Open Wide AHHHH(/o/)

By Morgan Pierce


Rationale: In order to become a skillful reader, students must become familiar and understand the relationship between letters and their sounds, or graphemes and phonemes. Beginning readers need to be aware of the different phonemes in words. Vowels can sound more than one way, short or long, which is a reason that students tend to have difficultly in mastering their vowels. My focal point for this lesson is the short vowel o. This lesson will teach children how to recognize short o and use the short o sound by using tongue ticklers, letterbox lessons, and authentic reading.


Chart paper with the tongue tickler: "Oliver the otter loves to hop on top of Oscar the octopus."

Dry erase board with makers and an eraser


Doc in the Fog- Shelia Cushman; Educational Insights, Carson CA, 1990 (enough for each student.

Lowercase letter box letters for each student (a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, j, l, o, p, t, z)

Letterboxes for each student

Short O worksheet (attached)


1.     We all know that each letter of the alphabet is very special in it own way. Today we are going to learn about what makes the letter O special. The main reason it is special is the way our mouth moves when we say it.

2.     Think about when you go to the doctor. The doctor gets a popsicle stick out and says, "Open wide." What do you say? "Ahhhhhh." Let's pretend that we are at the doctor and make the /o/ sound? This is the sound the letter O makes.

3.    Let's say our tongue tickler. Listen first as I say it, then we can say it together (point to each word as you say it). Oliver the otter loves to hop on top of Oscar the octopus. Did you hear any doctor O's in there? I did! Let's say it together and make our Doctor O motion each time we hear it. (Say it together). Wonderful! This time we are going to stretch out each doctor O. Remember the doctor motion our mouth makes--ready, set, go! Oooliver the oootter loooves to hooop ooon tooop of Oooscar the oooctopus. Way to go!

4.     We are going to practice hearing /o/ in different words. I'm going to say a word and I want you to tell me if it has the "doctor O".  If you hear the /o/ sound I want you to say "AHHH", if you do not hear I want you to say "no way!" If I said do you hear /o/ in dog, you would say "AHHH" because we hear the "doctor O" sound.

5.     You try some this time. Do you hear "doctor O" in: Log?  Rake? Fog? Hot? Cold?

6.     Everybody get out their letterboxes and the letters I have given you. We are going to practice spelling and reading some different words that have the /o/ sound. I am going to do the first one, and then it will be your turn. I will lay out four letterboxes for all of the sounds in my word. When I say drop I hear our "doctor O". I also hear the sounds /d/, /r/, /o/, /p/. Since I hear the /d/ sound first it goes in my first box. The /r/ sound comes next so it goes in the second box. Next I hear my "doctor O" sound so I put it in the third box. I hear the /p/ sound next. That means it goes in my fourth box. Now, let's sound out this word together.

7.     Now it is your turn to use your letterboxes. Let's do it together. Letterbox words (most words are short /o/ words, but there are also some review sound words): 3 {dog, hat, hop, jet, jog, log, zot}, 4{crop, frog, stop}, 5{strong}. (Use the same method as listed above)

8.     We are going to read a book together that has the /o/ sound in it. Our book is called Doc in the Fog. What words have the /o/ sound in the title of the book? This book is about a Wizard that uses his wand and his magic word, "zot," to change things into different things. Let's read and find out if it works.

9.     Now we are going to practice reading some words. I am going to use my dry erase board to write a word. I want you to help me figure out what the word is. Our first word is: block. Can we sound that out together? Blllooock. Great job. Our next word is: sod. How do you know what that word is? Break it up into sounds.

10. I want everyone to help me read a book. We are going to read this book together and decided if we hear the "doctor O" sound in some of the words. The name of our book is Hop on Pop. This story uses rhyming words. Let's read the book and find out what words have the /o/ sound.

11.  Finally give the students two short o worksheet. I have three different worksheets. Throughout this lesson I will have paid enough attention to see those students that have a great understanding of short /o/ and I will give them the more advanced worksheet. For the other students that need more practice I will give them an on-level worksheet. All of the students will receive a worksheet that focuses on writing with the short o sound. While the students are working on their worksheets, I will call them up one by one and have them read Doc in the Fog to me. As they read I will do a running record.


Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss; Random House 1963

Doc in the Fog by Shelia Cushman; Educational Insights, Carson CA, 1990

Letterbox Materials/ how to's:

Advanced Short o Worksheet


On-Level Short o Worksheet


Writing Short o Worksheet


Dr. O by Taylor Swann



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