Open Your Mouth for O
Lauren Davidson

Beginning Reader Lesson

ice skater



Students will learn to identify the phonemes represented by letters in spoken words.  Focusing on individual phonemes helps them create a beginners schema on the process of decoding words.  In this lesson, the students will learn to identify the phoneme /o/ by engaging in a tongue twister, determining if /o/ is in a spoken word, representing /o/ through writing the letter “o”, and using letterboxes.



-Tongue Twister on chart paper - Oliver had an operation in October, and Oscar gave him an octopus

-Primary Paper


-Picture of a person yawning

-A copy of “Doc in the Fog” for each student

-Letter tiles bag (with the appropriate letters inside) per student

-Letter boxes



1. To introduce the lesson, explain to the students that our mouth helps us make certain sounds in words. "When our mouths move different ways and make different shapes, we make different sounds.  Today, we will be learning about the mouth movement that helps us make the sound /o/."

2. "What kind of sound do you make when you are sleepy and you yawn? /o/ that’s right!  When we yawn we cover our mouthes with our hands.  Now, everyone make this sound /o/ /o/ /o/ and cover your mouth with your hand when you say /o/. What is your mouth doing? Is it almost closed? No, it is pretty wide open isn’t it?  I want all of us to remember what we do with our mouths to make this sound. We will be looking for this sound in spoken words."

3. Using the tongue twister: Oliver had an operation in October, and Oscar gave him an octopus. Read it once to the class. Have them say it with you once. Then stretch out the tongue twister and add the hand gesture:

                                    "Oooooliver had an oooooperation in Oooooctober and Ooooscar gave him and ooooooctopus."

4. Pass out primary paper and pencils. "We can write this sound using the letter "o."  Let’s practice writing it on our paper."

- Demonstrate for student: "We make an 'o' as a circle in between the sidewalk and the fence, like a hoola hoop leaning on the fence.  Practice making your "o" on your paper.  Fill in the whole line, and I will come around to check everyone’s work."

5. "Today we are going to play a letter squares game.  Everyone needs to come get a bag of letter squares and a row of boxes to play our game." After they are seated and organized, "watch as I show you how to do the first word, and then you can do the words after this." I will then model the word blot and then have them do seven words by themselves.  I will lay out the four boxes and sound out blot while putting the letter tiles in the order that I say the sounds onto the boxes.

Model: blot

Letter box words: 3-[doll, top], 4-[stop, clock, plop], 5-[frost, stomp]

Letters needed: d,o,l,l,t,p,s, c,c,k,r,p,f,m


6.  The children will then read the words done in the letterbox lesson from a list printed off of the computer to check for understanding.


6.  After the letter box lesson, each child will read the predictable text Doc in the Fog using buddy reading to help each other decode words.  While they are reading, I will do an individual assessment of each child by taking them aside to do a letter box lesson for me.



The students' understanding will be assessed by their individual assessment using the letter box.  This will determine their understanding of the phoneme and and its corresponding phoneme. I will do two words per child (from the list on reading genie) throughout the course of the day.



Hood, Laura Lee.  Ellie the Eskimo.

Murray, Bruce. Wallach and Wallach's Tongue Ticklers


Murray, Bruce. How to Teach a Letterbox Lesson


Cushman, Sheila.  Doc in the Fog. Educational Insights, 1990.