The Big Hit
By: Cassie Dillard
Beginning Literacy

Title: The Big Hit! A lesson focused on the phoneme /i /.

Rationale:  One of the most recognized ways that children learn to read is by letter recognition and phoneme awareness. Beginning readers can have a difficult time learning the phonemes of short vowels.   The goal of the lesson is to identify the correspondence of i= /i/ in spoken and written word. The students will be able to determine the phoneme in spoken word by corresponding gestures, seeing the grapheme in written text, easy mouth movements, and a letter box lesson.


1. Primary Paper

2. Pencils

3. Tongue Twister Chart  [The kid is a pig]

4. Elkonin Boxes (Enough for each child)

5. Plastic or laminated letter manipulatives  (a,t,i,f,m,x,h,d,c,g,r,n,p,s) [ Enough for each child]

6. Liz is Six by Shelia Cushman.  Cushman, Sheila. Liz is Six. Carson, CA.  Educational Insights.1990. pp.1-9.

7. Flash cards [optional] ( at, it, if, mix, hit, did, cat, grin, drip, strip)

8. The Big Hit Assessment Worksheet (provided)

Procedures for /i/ lesson:

1.Introduce "The Big Hit" by explaining that the words we say are like a puzzle. In a puzzle, there are multiple pieces that make up a whole. In language we have pieces, also known as sounds, in which make up the words we speak.  "Now that we have learned about consonants and the short vowels /a/, and /e/, we are going to learn about /i/. Who can remember why vowels are so important to learn? [Let students reply]. That's right, vowels help stick our words together. Vowels help the word make sense. Vowels can either be long or short, but today we are just going to learn about the short vowel i".

2. Write the letter i on the blackboard. "Who has seen this before? Who knows what sound this letter makes? Remember it is a short vowel.  Great Job! The sound you hear is / i /.  Let me sound it out for you, /i/. Now that you have heard it, let's say it together. / i /.  You are doing a fabulous job! "

3. "Who has ever thrown a baseball or just a ball? You know when you're letting the ball go you kind of make a noise that sounds like /i/. [Show the students by gesturing throwing a ball and making the /i/ sound at the release].  Notice how my mouth moves. [Show again]. Now that you have seen me do it, I want you to try it. Pretend that your throwing the hardest pitch of your life and when you go to throw the ball, make the / i / sound. Great Job!"

4."Now that we know the sound, I am going to say a silly sentence with /i/ in it. I want you to listen very closely and then tell me what word has the sound /i/ in it. Let me show you how to do it. [Demonstrate Tongue Twister] The Kid is a pig. Hmm… I heard / i/ in kid, is, and pig. Watch me say it again, but this time using my pitching arm. [Gesture when saying kid, is, and pig] The Kiiiid iiiiis a piiiig. Raise your hand if you heard /i/ in kid and pig. [Let students raise hand]  Great Job! Now it's your turn.  Let's say it all together.  The Kid is a Pig. Good. This time let's stretch it out and use our throwing arm. The Kiiiiid iiiiis a Piiiig. Great Job! "

5."Class, you are doing such a great job recognizing /i/. I want you to listen closely to some words that I say. I will say two words and I want you to tell me which word you hear /i/ in. Let me show you.  Do you hear /i/ in kit or cat? I hear /i/ in kit. Now it's your turn. Do you hear /i/ in mix or dad? Do you hear /i/ kick or tap? Do you hear /i/ in sit or stand? Do you hear /i/ in big or huge? Oh my, I can't get anything by you guys. You are doing fantastic!"

6. [Students take out primary pad and pencil] "Now that we have learned about the sound /i/, let us review how to write the letter i. Begin by making a line from the fence straight down to the sidewalk. But don't forget to dot the i. [Demonstrate on board]. Try it five times and let me see how well you did!"

7."Okay, we are going to start our letterbox lesson just like we did with /a/ and /e/.  Who can remember what we need for this? That's right; we need our boxes and our letters (a,t,i,f,m,x,h,d,c,g,r,n,p,s).  Let me remind you how to do it. [Take boxes and lay them flat on the table. Arrange letters on lower-case side so they are easily accessible].  Now, I want to spell the word in. [Say a sentence] The cat is in the box. Let me show you how to spell in. [Take two letter boxes and put i in one box and n in the other box. Sound out /i/ and /n/. ] I will have to use two boxes because I hear two sounds. I first hear the sound /i/ like my throwing arm and then I hear /n/. [Read in] Now it is your turn."

-I want you to spell the word is. [Provide a sentence]. Is that your desk? Can any of you tell me how many boxes we need? Great Job! We need two boxes. [Check students progress during LBL]

-Continue letter box lesson with the following words:

-2 Phonemes- at (review word), it, if

-3 Phonemes- mix, hit, did, cat (review word)

-4 Phonemes- grin, drip,

-5 Phonemes- strip

*Be sure to provide a sentence for each word. Also, check each student progress*


After the letter box lesson is complete an assessment is made. "Now that we have finished our letter box lesson, I am going to write the word on the board. I want you to read the word to me. [Write all the words on the board/ Have flash cards made with the words already on them and have the students read them to you].

8. [Introduce Liz is Six] "We are going to read a book now that will help us with the /i/ sound." Everyone should have their own individual book.  "If you come to the /i/ sound I want you to make the gesture of throwing a baseball if you need to."  Liz is Six is about a little girl and her friend that is a pig. Liz and the pig love to play baseball. On Liz's birthday she gets a new, amazing baseball mitt. She wants to go outside and play with it as soon as possible. So her and her friends, including the pig, go to play baseball.  The pig is up to bat and Liz is in the outfield. When the pig hits the ball, Liz catches with no problem. Liz is able to use her new mitt. However, Liz and the pig switch positions and now its Liz's turn to bat and the pig in the outfield. Liz hits a HUGE hit.  The ball goes really far and pig is worried if he can catch the ball.  We will have to read to find out if the pig caught the ball.

9. [Assessment] To assess the students, the class will work individually on a worksheet that is provided to them. The students will have to read words and match the word to the picture.  The worksheet is included.



Cushman, Sheila. Liz is Six. Carson, CA.  Educational Insights.1990. pp.1-9.

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

Carey,Erin.  "Sticky Fingers".

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