Trick or Treat Trickery

Madelyn Wright


Rationale: In order for beginning readers to become successful in reading and writing, they must first understand and recognize that each letter in the alphabet represents a different sound. By learning about phonemes and letter correspondences, beginning readers can become fluent readers. Short vowels are often difficult for students to identify and therefore, this lesson will focus on the vowel correspondences i = /i/. The students will learn the /i/ correspondence through a meaningful representation. In addition, they will learn to spell and read words with the /i/ sound through a letterbox lesson and through a decodable book.



Pictures of Trick or Treaters, sentence strip with tongue twister, copy of Tin Man Fix for each student, list of words (fix, lax, sit sat, pick, luck, rib, bat, little, small)


  1. Begin by explaining to students that they are going to learn the letter i and the sound that it makes.  Today we are going to learn about the letter i.  It makes the /i/ sound.  We here the /i/ sound in a lot of words, like Triiick.” 
  2. How many of you like Halloween?  Have you ever gotten candy at Halloween?  What do you say when you go to the door and ask for candy on Halloween? (Trick or Treat).  The word ‘trick’ makes the /i/ sound.  Can you here the /i/ sound when I say triiick? Good, now everyone say trick. Notice how your mouth moves when you say /i/. 
  3. Now I am going to read you a tongue twister.  After I read it, let’s read it together and listen for the /i/ sound.  Whenever we read a word with the /i/ sound I want you to hold out your hand like a trick-or-treater. 

4.  Now I am going to read you some words, and I want you to tell me which word you hear the /i/ sound in.  I want you to raise your hand after I read each pair of words and I will call on you to tell me which word had the /i/ sound.  (words: fix - lax; sit- sat;  pick- luck; rib-bat; little- small). 

  1. “Now we are going to take out our letter boxes and spell some short i words.  The  LB words are hip, pig, lick, and twitch.  Class, we are going to do a letterbox lesson with i = /i/.  Raise your hand if you can rmember how we use letter box lessons? Good job.  Remember that each box represents a sound (phoneme). I will show you an example of how to spell a word.  Let’s use the word did. This word has 3 sounds (phonemes) so I will use 3 boxes. The first sound we hear is /d/ so I will put a d in the first letter box. Then we hear /i/ which is represented by the letter i so an i will go in the second letter box. The third sound we hear is /d/ which is represented by d so that goes in the last letter box.  Now lets read the word. D says /d/, and then we ad /i/, and /d/ at the end, so all together we have d-I-d, did.  Good Job! Now lets begin to use the words on the board (hip, pig, lick, and twitch) to spell in out letter boxes.  Lets begin with a word with the lowest number of phonemes, and work our way up.  Who can tell me what word that would be? (Go around as the students make their words to see that they are dioing it properly, and help them when they need it).  Remember to add box spaces to your letter boxes when needed.

5.  After the students have finished spelling the words, the teacher will spell them and have the students read the words to her as a class.

  1. After the LBL pass out Tin Man Fix-It. Each student should have a copy.  Today we are going to be reading Tin Man Fix-It.  This book is about a man made of tin named Tim.  Tim is walking one day and gets into an accident.  He is hurt from the acciedent, will anybody be able to put Tim back together?  We will have to read to find out.  Then have the students ‘mumble read’ (read the book out loud, but in soft voices, at the same time). 
  2. After reading pass out primary paper to each of the students and have them write a message.  The message will be about what the kids want to be for Halloween.
  3. For assessment, have the students come up individually as the class is working on the message and read Tin Man Fix-It, and mark their miscues. 


  1. Murray, B.A., & Lesniak, T. (1999). The Letterbox Lessoon: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.
  2. Tin Man Fix-It Educational Insights.