Ollie, the Octopus

Beginning Reading

Katherine Harris


Rationale: It is very important for beginning readers to understand the alphabetic principle. Vowels are the hardest concept to learn, and therefore, beginning readers need plenty of practice with them. In this lesson, students will get practice with the o= /o/ correspondence through spoken and written words. They will be able to recognize the phoneme in written words, spell words with that phoneme (using letterboxes), read words with that phoneme, and be able to tell the difference between that phoneme and other phonemes.


Materials: poster with Ollie, the octopus, thought it odd that his otter friend also had an October birthday, large letterboxes for the teacher, small letterboxes for each student, letters for each student: c,d,f,g,h,k,l,n,o,p,r,s,t, white board and dry erase markers, Doc and the Fog for each student, primary paper and pencils, and worksheets with /o/ words and non-/o/ words such as hop, bug, rot, cat, top, etc. for each student.



1. Who can tell me the vowels we have already learned and what sounds they make? (a= /a/, e= /e/, i= /i/)  Good! Today, we are going to learn a new vowel. We are going to learn about the short o. Can anyone tell me what sound a short o makes? (let students answer) It makes the /o/ sound like when you are at the doctor and he tells you to open wide and say Ahh! so he can check your throat. Can everyone act like they are at the doctor and make that sound with me now? Ahhh!

2. Now, we are going to say a tongue twister! I will say it first and then you will repeat it after me: Ollie, the octopus, thought it odd that his otter friend also had an October birthday. (Students repeat) Good! Now, I am going to stretch out the /o/ sound like this: Ooooollie, the ooooooctopus, thooooought it oooooodd that his ooootter friend also had an Oooooctober birthday. Now you try it with me. (students say the tongue twister stretching the /o/ in each word with the teacher)

3. We are going to do a letterbox lesson today! Each box represents a sound we hear in a word. First, I am going to show you how to spell flop using the letterboxes. (teacher has four large letterboxes on the board) Flop. Ffflloopp. I know it has the /o/ sound, so I am going to put an o in the third box. Fffflllooopp. I am going to put an f in the first box and l in the second because I hear ffffllll. Lets see. It ends with /p/ so I am going to put a p in the last box. Ffffllllooopp. Flop. Now you are going to do your own! (make sure each student has their own letterboxes and the correct set of letters for the lesson)

4. I will call out the words and number of boxes for each and walk around the room to see if they are doing it correctly or need scaffolding. The words I will call out are: 2- [on, off], 3- [hop, pad, rock, let, shop]. 4- [frog, stick, stop].

5. Now, we are going to read the same words that you just did such a great job of spelling. I will show you a trick to what you can do if you have trouble. The teacher writes flop on the board. She covers up the f,l, and p with her finger and says /o/. Then she uncovers the f and l and says /fl/. Then she uncovers the p and says /p/. Then the reads the whole word, flop. The teacher writes the words on the board and has the class as a whole read the words.

6. Okay. Now that we have been spelling and reading words with o in them, we are going to learn how to write an o. Watch how I write a lowercase o. I start below the fence and make a little c. Then I close it up to make an o. Now you try on your own paper. Write an o 5 times on your paper and make sure you say the phrase while you write them. Teacher will say the phrase while they are writing and saying the phrase as well.

7. Do you hear /o/ in pan or pot?, block or brick?, broom or mop?, hot or cold? Now, I am going to say some words. Some have the /o/ sound in them and some do not. Raise your hand when you hear the /o/ sound. (The teacher will say the words: block, brick, rod, cold, hot, broom, mop, sock.)

8. Now, we are going to read a book called Doc and the Fog. It is about a wizard who uses his magical wand to change things into other things. He first changes a mop into a____..what do you think he will change it in to? (Let students share ideas.) Well, let us read so we can find out!

9. You are going to partner read this book. I will come around and tell each person a number. If you are the 1 in your group, you will read the book first to your partner. If you are the 2 in your group, you will first listen to your partner read and then read to them second. When each group is finished reading, I will read then read the book to them. While I read, raise your hand when you hear the /o/ sound.

10. I will then assess the students individually by giving them a worksheet with words. Some of the words have the /o/ sound in them and some do not. The students are to read the words and circle the words that have the /o/ sound. The worksheet will have words such as hop, bug, rot, cat, top, fin, shop, let, stop, etc.



Smith, Courtney, Open Wide Ollie.



Foster, Ridey, Open Up and Say Ahh.



Moats, Elizabeth, Ollie, the Otter.



(1990). Phonics Reader Short Vowel, Doc in the Fog. Carson, Ca (USA): Educational insight

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