Iiiicky Stiiicky Fingers!

Beginning Reading

Kate DeGuenther


Rationale:  For students to learn words, they need to learn that each letter that makes up a word has a sound.  They also need to realize and learn that when those sounds are put together they make words.  Short vowels are often harder to the students to see and say their sound.  This lesson will help students to identify /i/ (short i).  The students will learn this sound by seeing it in words, reciting it to the teacher, and by learning a meaningful representation and letter symbol.


Picture of Icky Sticky lady

Elkonian Boxes (enough for class)

Letter tiles (b, c, g, h, i, k, l, m, n, o, p, p, r, s, t, w- enough for class)

Dry Erase Board

Dry Erase Marker


Primary Paper

Liz is Six (enough copies for class)

Notecards (mid, lib, dif, gip)




1.  Introduce the lesson by explaining to the students that they are going to learn about the letter i and the sound it makes.  "We see and hear the sound i everyday.  Can everyone say the i sound with me?"  Allow the students to say it with me.  "Do you hear the i in biiiig?   Can you tell me another word that has the /i/ sound in it?  Great job!"


2. Ask the students,"Has anyone every gotten their hands sticky before?  Maybe after eating a popsicle or a piece of candy?  Me too!  This is a picture of a girl who has sticky hands and she is saying, "Iiiiicky, stiiiicky!"  The letter i makes the /i/ sound like we hear when we say iiiicky stiiiicky.  You say the /i/ sound by having your mouth open and pulling your lips apart.  Can you all repeat the /i/ sound with me while making icky sticky fingers?  Let's say i say /i/ with iiiicky stiiicky fingers.  Ready?  'I say /i/ with iiicky stiiicky fingers!'  Well done!" 


3.  "Many words have the /i/ sound in them.  I'm going to tell you a tongue twister.  Listen to me say it first.  Once I say it, we will all say it together and make our sticky fingers when we hear the /i/ sound."  Say, "The important Indian was ill inside the igloo."  Now say it with me using your icky sticky fingers.  "The important Indian was ill inside the igloo.  Do you hear the /i/ sound?  Let me see if you can do use your icky sticky fingers by yourselves.  Ready?  The important Indian was ill inside the igloo.  Great job!"


4.  "Now we are going to practice finding the /i/ sound in spoken words.  I'm going to say two words and you are going to tell me which word has the /i/ sound.  For example, I say do you hear /i/ in brick or stone?  You would answer brick.  Are you ready?  Do you hear /i/ in boat or ship?  Good, you hear /i/ in ship.  Sit or stand?  Yes, you hear /i/ in sit.  Dog or pig?  You hear /i/ in pig.  Lift or drop?  Good job.  You hear /i/ in lift. 


5. Now pass out the Elkonin boxes and the letters to each student.   In front of the class, model how to use the boxes for the students.  First tell them, "Each box stands for a sound that we hear in spoken language not necessarily a single letter".  Model for the students how to spell it.  If a word only has two sounds in it, then I will only use two boxes.  Demonstrate the word in.  "The word in has two sounds: iiiii and nnnnn".  Show the students that you would place the i in the first box and the n in the second box.  "Remember, when you are trying to decide how many sounds a word has, remember to stretch out the word and listen carefully to the sounds".


6.  Give the students one word at a time to spell.  While they are spelling the words, the teacher should be walking around the room observing the student's work and understanding.  If a student spells a word incorrectly, read the word to them in the way they have the word spelled and have them try it again.  LBL word list:  2 phonemes- [it], 3 phonemes- [him, pop, win, sip], 4 phonemes- [brick, grip, slim], 5- [print]


7.  After completing the lesson, take up all the materials.  Using the dry-erase board, write each letterbox word on the board one at time to have the students read the word.  Start with the two phoneme words and go up to the five phoneme word.  If students have trouble with a word, cover up part of the word and model for the class how to blend the sounds together to form the word.


8.  Now, pass out the book Liz is Six.  Say, "Today we are going to be reading a book called Liz is Six.  This book is about a little girl who has a birthday.  For her birthday, she gets a baseball mitt and decides to play baseball with her friends.  A pig is up to bat first. Can you imagine playing baseball with a pig??  I sure haven't!  To find out what happens when the pig is up to bat, you'll have to read the story.  I want all of you to whisper read the story to yourself.  If you have trouble, try using your cover-up critter to help".  As the students are reading, walk around the room to observe.


9.  After the students finish reading, say, "Since you just read about Liz and one of her favorite birthday presents, I want you to get out a piece of primary paper and write me a message telling me the best present you ever got on your birthday". 


10.  Assessment:   As the students are writing their message, call them over one at a time to read a list of psuedowords.  Say, "I want you to read these words to me.  They are silly, made up words but I want you to try and say them out loud to me.  Ready?"  Give them the words mid, lib, dif, gip.  Assess how well the students could pronounce the pseudowords to judge if they understand that i makes the /i/ sound.


Phoneme Picture:



Lesson referenced:

Icky Sticky Ink by Courtney Nims



Icky!  Sticky!  By Bailey Taylor



 Phonics Readers Short Vowels: Liz Is Six. (1990). Carson, CA (USA), St Albans, Herts. (UK): Educational Insights.

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