Icky igloos say /i/

Beginning Reading Lesson

By Lindsey Wise


This lesson will teach children to identify /i/. They will learn to recognize /i/ in spoken words and will learn to spell words including the /i/ phoneme. Students will also be able to identify /i/ in written text.  



large letter i card

poster with tongue twister "It's icky in igloos"

letter i cards (one for each student)

letterbox materials (at least 5 boxes, with letter titles b,i,d,k,t,t,r,c,k,s,w,g,m,c,p,n,w)

book Liz is Six for each student

assessment sheets (1 per student) with list of assessment words listed in step 7



list of words in letterbox (one for students to read after lesson)



1.    Introduce the /i/ phoneme to the students and show students a large letter i card. "Now we are going to learn a new sound that says /i/.  The letter i makes the /i/ sound. We hear /i/ in words like igloo and kit. Let's say those words together: igloo, kit. It's important to learn this new sound because it will help us to read, write, and spell."

2.    Explain how to say /i/. "When we say /i/ our mouths make small smiles, with our mouth barely open. Notice how my mouth looks when I say /i/. Now you try."

3.    Teach tongue twister. Have students say the tongue twister together, locate /i/ in the words, and then cover up /i/ in each words. "We're going to say a fun tongue twister using our new sound: It's icky in igloos. Let's say it together.

Looking at my poster with our tongue twister, let's underline the /i/ in each word with this marker. Let's say the tongue twister again, this time stretching out the /i/ in the words: IIIt's iiicky iiin iiiigloos. Now let's take out the /i/ in the words (cover up the i's as you read the words): /i/t's /i/cky /i/n /i/gloos."

4.    Give students their own /i/ cards. "I want you to hold up your i card when you hear the sound /i/ in the words I am about to read you. If you do not hear the /i/ sound, do not hold up your card.

bid, drift, sprint, apple, blink, dog, glass, did

5.    Set up letterbox activity. "Now it's your turn to spell some words with our new sound.

"Ok, now we are going to spell those words you just read in our letterboxes. When I say the word, you spell the word using the letter titles. Each title represents the sound you hear. Like in sit. I'm going to say the word sit to myself, ssssiiiiittttt, and place the s in the first box, i in the second box, and a t in the third box. Ok, it's your turn."

3 boxes=bid, kit

4 boxes=brick, swig, grim, crib

5 boxes=print, twist, crisp

Only provide the number of boxes indicated for each group of words (ex: for bid, only provide 3 boxes). After each word the student spells in the letterboxes, read the word as spelled to the student.  At the end of the lesson, have the student respell the missed words and read the words on a list.

6.    Apply the new concept to text. "Let's read a new book! It's called Liz is Six. Liz turns six years old and gets a mitt for her birthday. At her birthday part, her and her animals friends decide to play a game of baseball. Liz goes up to bat and hits the ball to her friend, the pig. Will the pig be able to catch the ball? Will Liz score her team a point? Let's read it and find out!" Have students read individually. When everyone is finished with their book, ask comprehension questions.  

7.    Assessment: Assess each individual student by using the following guidelines. Have students read the words below and the teacher the word that the students hears /i/ in.

Do you hear /i/ in:







Isabel L. Beck, Making Sense of Phonics: The Hows and Whys, New York, The Guilford Press,

2006, pp.34-35


Liz is Six. Phonics Readers: Short Vowels. Carson, CA. Educational Insights, 1990.


"Icky Sticky" by Allison Sanders http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/sightings/sandersbr.html



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