Iiizzy is Iiicky Sticky!

Beginning Reading

Jennifer Falls



            In order for students to become successful readers and writers they must be able to recognize that each letter in the alphabet represents a different sound.  When students learn about phonemes (a vocal gesture found in spoken words) and letter correspondences then they can become fluent readers.  The most difficult phonemes for students to learn are vowels.  This lesson focuses on helping students identify and learn the vowel correspondence i = /i/.  Students will learn this correspondence through meaningful examples and instruction.  They will also practice finding, learning to spell, and read words with the /i/ sound in them through a letterbox lesson and reading a book.     


           Sentence strip with Tongue Twister, “Izzy the icky sticky pig is inside the igloo.”
           Dry erase board and marker
           Primary Paper and pencils
           Elkonin Boxes for each student (up to 5 boxes)
           Plastic letters for each student (t, i, p, s, r, c, k, b, g, h, n, l) r, n, k)
           Oversized Letterbox and letters for modeling (for teacher)
           Picture of girl modeling ‘Icky Sticky’ (girl with glue on her hands)
           Book, Liz Is Six (one for each student)
           Pseudoword Test (gib, sif, rin, bik, wid)


1.  Start the lesson off by telling the students that our English written language is sort of like a secret code.  Each letter has a distinct sound and mouth movement that goes a long with it.  The letter we are going to learn about today is i and it makes the /i/ sound.  Can everyone say the /i/ sound with me? Great!

2.  Has anyone ever gotten anything that is real sticky on their hands before like gum or some kind of candy?  Did anyone say uhhh, iiiicky, sticky?  Well that iiicky sound you made was the /i/ sound I am talking about.  When we make this /i/ sound our mouth is open and our tongue is slightly lowered.  

3.  Show the picture of the girl holding her hands out with glue on them and has the letter i on the page.  Tell the students this is a picture of a girl who got something that is iiicky sticky on her hands.  See how she is holding out her hands?  Show the class the hand motion.  Well we are going to copy her and do as she is doing.  So everyone hold out your hands and say iiicky, iiiicky, sticky.  Great job!    

4.  Now everyone keep your iiicky sticky fingers out in front of you.  Let’s try a tongue twister.  (Direct attention to sentence strip on board.)  I am going to say it first.  When we say the tongue twister and hear the /i/ sound do the iicky sticky hand motion to pretend like we have something sticky on our hands.  Read the tongue twister: “Izzy the icky sticky pig is inside the igloo.”  Now I want everyone to say it together three times.  Now everyone say it again and stretch out the /i/ sound that you hear in the words.  Iiiiizzy the iiiicky stiiicky piiig iiiis iiiinside the iiiigloo.  (If the students need extra help with identifying the /i/ sound then underline the /i/ sound in every word. 

5.  Now we are going to practice finding the /i/ sound in spoken words.  Do you hear the /i/ sound in big or small?, pack or pick?, stand or sit? Hit or run? 

6.  Next hand out Elkonin boxes and plastic letters to every student.  Model how to make a word with a letterbox.  Tell them that each of the boxes represents a different sound in a word.  Tell the students “Everyone look up here and watch what I do.  I am going to spell the word sit  which has a total of three sounds in it: ssss, iiii, tttt.  Since there are three sounds in the word sit I am going to have three letterboxes.  I am going to put the letter s in the first box because that is the first sound you hear.  I put the letter i in the second letterbox because it is the second sound.  Then the letter t in the last and third letterbox because it is the third sound.”)  Then model how to read tip that has the short i vowel sound in it by using body-coda blending.  “The letter i says /i/ and that sound is in the middle of the word.  At the beginning of the word the letter t says /t/ and the last letter p says /p/.   Now when you put all the sounds together you get….tip.”               

7.  Begin letterbox lesson.  Tell the students to lay out all the plastic letters on their desk so each letter is visible.  Have the students start with two phoneme words and work up to five phoneme words.  Have them spell 2:(is), 3:(rip, pick, big, ship), 4:( hint, list), 5:(split).  While the students are working, walk around the room to observe different students.  If a student misspells a word then pronounce the word as they spelled it and then say “I want you to spell (say the word).”  When students are done tell them to raise their hands and you will come by to check them. 

8.  Take up all the letter boxes and plastic letters.  Next I will spell the words on the dry erase board for them to read back to me to check their understanding and as a way to assess them.  I will model body-coda blending by writing the word “click” on the board.  I will cover up all of the letters except i and say okay the /i/ sound is like icky sticky.  Then I will uncover the cl and say the sound cl makes.  Next I will uncover the digraph ck and say the sound to the class.  Then I will get the whole class to put it all together by saying it with me “click”.  If students are still having trouble then I will encourage and help them use body-coda blending. 

9.  Hand out a copy to every student of the short I book, Liz is Six.  To get the students excited about the book ask them “Has anyone ever played baseball with a pig?.... Well I have not either, but in this book we are about to read a girl named Liz does.  She gets a baseball mitten for her birthday and decides to play baseball with her friends.  The first person up to bat is pig.  To see if pig gets a hit you will have to read the story.”  Instruct the students to read the story aloud, but not to loud with a partner.  Once one partner is done they should switch so the other student gets to read.  Walk around the room to observe the students. 

10. Next get the students to get out their primary paper and pencil.  Have them write a message about the book or about their favorite animal and what game they would play with it. 

11. Assessment:  While students are working on writing their message have them come up one at a time to assess them.  Give each student a pseudoword test with correspondence /i/ in them.  Tell them that you want them to read some silly words, they are not real words, just silly words.  Then give them the words: gib, sif, rin, bik, wid.           


Murray, B. A., & Lesniak, T. (1999). “The letterbox lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching
       decoding.” The Reading Teacher, volume 52, no. 6, 644-650.

Willams, Abby.  “Icky Sticky Fingers!”

Lincoln, Katie.  “Icky Sticky!”      

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

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