Sticky Icky Fishy
Jessica Brown,  Beginning to Read


Rational:  As children become beginning readers, it is imperative that they learn explicit, systematic instruction so they become successful decoders.  Beginning readers need to understand the correspondences between letters and sounds, which is the foundation for reading words.  This lesson will focus on the i = /i/ letter-sound correspondence.  Children will learn this correspondence through a letter box lesson, a memorable hand gestures, tongue twister, and several other print and spoken language activities



Elkonin Boxes (enough for each child and one for teacher);

laminated lowercase letters for each child and one set for teacher: t, i, n, h, p, s, g, r, d, w, l, m, k, t, b;

chart with tongue twister:

The sticky kid had icky sticky hands;

 paper with i written on it;


 book Liz is Six(one per child).



1. Introduce the lesson by explaining to students that each letter makes different sounds and that to become good readers, we need to be able to match letters to their sounds. Today, we are going to learn that the letter i can make the /i/ (such as in piiiiig and twiiiig) sound. As you become more familiar with the sound that short i makes, you will be able to better recognize this sound in both spoken and written words.

2. Show the class the letter i. The little i can make the /i/ sound when it is by itself in a word. Let's all practice together and see if we can make the /i/ sound. Very good. We sometimes say the /i/ sound when we feel something icky. Now say that feels iiiicky!

3. Ask students the following questions and call on them to answer: Do you hear /i/ in pig or dog? Swim or pool? Frog or fig?

4. Demonstrate with letterboxes how to spell words. Now, we are going to practice spelling words with the /i/ sound. Each letterbox will have one sound in each box. I am going to spell the word 'is'. [Pronounce it very slowly to class] It helps to say the word to yourself a few times. Iiisss. iiisss. I hear the /i/ sound, so I will put i in the first box. Now that we have the first sound in the first box, the next sound in 'is' is /sssss/. So I will put the s in the 2nd box. Iiisss. Is. I heard all the sounds in is. Now let's see if you can spell some words with the /i/ sound.

5. Pass out the Elkonin letterboxes to every student. Then pass out the letters each child will need for the letterbox lesson. Now we are going to practice spelling some words with the /i/ sound. See if you can spell it. When you are finished, raise your hand and I will come around to see your answers. Once all the students have finished, pick a student to model the spelling using the letterboxes for the entire class. Continue with the letterbox lesson using the following words: 3-(tin, hip, sit, sip, pin), 4-(grid, swig, drill, swim, sink, crab), and 5-(blink, print). As students are conducting the letterbox lesson, walk around and observe them.

6. Now that we have spelled some words with /i/ lets see if we can say a tongue twister. Put the tongue twister chart in the front of the class. "The sticky kid had icky sticky hands." Let's all say this together. Good. Now I want us to say it again, but this time lets stretch out the /i/ sound. The stiiiiiiiicky kiiiiid had iiiiicky stiiiicky hands. Great job everyone.

7. Pass out a copy of the book Tin Man Fix-it. Today class, we are going to read the book Tin Man Fix-it. This book is about a tin man named Tim and his friend Jim, who is the fix-it man. There is a big kid named Sid who rides skateboards. Before he realizes it he has knocked Tim the tin man over. You will have to read this book to find out what happens to the tin man. Each student will read the book by themselves. After all students have finished reading, have them tell you the /i/ words they remember from the book and write them on the board. After all the words are written on the board, have students say each word aloud.

8. For assessment, give each student a picture page with words that have /i/ in them. Read the words out loud once to the class making sure they have heard the word. Then have students circle each picture (and word on picture) that has the /i/ sound. Take up each student's paper.



References: Gullion, Mark. "Icky Pig." Beginning Reading.


Murray, B. A., & Lesniak, T. (1999). The letterbox lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher, 52, 644- 650.

Phonics Reader Short Vowel Tin Man Fix-It. (1990) Carson, CA (USA), St Albans, Herts. (UK): Educational Insights.

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