“An Icky Sticky Mess”

Beginning Reading

Emily Cole



Rationale:  In order for children to become successful readers they must first understand the alphabetic principle.  The alphabetic principle is the idea that a word’s letter sequence-its spelling-is a map of the phonemes of the spoken word.  Short vowels are very important for children to learn, because they are found in many words.  This lesson teaches the letter-sound correspondence i = / i /.  Students will identify / i  / in spoken words, spell and read words with / i / using letterboxes.  Students will also read a new book that uses the / i / correspondence frequently. 





1.  Begin by explaining to students that they will be learning about the letter i and the sound / i / makes.  “Today we are going to learn the about the vowel i.    We are going to work really hard to learn to read and spell words with i in them.  There are lots of words that have the / i / sound in them.”


2.  Teach the students a motion to help them remember i = / i /.  “Has everyone ever spilled their drink all over the floor?  I know that I have spilled my drink lots of times!  And every time I spill my drink, I have to clean it up and it’s an icky sticky (As you say icky-sticky move your hands as if you were trying to get something sticky off of them)  mess to clean up!    Can everyone make the hand gesture I just made like they are trying to get the icky sticky drink off their hands?  (Have the students practice the gesture several times.)”


3.  Teach the students a tongue twister with the repetitive sound / i  /.  “Now we are going to learn a silly tongue twister with the / i  / sound in it.  I am going to say the whole tongue twister at first.  Then I am going to break it up and you will say it with me.  Everyone listen closely!  Iggy the iguana lived in an igloo.  Now you do it with me.  Iggy the iguana…lived in…an igloo.  (Have students say the tongue twister two times.)  Now I want you to do our icky sticky hand motion when we say the  / i  / sound in a word.  Ready?  Iggy the iguana lived inside an igloo.  (Have the students practice the tongue twister two times with the hand motions.)”


3.  Have students identify the / i / sound in spoken words.  Now I am going to give you two words.  I want you to tell me which word has the / i  / sound in it.  Ready?  Do you hear / i / sound in big or bag?  Do you hear the / i / sound  in zag or zig?  Do you hear / i / sound  in dead or did?  Good job!


4.  Give each student their own letterboxes and letters that go along with the lesson.  Model for students how we spell words using letterboxes.  Now we are going to spell some words using our letterboxes.  First I am going to show you how we use a letterbox.  The first thing we need to know is that every box represents a sound.  So we put the letters in the boxes that match the sounds.  I am going to show you how to spell stick using the letterboxes.  There are four sounds in stick- / s /, / t /, / i /,  / c /, / k / .  I put the letter s  in the first box because the first sound of the word stick is /s /.  I put the letter t in the second letterbox because the second sound is / t /.  Then I put the letter i in the third letterbox because the third sound in kid is / i /. Then I put the letters c and k in the fourth letterbox because the fourth sound in stick is / ck /. 


5.  Orally give students words to spell in their letterboxes.  Start with 2 phoneme words and progress to 4 phoneme words.  As students are using the letterboxes, walk around the room to check for understanding and to help students who are struggling.  Now you are going to spell words with the / i / sound using your letterboxes.  I am going to tell you the word you need to spell.  Remember that each box stands for one sound.  If you need to help just raise your hand and I will come help you.   Is everyone ready?  The first word I want you to spell is it.  Give students several minutes to spell their words.  Continue having students spell the words progressing from the two phoneme words to the four phoneme words.  Give the students the following words to spell:    2 Phonemes-in, 3 Phonemes-tin, zip, big, will, miss, did, chin, jig, 4 Phoneme-snip, hint.  If a student misspells a word pronounce the word the way the child has it spelled.  Then allow time for the student to correct the word.


6.  Have students read the words as you spell the words.  Either create letters to go on the overhead or create large letters out of poster board or cardstock.  I am now going to spell some words like you did earlier.  This time I want you to read the words. I am going to show you how first.  I am going to read this word.  (Place the word kid on the overhead or with large letters.) I am going to start with the vowel- / i /, then I add the                                         / k / sound and then I add the / d / sound.  Then I put it all together- / k /, / i /, / d /-kid. Spell the words that were given in step five.  Use body-coda blending strategy to help students who are struggling to read the words. 


7. Pass out the book Liz Is Six to students.  Before reading the book give a book talk.  “We are about to read the book Tin Man Fix It.  One day Tim the tin man is working with Jim in the garden.  A big kid named Sid knocked TIm down.  Tim falls apart!  Will Jim be able to fix Tim?  You’ll have to read the book to find out. 


8.  Have the students whisper read Tin Man Fix It.  As the students read, walk around the room to observe.  “I want you to whisper read Tin Man Fix It.  I will be walking around the room listening to everyone read.”


9.  One by one call students to your desk.  Have a list of words with the / i / correspondence.  Have students spell some words using their letterboxes and have students read some words without the letterboxes. 


10.  Have students write a message on primary writing paper.  “Now I want everyone to write a message.  I want you to write about anything you want.  If you can’t think of anything you could write about your favorite food, favorite cartoon character, or your family. Start writing!” 




Adams, Jennifer.  Jack the Fat Cat


Moncrief, Jane.  Iiiit’s Iiiicky Stiiicky!  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invent/moncriefbr.html

Phonics Readers-Short Vowels.  Tin Man Fix It.  Educational Insights, 1990.

Phonics Readers-Short Vowels.  Liz is Six.  Educational Insights, 1990.

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