Tired Tom Yawns Big

Emergent Literacy

Mandy Fleming


To become a successful reader a child must be able to recognize phonemes in spoken words as well as their corresponding graphemes in written words.  Children need to know their short vowels and the short vowel /o/ is
one of importance because of it's frequency in the English language.  This lesson will help children to master the short o=/o/ correspondence through gestures, tongue twisters, writing practice, and independent work.

Primary Paper for each child
Pencil for each child
Poster with "the top hot rod is toms dog tod" written on it.
Poster with upper and lower case o written on it, lines drawn like primary paper.
Copy of the book In the Big Top for each child
Marker for poster
Chalkboard and chalk
Drawing paper and crayons
Worksheet with pictures of words containing the /o/ sound as well as some that do not such as: pot, tot, cat, stop sign, frog, doctor, grass, dog, hat.


1.  Introduce the lesson by telling children that our written language is secret code that we have to figure out in order to read.  Also, explain to children that each letter has its very own mouth movement and today we are going to be learning about the letter o and its mouth movement.

2. Ask students:  Have you ever been really tired and let out a big yawn?  What did it sound like?  See how big I open my mouth and the sound /o/ comes out?  Let's all do it together, /o/.

3.  Let's try our tongue twister:  "the top hot rod is toms dog tod"

Ok, now everyone see if we can say it 3 times.  Good job.  Now I want us to stretch out the /o/ sound every time we hear it in a word.  "the toooop hoooot rooood is tooooms dooog tooood." Try it again and this time let’s break the /o/ sound off the word: the  t/o/p  h/o/t  r/o/d  is  t/o/ms d/o/g  t/o/d.

4.Give students primary paper and pencil if they don't already have it.  We can use the letter o to write /o/.  Let's write it.  To write an upper case O we start at the roof draw a curved line down to the sidewalk and then back up to connect it at the roof.  Alright now I want to see if everyone can make nine more of those.  Now, to write a lower case o we do the same thing, only this time we start at the fence, draw a curved line down to the sidewalk and then keep the curve going back up to the fence.  Ok see if you can make 9 more of those.  Now that you know what an o looks like when you see it you will know to say /o/.

5. Let me show you how to find /o/ in the word stop.  I'm going to stretch out the word stop in super slow motion and listen to hear the doctor sound.  sss. sst. st-oop stooop. There it is!  I do hear the yawn sound in stop.

6.  Call on students to answer and ask them how they knew.  Do you hear the /o/ sound top or tip mom or dad hot or warm cat or dog.  Ask children to raise their hands if they can think of a work with the /o/ sound in it.  Write their responses on the board.

7.  Say: In this story there is a big family going to the circus but they all have to fit into the same car!  How are they all going to fit? Well have to read to find out!  Read the book In the Big Top.  Next ask students to open mouth wide when you read it through again when they hear the /o/ sound.

hand the children the worksheet with the different pictures and tell them to color only the ones with the /o/ sound.  Display their work when they are done.

Reference: Heather Lynch.  Reading Genie Website.  Stick out your tongue and say  ahh.

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