Let's Get Icky and Sticky

Icky  Piggy

Beginning Reading

Cassie Cherof

Rationale: This lesson will help beginning readers to learn to spell and read words. They will learn to recognize i=/i/ in written and spoken words. They will learn a meaningful representation and practice spelling and reading words with i=/i/ using a letterbox lesson. Also, they will read a new book.


·   Letterboxes: A set of 2, 3, 4, and 5 for each student and teacher

·   Letterbox letters for each student and teacher: i (2), s, t, f, a, n, b (2), k, l (2), e, d, r, F, h, p, m, c

·   Overhead projector

·   Picture of "icky sticky glue" with hand motion description

·   Poster with tongue twister: "Nikki is an icky sticky piggy living in an igloo made of itchy, icky, sticky mud. "

·   Primary Paper (2 sheets, one for teacher and one for student)
Pencils (2 wooden)

·   Book Liz Is Six

·   Worksheet with pictures for assessment (pictures of two choices, which picture do you hear i=/i/?  (pig or horse? Spill or drip? Cook or grill? Stink or smell?)



1. First, I will show the students the letter i on the overhead projector.

·    I will use the upper and lower case I from my set of letterbox tiles.

·   "Can you tell me what letter this is?" "That's correct, it is the letter I." "Who can tell me what sound it makes?" "Great job!"

·   Now I will place the picture of someone touching icky sticky glue on the overhead.

·   "The i makes the sound /i/ like you have icky sticky glue all over your hands."

·   I will then stretch out the i sound to sound like''I have glue all over my hands,'' just like the picture shows.

·   "Now I want everyone to try and get the icky sticky glue off their hands!"


2. 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 read the sentence stretching out the i  to sound like icky sticky glue .

·   "Now it's your turn to repeat after me: "Nikki is an icky sticky piggy living in an igloo made of itchy, icky, sticky mud. "


3. Now, I want you to pay really close attention because I am going to ask you some questions. "I am going to read two words to you and I want you to be listening for the icky sticky i.  After I read the words, I want you to raise your hand and tell me what word you heard icky sticky in, and then show me the hand motion that represents it."

·   Word list:

o   Bed or sit

o   Fix or kite

o   Lip or nose

o   Trick or Treat


4.  Hand out letterbox tiles and have students turn them over to the lowercase side. Now I want everyone watch me as I model how to use our letterboxes.

·   For this word, I am going to need three letterboxes. That means there are three sounds in my word. This also means that our mouths are only going to move three times when we say this word. The word is…fix.

·   The f says /f/ so we need to put the letter f in our first letterbox.

·   The second sound is i so we need to put the letter i in the second letterbox.

·   The last sound is /x/ so we need to put the letter x in the last letterbox.

·   Now it is your turn. The students will begin by reading each word and then spelling it.

o   Words: (2) is, it (3) fat, fit, sit, tin, lip, kit (4) bled, bred, fled, sled, spill, grip (5) drift, twist, split, blest, slept. 

o   The student 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.


5. I will now have students read words off the overhead projector. I will show a list of words that they spelled in step 3. 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 letters that correspond with the phoneme from left to right.

6. Next, I will introduce the decodable book: Liz Is Six. We are going to read Liz Is Six.

·   This story is about a girl who is your age and gets a brand new mitt for her birthday. They decide to play a baseball game and pig gets a great big hit! Let's read to see what happens in the rest of the game with the pig and Liz.

·   The student will then read the book aloud to me, using his yellow pointer to help him read each word.

7. Finally, we are going to write a message to each other about what our favorite animal is.  I remind him how to write an /i/ and have him write a couple of words for him to practice. He may use invented spelling when writing.


As I work with my student, I will note miscues that I hear as he is reading.   I will be able to check his phonemic awareness by anecdotal notes that will collaborate throughout the semester to check reading progress. To end the lesson, I will present my student with a worksheet with pictures on it, some containing the /i/ sound in them. The goal will be to circle the picture that contains the /i/ sound. Under the picture, he will write the word of the picture.  He will receive a sticker if he completes the entire lesson.




Shumock, Emily. "Icky Piggy."



Battles, Ellen. "The Old Creaky Door."



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

Cushman, S (1990). Liz Is Six. Carson, CA: Educational Insights.

Picture of Icky Sticky /i/.


Return to the Voyages index.

Return to Sightings Index