at a tongue twister.  Let’s read it together first. (Iggie from Indiana lives in an igloo).  This time when we say it, every time we hear the /i/ sound, let’s all make the “Icky Sticky!” hand motion and stretch out the /i/ sound.  (Iiiigggie from Iiiiindiana liiiives iiiin an iiiigloo).”

3. Have the students tell if they hear the /i/ sound in different words.  “Do you hear /i/ in stand or sit? slurp or sip? big or small?”

4. “Now that we have mastered the /i/ sound in spoken language, (do “Icky Sticky!” hand gesture) we are going to practice writing the letter i.  So, take out a piece of primary paper and a pencil.  First, watch what I do. (Model on the board how to draw a lowercase i.  Have lines on the board that match their paper).  We start at the fence and go down to the sidewalk.  Then, pick up your pencil and give him a dot just above the fence.  Please do this five more times on your paper while I walk around and get a look at the great i’s you are drawing.”

 5. “Take out your letters and letterboxes.  Spread the letters out on your desk so that you can see each letter clearly.  (Use the big model taped on the board so that everyone can see your boxes and letters.)  Now, we are going to spell words that have the /i/ sound in them.  Remember each box represents a phoneme.  Watch as I spell the word dig.  D-d-d-i-i-i-g-g-g.  Sometimes it helps to say the word out loud so you can hear all of the sounds.  The first sound I hear in dig is /d/.   So, I am going to put the d in the first box.  What is the second sound I hear? (do “Icky Sticky!” hand gesture) Correct!  I hear the /i/ sound.  So, I’ll put an i in the next box.  The last sound I hear is /g/, and so I put the g in the last box.  Let’s read our word.  d-i-g, dig.  It’s your turn now. Let’s see if you can spell these words that have /i/ in them.  Use your letters and letterboxes to spell these words: 2:[is], 3: [ship, bit, pig, did], 4: [list, milk], 5: [split].  (Tell the students how many boxes they will need to use for each set of words.) Do your best to spell them.  When you are finished, raise your hand and I will come check your work.  Next, I will spell the words for the students on the dry erase board and have them to read the words together for assessment and understanding.”

Pass out copies of Liz Is Six to each student.  “Today we are going to read Liz Is Six.  Have you ever played softball with a pig?  Well, this book is about Liz, a little girl who is having a birthday party.  One of the presents she gets is a mitt.  She and her friend, a pig, play a game of softball with Liz’s new mitt.  It is a close one.  Then, a ball is hit.  Will the pig be able to catch it? To find out, we will have to read this book.”  Have each student read the story aloud to a partner using their quiet voices. (Have one partner read and then switch). Walk around and observe students as they are reading.

7. For assessment, distribute a picture page to each student.  Help the students with the names of each picture.  Then, ask each of them to color the pictures of the items whose manes have the /i/ sound in it.  For further assessment, each child could come up individually and read Liz Is Six to you while you take a running record.


1. Melton, Shealy. The Glue is Sticky! (Beginning Reading)


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

3. (1990). Phonics Reader Short Vowel, Liz Is Six.  Carson, CA (USA): Educational Insights.

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