It’s Sticky Icky!

Leigh Cooper

Beginning Reading


Students must become aware of the correspondences between a grapheme, the written letter, and a phoneme, the vocal gesture of that letter. As beginning readers, it is important to give the students ways to connect the grapheme to the phoneme. Students will learn the correspondence i = /i/ in this lesson.  Students will learn to recognize /i/ in oral language by learning a fun and memorable gesture to go along with the sound, recognize i=/i/ in words, practice spelling the /i/ sound with letterboxes, and identify the /i/ sound in written text. 


-Liz Is Six

-Chart with "Nicky is ill inside the chilly igloo"

-Elkonin boxes and letters for teacher (for overhead) (t,r,i,c,k)

-Picture of Sticky Icky lady

-White paper


-List of psedo words:  sib, hist, mip, fid, lin, sill

-Letterboxes and letters (per student)

-Letters needed:  a,b,c,d,e,f,g,i,k,l,p,s,t,x



1. Introduce the lesson by showing students the picture of a lady with sticky fingers. Say, "Think of a time when you got something really icky on your hands, and imagine how it felt. When I get something sticky on my hands I do like this (Model motion while saying "sticky icky"). Can everyone say "sticky icky" with me while you shake the goop off your sticky icky hands? Now can you really stretch out the /i/ sound like this (model) while we say it again?"

2. Sometimes the letter "I" makes the sticky icky sound. Let's see if we can hear the sticky icky letter "I" in this sentence:  Nicky is ill inside the chilly igloo.  Now let’s stretch that sticky icky sound out when we here it.  "Niiiicky iiiiiis iiiill iiiinside the chiiiiilly iiigloo."

3. Now I want you to listen very carefully for our sticky icky /i/ sound.  Do you hear /i/ in pick or pack, pig or hog, chick or hen?

4. [Using teacher Elkonin boxes and letters for overhead] Now we’re going to try spelling some words with our icky sticky /i/ sound. I am going to spell the word "trick". I am going to say it really slow to make sure I hear all of the sounds I need to spell: ttt rrr iii ccckk. TTT; that is the "t" sound, so I know to put a "t" in my first square. Trrrrrick. Next I hear the "rrrrr" sound. That is the sound an "r" makes, so I know to put an r in the next box. Triiiiiiick. That was the icky sticky sound! I know that sound! The "I" makes that sound, so I am going to put it in the next box. TriCK. I know that sometimes at the end of words, "ck" makes the "k" sound, so I am going to put those together to make the "k" sound. Trick!  Now you’re going to try it.

5.Facilitate as children spell the following words:

[3]Pig, Sick, Bed, Fix, Tab, Pick                                 [4] slit, stick

6. Have students read aloud the words they have spelled as you reveal them from the list on the overhead, one at a time.

7. Divide students into reading pairs.  (Pass out books as you talk). "Now that we are doing such a great job at using our icky sticker letter "I" we are going to practice our skills by reading a book, Liz is Six. It’s Liz’s sixth birthday, and one of her presents is a baseball mitt, which is the same thing as a glove! Will she be able to use it to win the baseball game or will something go wrong with her new mitt? To find out, we’re going to have to read the book. Take turns reading the book, one page at a time, to your reading partner." (Monitor students by observation)

8. We are going to do an activity that will help us remember our sticky icky i. Pass out white paper and crayons. Have an example to show students. Have children trace their hands, and draw icky goo dripping from the fingers. Students will write "i" on the palm of the hand and have them write words with the /i/ sound in them.  Provide pictures around the classroom of words that may or may not have the /i/ sound in them, for students who may have trouble discovering words.  While students are working on them have individuals come and read pseudo words with the teacher.


-Liz Is Six.   Educational Insights Phonics Readers, 1990.  Short Vowels, Book 5.

-Sticky Icky Picture <>

-Anderson, Jenni.  "Icky Fingers" <>

-Cauthen, Lauren.  "Icky Sticky Hands".  <>

Return to the Projects Index