“Loud Cows All Around”

Carlie Larson

Beginning Reading




It is crucial that children learn and understand vowel digraphs and how letters can correspond with phonemes.  This lesson will consist of students learning the ou=/ow/ correspondence in which they will learn in both spoken and written words through reading and spelling.  A letterbox lesson will also be included with teaching this correspondence.





Letters (manipulatives)

Chart Paper with tongue twister (Our owl in the outfield is an outcast.)

Flash cards with letterbox list




  1. Introduce the lesson by posting a picture of a doctor giving a shot to someone in the doctor’s office and underneath the picture write “ou.”  When we see the o and u together, they make the /ou/ sound in many words.  Today we are going to practice recognizing ou as /ow/ in spoken and written words.
  2. Ask the students:  How many of you have ever seen a COW?  Now, have any of you ever heard the sound a cow makes?  Is it a loud or quiet sound?  Do you hear the /ow/ sound in loud and in sound?  Let’s say the /ow/ sound together now.
  3. The teacher should write down the tongue twister on chart paper:  Our owl in the outfield is an outcast.  Read the tongue twister to the students and then have them say it aloud and with you (the teacher) the next time.  Make sure that the next time the students say the tongue twister, they accentuate the oooowww in the tongue twister.
  4. Have the students set out their letterboxes and letters and inform them that they will be spelling words using the letters ou.  Demonstrate to the children how the letterbox activity works by telling them that each box will represent a sound and the letter/letters that represent that sound.  For example, since ou says /ow/, we will put them together in the same box.  The teacher will then model the letterbox activity and have the students follow along with him/her.  The teacher should start out with an example word such as pout, and then drag out the sounds to model them in their correct letterboxes (p-ou-t).  Now the teacher will give the students a list of words for them to try in their own letterboxes.  Words for students to spell (2) out (3) loud, mouth, couch, heat, kite (4) round, mount.  The teacher should set up the appropriate letterbox amounts for each word, for example, loud would have 3 letterboxes since the o and u are placed in the same letterbox.  When the teacher is pronouncing the words aloud to the class, he/she should stretch the sounds out, give the students enough time to complete the activity, and observe the students to make sure they are doing the activity correctly.
  5. Assign students to a partner and have them practice saying the words on the flashcards, which consists of the /ow/ correspondence, back to each other.  Once the students are finished, they will swap flashcards and repeat the activity.
  6. Book talk:  “Cowboy Gene has eight cows and Cowgirl Sue has eight cows that are separated by a fence.  Well, one day a tornado comes and blows away the fence.  Now the cows are all mixed up together.  Do you think Cowboy Gene and Cowgirl Sue will ever be able to find out whose cows are whose?  In order to find out, you need to read the book entitled “Sixteen Cows” by Lisa Wheeler.  The teacher can then have the students read the book “Sixteen Cows” and moo like cows they hear the /ow/ correspondence.  The book might then need to be placed in a reading center for the students to look at later on individually.
  7. Assessment will take place at the end of the lesson when the teacher will listen to the students give a one minute read on the book “Sixteen Cows”.  A running record may also be a good assessment, but should be implemented later on when the teacher has time to sit and listen to every student individually.




Williams, Clarissa.  Ow!  That Hurts.   http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/catalysts/williamsbr.html


Sixteen Cows by Lisa Wheeler (Harcourt Children’s Books; c 2000-2007)

Return to Odyssey's Index