Open Your Mouth and Say Ah!

Beginning Reading

Alison Gray Chamberlin


Rationale: This lesson will help children identify the short vowel sound of

o = /o/.  Students will learn to recognize /o/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation, opening their mouth while making the /o/ sound.  I will reinforce the new knowledge through a letter box lesson.



-Poster with tongue twister (Oliver had an operation in October, and Oscar gave him an octopus.) and /o/ grapheme illustration ('Say Ah' on the webpage

-Letterbox and tile letters for each student. (The letters needed are: o, n, f, b, t, p, s, r, h, and g)

-Word list (2 - [on, off], 3 - [pot, bed, bob, nap, top, shed, hot], 4 - [frog, grab, stop, tent, trot])Word list (2 - [on, off], 3 - [pot, bed, bob, nap, top, shed, hot], 4 - [frog, grab, stop, tent, trot])

-Primary paper and pencil for each student

- The Reading Genie book A Hot Spot by Gerri Murray (one for each pair of students)

-List of pseudo words for the teacher (words are: fom, hof, joz, boj, and kol)



1. Say: Today we are going to learn about the letter o and the short sound it makes.  When you make the sound that o makes your mouth kind of looks like an o.  When we make the sound, your lips should not be touching.  Let's do something fun to make sure we remember how to make the sound.  Have you ever been to the doctor's office and he asked you to open your mouth and say /ah/?  Can everyone say /ah/, like me?  Well that is the sound that the short o makes.  So when you see an o, I want you to think of saying /ah/ at the doctor and how our mouth looks when we say it.

2. Now I would like you to look at this tongue tickler, 'Oliver had an operation in October, and Oscar gave him an octopus.'  I'm going to say it first, and then I want you to repeat after me.  Okay, we're going to say it one more time, only this time I want you to stretch out the o sound like when we're at the doctor.  '/O/liver had an /o/peration in /O/ctober, and /O/scar gave him an /o/ctopus.'

3. Give out the letterboxes and letters.  The students are instructed to start with only two letterboxes showing to spell the word on.  As the phonemes increase, instruct the students to change the letterboxes accordingly.  I will begin the lesson by first modeling, how to do the letterbox lesson.  "For example class, if am trying to spell the word frog, I would use four letterboxes because I hear four different sounds in frog, /f/  /r/  /o/  /g/.  I will then put one letter, or sound, in each box.  Now, we are going to spell some words that have the /o/ sound in them.  Go ahead and organize your letters and have two letterboxes showing.  Please spell the word on."  Check all the students' spellings.  Continue this procedure until all the words have been spelled.  "Now, I will spell the words for you and I would like everyone to read them as a group."  Spell all the words and have the children read them.

4. Next I will introduce a new book by giving a book talk.  Say: It sure is a hot day.  Tim has a hot job.  All he wants is a cool drink, but there's a pig in the way.  Then I will instruct the students that they are to pair up and take a turn reading the book the each other.

5. For an assessment, I will ask each student to come to my desk and read me five pseudo words.



-Reading Genie Website, Phoneme Pictures for Short Vowels:

- Reading Genie Website, Genie Books in PowerPoint: A Hot Spot by Geri Murray

-Lopez, Malissa. Say Ah!  For the Doctor Spring 2009.

 -Estes, Brittany. Open Your Mouth and Say AH! Summer 2003.

Return to Journeys index