Iggy the Iguana is Itchy!

Emergent Literacy Design

By Charlotte Livingston


Rationale: To be able to read successfully children must be phonemically aware. This means they must be able to recognize phonemes in spoken words. Each phoneme has a distinct sound that helps children decode words. Students must also be aware of their corresponding graphemes in written words. Short vowels are the most important letters that children must know. The phoneme /i/ can be tricky for children. When a student is learning the phoneme /i/, there are many activities that can help the process including: gestures, identifying words that contain short i, , and working on handwriting.


“Tin Man Fix-It”

Large paper with letter i, picture of iguana, and tongue tickler: Iggy the Iguana is itching his itchy skin.

List of phoneme identities to test: twig or branch, frown or grin, catch or kick, pink or blue, lift or drop, stand or sit.

Primary paper


Short i picture worksheet: The students will circle all the pictures that have short /i/ sounds in them.  (Enchanted Learning).


    1. First I will explain to the students that we are learning the letter i today.  I will show the students what the i looks like on a piece of paper. Under the letter i is a picture of an iguana. I will say “Does everyone see this iguana? This is Iggy. Iggy has very scaly rough skin so he is always itchy. When Iggy the Iguana feels really itchy he scratches is body and says /i/. Can everyone scratch their body and say /i/ like Iggy. Now I am going to show you what your mouth should look like when you say /i/. Your mouth should be opened slightly and your tongue is lowered. Do you know what Iggy and itchy start with? They both start with the letter i which makes the sound /i/. So today we are going use the letter i a lot, and whenever you hear that /i/ sound I want you to scratch yourselves like poor Iggy.”


    2. Now I will show you how to find the /i/ sound in a word. Under the picture of Iggy will be a tongue tickler. Iggy the Iguana is itching his icky skin. I will say the tongue tickler once and then I will stretch it out. I-i-i-i-g-g-y the i-i-i-g-u-a-a-n-a i-i-i-s i-i-t-c-h-i-n-g h-i-i-s i-i-i-t-c-h-y s-k-i-i-i-n. Do you hear that /i/ sound? Then I will ask the students to say it with me while scratching. “Is anyone itchy?” I will ask them if they hear the /i/. They will know they heard the /i/ sound if they were super itchy.I will then ask them to point to the words that have the /i/ sound.


    3. ”Now I am going to say 2 words to you and you are going to tell me which word has the /i/ sound in it? Can everybody say /i/ with me and scratch their arms? Great!”

Do you hear /i/ in…

Twig or branch

Frown or grin

Catch or kick

Pink of blue

Lift or drop

Stand or sit


     4.  Now I want everyone to take out their primary paper and pencils. I will model for you first how to write the letter i. Now I want you to try and write 5 perfect i’s.


5. Now I will read to the students “Tin Many Fix-It.” I will give the students a short book talk first to engage the students. “Tim the tin man is working with his best friend Jim in the garden. They are planting flower. Have any of you ever planted flowers? Well while Tim and Jim are almost finished with their garden a boy named Sid comes flying towards them on a skateboard! Before Jim and Tim could get out of the way, BAM! Sid hit Tim the tin man! Do you think Tim will be ok? Do you think they will ever finish the garden? We will have to read it to find out.”  We will then read the book. Before I start reading I will remind the students that every time they hear the /i/ sound to scratch their bodies because that /i/ sounds makes them so itchy!

6. Now I will give each student a worksheet with pictures on it. They will circle al the pictures that make the short /i/ sound.

I will be able to assess each child from the worksheet. If they circled all the words that have a short /i/ sound in them I will know that they grasped the lesson and understand /i/.


Cushman, Sheila. “Tin Man Fix It.” Educational Insights. Carson, CA:  1990

Maggie Saye, Itchy Izzie’s Igloo http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/odysseys/sayeel.html

Enchanted Learning. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/alphabet/circlethemewords/shorti/First School.

Jessie Wiggins. “Icky, Icky, Sticky!” http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/odysseys/wigginsel.html

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