The Silly Icky Pig


Beginning Reading Lesson

Greer Montgomery


Rationale: In order for students to become successful readers, they need to understand that each letter in the alphabet represents different sounds. Short vowels are often difficult to recognize because the sound, often times, does not look like the letter. This lesson will help beginning readers learn the correspondence i=/i/. Students will learn to spell, read, and recognize spoken and written words with the /i/ sound. They will read a decodable book and participate in a letterbox lesson.


Paper with tongue twister (‘Izzy the silly icky pig was digging in the mud.’)

Overhead projector

Icky sticky glue picture

3 Note cards (each card will have 1 word written on it; the words are fix, bed, tip)

One Fish, Two Fish Red Fish, Blue Fish by: Dr Suess (year: 1960; publisher: Random House)

Letterboxes for each student and teacher (needs to be able to spell 2,3,4 phoneme words)

Lowercase letter tiles for each student and teacher (c,i,a,t,l,p,b,e,d,s,h,d,r,n,k)

Sheet of paper with words on it (the words are cat, it, lip, bed, sit, hid, drink, spill, trick)

Liz is Six  by: Sheila Cushman. (year:1990; publisher: Educational Insights)

Clipboard with paper and pencil for teacher to write miscue notes

Primary paper for each student

Pencil for each student

Worksheet from for each student (URL in references)


1. Has anyone ever had something that is icky sticky on your hands? Maybe like some ice cream or glue? Well, I have! Once, I stuck my hand in ice cream and I immediately lifted my hand, (demonstrating) and I started slinging my hand and said ‘iiiiiiii’! Well, that is the sound that we are going to work on today. Who can tell me what letter makes the sound /i/? That is correct, the letter i makes the /i/ sound. So, what sound does the letter i make? Can everyone say /i/ for me? Notice, when you say the /i/ sound, your mouth is open and your tongue is slightly lowered. /Iiiiiii/. I will place the picture of icky sticky glue on the overhead projector. Now, lets all pretend that we have something really sticky on our hands like I did when I stuck my hand in ice cream. Everyone sling their hands and say ICKY STICKY! That was great, now let’s try stretching out the /i/ sound, like this iiiiicky stiiiiicky. Now, join in with me stretching the /i/ sound and don’t forget to use your hands, iiiiicky stiiiicky.

2. When I say the /i/ my mouth is open, and my tongue is lowered and out of my mouth. Let me show you how to find /i/ in the word, pin. I'm going to stretch pin out in slow motion and listen for my icky sticky cue.  Pppp-i-i-inn.  Slower: Pppp-iiiii-nnnnn. There it was!  My mouth is open and my tongue is out! I can hear the icky sticky in ppp-iiiii-nnn. Pin.

3. Next, I will show the tongue twister on the overhead projector. I am going to read this silly sentence to you and then I want you to read it after me. I will first read the sentence and then allow the students to read it back to me. Izzy the silly icky pig was digging in the mud. Your turn. Now, I’m going to read the sentence again stretching out the /i/ sound. I’m going to watch and feel when my mouth is open and my tongue is slightly lowered and out of my mouth. IIIIzzy the siiilly iiiicky piiiig was diiiigging iiiin the mud. Now, it’s your turn; don’t forget to do the icky sticky hand motion when you hear the /i/ sound. Go: IIIIzzy the siiilly iiicky piiig was diiigging iiiin the mud.

4. Everyone did an excellent job reading that sentence. Now, let’s use what you just learned and play a game. I am going to show you a card on the overhead projector. I will read the word and if you hear the /i/ sound I want you to do the icky sticky hand movement. But if you don’t hear the /i/ sound, give me thumbs down. I will begin with putting the card with the word tip on the overhead projector. This word it tip. I see lots of icky sticky movements. Good job. This word is fix. Excellent! You hear the /i/ sound in the middle of the word. Let’s all read it together, fiiix, fix."This is the word bed. Excellent, everyone is giving me thumbs down because there isn’t the /i/ sound in bed. What sound do we hear in the middle of bed? Yes, we hear the /e/sound. Now, I am going to say 2 words and I want you to tell me which word has the /i/ sound. Lip or nose; win or loose; fish or ape.  That was great, you hear the /i/ sound in lip, win, and fish!

5. Okay, so we are now going to begin our letterbox lesson. I’m each to give each students some lowercase tiles and letterbox boxes. I will model how to spell the word, mix using the letterbox boxes and the letter tiles. I will model this on the overhead projector so everyone can see. Before I tell you the word, I will tell you how many boxes you will need to spell the word. So, the first word I am going to spell needs three letterboxes. That means there are three sounds in my word. This also means that our mouth is only going to move three times when we say this word. The word is…..mix. Mix, miiiix, well I know that /i/ is in the middle so I am going to place an i in the middle box. Then I think about the beginning sound, mmmm, and I know that the letter m says the mmmm sound. So, the first letter is m. I have mmmmiiiiii… now I need the last sound /x/ so we need to put the letter x in the last letterbox. I will answer any questions that the students have about spelling a word. Now it is your turn. I will give each student one word at a time. The students will use their letterboxes and letter tiles to spell the words. I will walk around the room and monitor the students and help them if needed. Words for the letterbox lesson: (2) it; (3) cat, lip, bed, sit, hid; (4) drink, spill, trick.

6. Now, I will write the words on a sheet of paper and place the words on the overhead projector. The students will read the words aloud. If a child cannot read a word, I will use body-coda blending to facilitate reading. I will start with the vowel /i/ and then add the letter that corresponds with the phoneme from left to right.

7. I will introduce the decodable book: Liz is Six by Sheila Cushman. We are going to read, Liz is Six. This is a story about a girl that has a wonderful sixth birthday. Liz loves baseball and gets a baseball mitt for her birthday. Liz and her friend, Pig starts an intense baseball game. Pig is up first and Pig gets a great big hit…. Let’s read the rest of the book to see what happens during the rest of the baseball game. The students will break up into groups and read the book. They will take turns reading aloud to each other as I walk around the room and listen and take miscue notes.

8. Students will write a short note (2-3 sentences) about their favorite birthday gift that they have received! The students will use primary paper and invented spelling to write their message.

9. I will read Dr Seuss’ One Fish, Two Fish Red Fish, Blue Fish aloud to the students. Every time you hear the /i/ sound, make the icky sticky hand gesture. Good, then everyone need to focus really hard so you make sure you don’t miss any /i/ sounds when I am reading.


As I go around the classroom hearing the students read to each other, I will listen and note miscues of each students reading. Also, I will give the students a worksheet from with some pictures on it. At the top, each picture will have 3 words listed beside it. One of the words will be what the picture is. The student will have to circle the word that the picture is showing. Then, I will read a couple words to each student one on one. They will tell me which word has the /i/ sound.


Brock, Sara Jane. "Eeeehhh, What Did You Say?"

Collins, Virginia. "Icky, Icky i."

Cushman, Sheila.  Liz is Six. (1990). Ed. Pat Millie. Carson, CA: Educational Insights.

Dr. Suess. (1960) One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Publisher: Random House

Enchanted Learning. "Multiple Choice Spelling - Short I Words Worksheet" from

Hummer, Melanie. "Mouth Moves and Gestures for Phonemes."

Murray, Bruce. "Brush your Teeth with F."

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

Murray, Bruce. "Letterbox Lesson"

Picture of Icky Sticky i.

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