Letters on the Loose

Beginning Reading

Cathryn Albright


Rationale: Students need to develop an understanding of the relationship between graphemes and phonemes before they can become fluent readers. Specifically, they need to be taught specific letter-sound correspondences in order to create a connection between spoken and written letters and words. This lesson will focus on the correspondence oo says /OO/. The children will identify this correspondence in spoken and written language. The teacher will present the students with a picture of a ghost saying Ooooo to expose them to the /OO/ phoneme. The teacher will also teach the students a tongue tickler (Oodles of noodles oozed from the spoon) so they can practice using the /OO/ phoneme in their speech. Finally, the teacher will use Pig on the Loose for the students to practice finding /OO/ words in connected text.


- Pig on the Loose by Gerri Murray

- Picture of ghost

- Primary writing paper and pencils for students


1. Say: Today we are going to practice finding the /OO/ phoneme in words. We need to know the /OO/ phoneme because it is everywhere. We can hear it in words like loose, moon, tooth, and spoon. We spell the /OO/ phoneme by using two O's back to back. 

2. Hold up the picture of a ghost. Say: Now let's pretend to be ghosts and make the /OO/ sound that a ghost makes. Do you see how my mouth makes a tiny O shape when I make this sound? Let's try making the /OO/ sound again. Do you feel how the air moving from the back of your throat and coming out the front of your mouth?

3. Say: Now I am going to show you how to find the /OO/ in the word spoon. Listen as I stretch it out. SSSSS-ppppp-ooooooooooo- nnnnnn. Did everyone hear /OO/ in the middle of the word?

4. Say: Now lets' try a tongue tickler. Listen as I say it first. Oodles of noodles oozed from the spoon. Now you try. Students will practice the tongue tickler several times. Now let's try stretching out the /OO/ sound. Ooooooooodles of noooooooodles ooooooooozed from the spoooooooooon.

5. Say: Now let's practice finding the /OO/ sound in some real words. Do you hear /OO/ in moon or man? Tool or toll? Lost or loose? Call or cool? Now let's see if you can spot the mouth move /OO/ in some words that I read. Wave your arms like a ghost if you hear /OO/: Tool, tub, spoon, fool, cold, scoop, boat, room.

6. Have the students take out primary writing paper and a pencil. Say: Now we are going to practice writing some words with the /OO/ sound. I will write the number of phonemes on the board and then you will write the words on your paper.

7. Say: I'll do one first to show you. The word is broom. Now let's stretch it out to see how many mouth moves there are. Bbb-rrr-oooooo-mmmm. Write 4 on the board and draw four large boxes. Say: Let's break the word broom up by mouth moves. Each box I have up here represents a mouth move. In the first box we write b (make /b/ sound). In the next box we write r (make r sound). Then in the next box we write oo (make the /OO/ sound. In the last box we write m (make the /m/ sound). Does everyone understand?

8. Say: Now it's your turn. I am going to write the number of phonemes in some words up on the board. On your paper I want you to draw a box for each phoneme. Then you are going to write the phonemes in some words in the boxes. Let's begin. How would you write the word moon? After the students have written the word, have them read it together as a class. Continue by giving the students the following words: tool, loop, shoot, troop, groom, and smooth. Also, be sure to use each word in a sentence.

9. Say: Now we are going to read a book called Pig on the Loose with a lot of /OO/ words. Show students the cover of the book. Say: Tim and Jan are really excited about their new pet -- a pig named Slim. Tim and Jan's parents are leaving to go on vacation and their Aunt Sue is coming to stay with them. When Aunt Sue arrives Tim and Jan take her outside to Slim's cage, but Slim is nowhere to be found. Will Tim and Jan be able to find Slim before it is too late? You'll have to read the book to find out.

10. The students will read Pig on the Loose individually.

11. After the students have finished reading, I will have them reread a paragraph of decodable text (from Pig on the Loose) with /00/ words as I evaluate.


Murray, Geri. Pig on the Loose. The Reading Genie. Genie Collection copyright 2006. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html.

Schreitmueller, Martha. Spooky Sound. Auburn University Fall 2006.  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/persp/schreitmuellerbr.html.

Ghost image - http://divyanovel.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/castle-ghost-clipart1-right1.jpg. 

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