Say /o/ for the Doctor



Beginning Reader lesson design

By: Alex Howard


Rationale: In order for children to become fluent readers they must learn the phonemes and corresponding letters. Phonemes are sounds or vocal gestures a person hears in a spoken word. The following lesson will assist students in learning the o = /o/ phoneme.  Students will also learn to recognize /o/ (short o) in spoken words through repetition and assessment during the lesson.



- A picture of a child with his mouth open and the Doctor holding his tongue down looking inside while the child is saying /o/.

-Letter Boxes for every student in the class

-Letter box tiles (m,o,p,r,c,k,t,f,g,s,n,a,b,l,u)

- Decodable book Doc in the Fog by Sheila Cushman (enough for the whole classroom)

- Primary paper

- Pencils

- Cover up critter

- Worksheet (URL bottom of page)


Procedures: 1. The lesson will start by me saying have you ever had to open your mouth wide for the doctor and say /o/?  Pick up the picture of the child with the doctor telling him to say /o/ and then discuss to them what is going on. Well, the /o/ mouth move is the one we are looking for in words.  Let’s try it.  Pretend you are at the doctor.  Open wide /o/.Make sure you are showing exactly what to do and make sure they all are doing the same thing.  Every student should be sticking out their tongue a little and putting their finger out like they are going to touch their town and demonstrating all the gestures while making the /o/ sound. I will model this until everyone in the class understands the motion of our tongue and finger and the sound that o /o/ makes.


2. I will introduce a tongue twister using o = /o/. First, say the tongue twister to the students "The frog on the log got the dog. I want everyone to say it normal once then repeat it and stretch out the o= /o/  sound: ready, go: The frooooog oooon the loooooog gooooooooooot the dooooog."


3. Let's practice looking for the /o/ sound words we use. Say these aloud to the class and the students should hold up number 1 or 2 on their fingers. Do you hear /o/ in FOG or NAP? JUMP or DOC?  GOT or RUN?  Make sure all of the student understand and are answering the questions correctly. Then do another assessment by having the students put their tongues and fingers in the correct positions when they hear the /o/ sound in these words.  This should be done silently and just showing the mouth and finger gestures with no sounds.  Ready, go:FROG, SNAP, NOB, MAP, OCTUPUS, JUMP, TOP, AND FUN.


4. Now, we know you know how to pick out the /o/ sound in every word.  Everyone get your letterboxes out and place them flat on your desk.  Line up the letters neatly and lower case letter up so you can see them.  Be sure to only put one sound in each box. Model the word top on the board. T-o-p. (one phoneme in each box). The students should work individually on spelling the words. [words: 3- mop, rock, top 4-frog, snack, block, club, cross 5-frost, splat]  Now tell students to raise your hand once you think you have the word spelled correctly and I will come by and check before moving on to the next word. Write all the words on the board and have the students say them after they have spelled them all out to work as a review. 


5. Next, Book Talk: Doc is having a lot of trouble.  He is changing everything into something its not. Will Doc end up changing everything into something different, including himself.  Let’s read more to see what Doc ends up doing. Now, let the children find a comfortable spot in the room to read with a partner, Doc in the Fog. (they may use cover up critters here if they want) Reread the book a second time and this time with the whole class. This time having the students hold out their tongues when they hear the o = /o/ sound. (let the students know there should be no talking or sound making during this part of the lesson) Then, write the words they hear on the board so they can see them.  The students should then draw picture of the words and write about that word using invented spelling. 


6. Assessment: give the students the worksheet, it has pictures and words on it.  Below each picture there is a spot to write in the words.  Student should connect the words to the pictures by saying what each picture is and matching together.  Then they should color all the pictures that have the /o/ sound in them. (they should color the whole page)  



A Cat Nap, Carson, CA: Educational Insights, 1990.


Perasons, Matthew. (2010). AAA! I’m scared: Beginning Reading Design.

Learning about sounds in spoken words, written by Marilyn Jager Adams (1990) published by The Reading Research and Education Center, pages 53-54.


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