Ew!!! It’s Icky Sticky!

Amy Whitcomb


Rationale: In order for students to become successful readers, they need to understand that each letter in the alphabet represents different sounds. If students know the different letter-sound correspondences then they will be successful decoders and readers. Short vowels are often difficult to recognize because the sound, often times, does not look like the letter. Today, I am going to teach the correspondence i = /i/. The students will come to recognize this correspondence in print and in sound through meaningful representation. They will also learn to spell, read, and recognize words with the /i/ sound through a letterbox lesson and decodable book.



- chart with tongue twister: The important Indian was ill with injuries inside the igloo.

- poster with “icky- sticky” picture (child with “glue-y” hands)

- Letter boxes for each student

- large, magnetic letter box for the teacher

- a copy of Tin Man Fix It,  enough for students to partner read

- Letters: p, i, g, s, t, e, f, h, n, l, v, x for letter box lesson

- worksheet: students will circle the word that matches the picture

-primary paper and pencil for each student



  1. Put the poster on the board so that every student can see it. Ask “has anyone ever had anything sticky on their hands?” The child in this picture looks like they have icky, sticky glue on their hands. When I have something sticky on my hands I sling my hands (demonstrate hand motion) and say icky, sticky. Let’s try it together! Everyone shake and sling their hands and say icky sticky. Now try it and stretch out the /i/ sound. Iiiicky Stiiicky.
  2. The letter i = /i/ makes the sound that we heard in icky sticky. Next, put the chart up with the tongue twister and read it aloud. “The important Indian was ill with injuries inside the igloo.” Next, model it using the hand motion and stretching out the /i/ sound. Have students do it with you next time.  “The iiiimportant Iiiindian was iiill with iiinjuries iiiinside the iiiiigloo.”
  3. Give each child a set of letter boxes and the pre-selected letters. First model how to spell words with the  i = /i/ correspondence. I am going to spell the letter fish, but first I need to find the different sounds that make up pin by stretching out the word, /ppppp/ /iiiiiii/ /nnnnn/. The first sound I hear is /p/ so I am going to put a /p/ in the first letter box for /ppppp/ /i/ /n/. Next, I hear the icky, sticky sound /i/, /p/ /iiiii/ /n/. So I am going to put an /i/ in the second letter box. /p/ /ii/ /nnnnn/, I hear /n/ last so I am going to put /n/ in the last letter box. Let’s blend it all together /ppp/ /iii/ /nnn/, good, that makes pin. Now let’s see if you can spell some out on your own!
  4. Now begin the letter box lesson. I will model how to spell the word pin. "First, I am going to look for the icky, sticky sound. I hear /i/ in piiin. So, now I know that /i/ is in the middle. Now, what sound do I hear at the beginning of  pin? I hear /p/. so now I have /pi/. Now, the last sound I hear is /n/. So I put it all together to make /pin/. Now it's your turn to try". Give the students one word at a time to spell on their own. The teacher will walk around the room, monitoring each student’s progress. If they misspell a word, read it back to them as they have spelled it and have them try again. Once all of the students have spelled the word correctly, move onto the next word. The word list is: 2- [is, at, in], 3- [ pig, sit, live], 4- [fish, slim]. Once all of the words have been spelled correctly, write the words on the board one at a time and have the students read them aloud. If necessary, model how to read the words.
  5. Take up the letter boxes and letters and distribute the book Tin Man Fix It. This book is about is about a young boy and his Tin Man friend.  They are planting a garden. While they are planting the garden, another boy zooms by on a skateboard and crashes into Tin Man. He causes Tin Man to break into pieces! You will have to read Tin Man Fix It to see if Tin Man gets put back together and if the garden gets finished. Teacher needs to walk around the room, monitoring everyone’s progress as they are reading the book.
  6. Once the students have finished reading the book, pass out the primary paper and have the students write a message about their favorite thing to do outside.
  7. When the students have finished writing their message, have them pick up a worksheet and circle the word that is represented in the picture. This will give them practice reading the correspondences and will assess their understanding of the  i = /i/ correspondence.




Tin Man Fix It. Educational Insights


Lynch, Heather. Ew! That’s Icky! www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/persp/lynchbr.html


Murray, Bruce.  The Reading Genie.  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie


Picture of child with icky, sticky hands: http://www.chaosscience.org.uk/press-release/chaos-photo-slime.jpg


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