Rationale: Reading fluency is very important to improvement of reading comprehension, which is the ultimate goal of reading instruction. In order for a student to become a fluent and skillful reader, the student must learn to recognize correspondences in words. In this lesson, students will be learning the o=/o/ correspondence. They will learn to recognize o=/o/ in words. Mastering short vowel sounds is imperative before moving on to more difficult correspondences, and for becoming a fluent reader.
Materials: Elkonin letterboxes, letter manipulatives, chalk, chalkboard, primary paper, pencils, The Big Top, poster board with “Olly the octopus yelled olly olly oxenfree” written on it, worksheet with sentences and pictures on it for assessment.
1. First, I will review the short vowel correspondences to be learned before o=/o/. I will ask the students to tell me what short vowel sounds we have learned so far.
2. Today, we are going to learn a new short vowel sound. It is the /o/ sound. The letter o makes the /o/ sound. You make this sound when the doctor tells you to open your mouth wide and say /o/. Try it with me. Open your mouth really wide and make the /o/ sound with your throat. Ready.../o/. Great job!
3. I will have poster board with a tongue twister written on it. Now, we are going to learn a tongue twister with our new sound /o/ in it. Listen closely as I say it. “Olly the octopus yelled olly olly oxenfree.” Now, everyone say it with me and make sure to make the /o/ sound you make at the doctor. “Olly the octopus yelled olly olly oxenfree.” Great job! Now, let’s stretch out the /o/ sound. “Ooolly the oooctopus yelled ooolly ooolly oooxenfree.” Good work! I really heard the /o/ that time.
4. Everyone take out your letterboxes and your letters. I will remind you how this works. I will call out a word, and you spell it on your letterbox. First get out these letters: o, f, f, n, i, t, l, c, k, p, h, s, r, g.
The following are the words I will use for the letterbox:
off lock stop
on pot frog
it hop flip
I will tell the students how many boxes to have showing. Then, I will say the words that are appropriate for that number of boxes. I will walk around and check to see how everyone is doing and scaffold as needed.
5. Now, I will write the words that we just spelled on the chalkboard. After I write a word, read the word out loud as a class. Let’s try the first one...off. “Off.” Great job! I will continue to do this with the rest of the words used in the letterbox.
6. Get out your primary paper and pencil because we are going to write a message. We are going to write about frogs. You can write anything you want about them, but remember that when you write the o in frog that it makes the /o/ sound. Try to think of other words that have the /o/ sound in them in your message or somewhere else on your paper.
7. Then I will pass out copies of The Big Top to every pair of students. I will have them take turns reading to each other as I walk around the room. I will provide help (scaffold) as needed.
8. I will have the students come to the front of the room and sit down. I will reread The Big Top to them. I will tell them that when they hear a word with the doctor sound /o/ in it to say “olly olly oxenfree”.
Assessment: I will hand out a worksheet that has sentences written on it. The students will read the sentences and circle the words with the o=/o/ in them. At the bottom of the worksheet there will be pictures. The students will color the pictures that stand for a word that has o=/o/. Then they must write the word as best they can (with inventive spelling) under the picture.
Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classroom. Prentice Hall Publishing Company. Upper Saddle River, NJ: 1995.
Murray, B. A. and T. Lesniak. “The Letterbox Lesson: A Hands-on Approach for Teaching Decoding.” The Reading Teacher. 1999. 644-650.
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