Icky Icky Mud

Beginning Reading

Haden Casey


Rationale:  This lesson will help children recognize the phoneme /i/ that is represented by I.  By learning a physical representation (motioning with your hands in a waving fashion pushing away from body) and associating it with the symbol I, children will be able to identify /i/ in spoken and written words and along with practicing finding /i/ in words.

Materials:  Primary handwriting paper and a pencil with an eraser; My Icky Picky Sister by Beth Hazel(1984); letterboxes: A set of 2, 3, 4, and 5 for each student and teacher;   letterbox letters for each student and teacher: i (2), s, t, f, a, n, b (2), k, l (2), e, d, r, h, p, m; poster with tongue twister: "Picky Micky hates the icky sticky mud "; picture of "icky sticky mud" with hand motion description; worksheet with pictures for assessment (pictures of two choices, which picture do you hear i=/i/?  (pig or horse? Spill or drop? Cook or grill? Stick or smell?)

Procedures: 1.We will warm up by reviewing phonemes and graphemes they already know. "Who all remembers what sound the letter f makes? Remember f says /f/. Can someone give me some words that start with /f/? Great job! What sound does the letter k make? Excellent!  Can someone give me some words that begin with the letter k? Continue discussing both the grapheme and the phoneme and ask students to think of words that use that phoneme.

2.  Next I will hold up the poster of the tongue twister. “Everyone see if you can repeat this tongue twister after me: Picky Micky hates the icky sticky mud.  Good Job!  Now that you heard me say it get your icky hands ready and lets try and say the tongue twister and do our icky hands every time we hear /i/. Piiiiicky Miiiicky hates iiiiicky stiiiiiicky mud. Good job."

3.  Now model to the students how to listen for /i/ in words and choose the correct word. “Do I hear /i/ in wig or dog?  While icky hand motion... I hear /i/ in wig.  Do I hear /i/ in hot or hit? /i/(icky hands)... hit. Now you try. Do you hear /i/ in igloo or bear? Do you hear /i/ in Nick or Bob?”

  Hand out letterbox tiles and have students turn them over to the lowercase side. Now I want everyone watch me as I model how to use our letterboxes.  For this word, I am going to need three letterboxes because there are three sounds in my word. That means that our mouths are only going to move three times when we say this word. The word is…fit.

The f says /f/ so we need to put the letter f in our first letterbox.

The second sound is /i/ so we need to put the letter i in the second letterbox.

The last sound is /t/ so we need to put the letter x in the last letterbox.

Now it is your turn. The students will begin by reading each word and then spelling it.

Words: (2) is, it (3) bat, fix, sit, tin, lip, kit (4) fled, mist, spill, grit (5) thrift, twist, split.  The student will use their letterboxes and letter tiles to spell the words. I will monitor the students and help them if needed.


4.  At last we will read My Icky Picky Sister.  "Now we are going to read My Icky Picky Sister and I want you to have your icky hands ready so when you hear the /i/ you can make your icky hands.”  My Icky Picky is about two sisters who did not get along.  One is nice and one is mean.  What do you think is going to happen?  We will have to read to find out.”

5. Finally, we are going to write a message to each other about what our favorite game.  I remind them how to write an /i/ and have them write a couple of words for them to practice. They may use invented spelling when writing.

6.  Pass out a worksheet to each child for assessment.  Let the children read the words out loud then find and circle the picture if they hear /i/.



Clark, Amber.  “Eddie The Elephant”


Hazel, Beth.  My Icky Picky Sister.  Pages Publishing Group. 1984.

Murray, B.A. & Lesniak, T (1999).  The Letterbox Lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching


return to projects index