The Icky Sticky Igloo

Emergent Literacy

Jamie Johnson 

This lesson will focus on the correspondence i=/i/.  Its purpose is to help students understand the sound and spelling of /i/.  Vowels are used to spell all words in our vocabulary, so therefore it is important for students to understand the phoneme and grapheme of each vowel.  In this lesson, students will be able to identify the /i/ (short i) in spoken words, give it a meaningful name, and learn to spell words using the short I (/i/).

- Primary paper
- Pencils
- Poster with "Izzy lives in the icky sticky igloo with her Indian friends"
- Tin Man Fix-It (Educational Insights, phonics reader)
- Flash cards with the words: it, fit, did, sit, pig, fix, tin, kiss, and rip


1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that our written language is a secret code.  It is a combination of letters that make certain sounds by moving our mouths certain ways.  Today we are going to learn what mouth movement we make when we use the letter i and what sound it makes as a short i (i=/i/).

2. Ask students have you ever gotten gum in your hair or glue on your fingers?  What did it feel like?  Was it icky and sticky?  Lets all say that together icky and sticky.  Now let's say it real slow, iicckkyy and ssttiicckkyy.  Good.  Do you hear the /i/ in those two words?  Good.  Let's all say those words one more time real, real slow.  Iiiiicccckkkkyyyy  ssssttttiiiicccckkkkyyyy.  For now on we will call the /i/ sound icky sticky.  This will help us remember what sound the i makes.

3. Let's take a look at a tongue twister (poster).  Izzy lives in the icky stick igloo with her Indian friends.  Now let's all say it 3 times together.  Good!  Now every time we hear the sound /i/ lets stretch it out and say it loud.  IIIIzzy liiiives iiiin the iiiicky stiiiicky iiiigloo wiiiith her Iiiindian friends.  Lets say it one more time, but this time lets break the /i/ sound out of the word and say it separately. /i/zzy l/i/ves /i/n the /i/cky st/i/cky /i/gloo w/i/th her /i/ndian friends.

4. [Pass out primary paper to students.  Have them use their pencil.]  The letter i is used to spell /i/.  Let's all practice writing our i on our paper.  Start at the fence and draw a straight line down the sidewalk.  Lift up your pencil and dot the line above the fence.  Everybody hold up your paper and let me see your i.  Very good.  Now I want every one to make me ten more i's using the pattern I gave you.  When everyone is finished put your pencil down on your desk.  For now on when you see the letter i all by itself you will know it makes the /i/ sound.

5. I am going to show you how to pick out the /i/ in the word pig.  I am going to stretch out the word pig very slow and I want you to listen for icky sticky.  P-p-p-i-i-i-g-g-g.  P-p-p-i-i...  There it is, the icky sticky.  Did everyone hear it?  Lets all say it together real slow.  P-p-p-i-i-i-g-g-g.  Good.

6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew:  Do you hear /i/ in is or up?  Kid or bad?  Pig or get? Thin or teeth?  Trick or treat?  Did or bad?  Now let's see if you can find the mouth move in some words.  If you hear the /i/ sound in a word raise your hand.  If you do not hear the /i/ sound in a word keep your hand on your desk.  Izzy lives in the icky sticky igloo with her Indian friends.

7. Read Tin Man Fix-It and talk about the story.  I am going to read the story again and every time you hear a word with /i/ I want you to raise your hand.  I will write the words on the board and we come across them.  After the story have students write about an igloo using inventive spelling.

8. Assessment: Pass out a picture page and have the students circle the pictures whose name has the sound /i/.  After they have circled their picture have them name the picture using inventive spelling.


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

The Icky Stick Indian by Melissa Hensley

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