Open Wide and Say "Ah"

Beginning Reading

Brittney McKissick



Students will learn to decode and blend /o/ correspondence.  Students will spell words using letterboxes.  They will be able to read a decodable book and pseudowords with the /o/ correspondence.

This lesson teaches the /o/ correspondence.  It is important to teach short vowels to students because they are present in most words.  This lesson will use a letterbox lesson, reading words and a book containing the /o/ correspondence. 

1.  Phoneme picture of a doctor looking in a child's mouth
2.  Write this tongue twister on the board "Oliver had an operation in October."
3.  Primary paper for all of the students
4.  Pencils for all of the students
5.  Elkonin Boxes and letter tiles:  a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, m, n, o, p, r, s, t
6.  Copies of Doc in the Fog for the students and teacher - produced by Educational Insights
7.  Flash cards with the following words:  job, mad, dot, bed, chin, rock, pod, shop, frog, stop, snob, frost
8.  Flash cards with the following pseudowords:  mot, pog, fod, zom, hob


1.  Show the phoneme graphic of the doctor looking in the child's mouth.  Tell the students that this represents /o/, which is what o in Doc says.  Let us practice making the /o/ together.  Make sure to open wide and say /o/ like when a doctor is looking in your mouth.  Notice that when you say /o/ your mouth is in the shape of an O. 


2.  Now we are going to say a tongue twister.  I will say it first, and then, I want for you to join in with me the second time.  Make sure you stretch out the /o/ sound.  Come on join in, O-O-Oliver had an o-o-operation in O-O-October.  You did a good job at making the /o/ doctor sound.


3.  Next, read a list of words to the students, and get them to pick out which words have the /o/ sound.  Ask, do you hear /o/ in bank or dock?  Jog or run?  Pig or hog?  Time or clock?  Slob or neat?  You can come up with more words to ask each student individually to make sure that all of the students understand this correspondence.  The teacher can even ask the students if they can come up with /o/ words.


4.  Get out the Elkonin boxes and letter tiles.  Make sure the students only spell the words with the letterboxes, and they read the words without the letterboxes.  To begin with, model the letterbox lesson for the students.  We are going to practice spelling some words with the /o/ sound in them.  I want to spell "shock."  I have the letterboxes that I will put my letters in.  I will need to listen to the sounds that are in the words, in order to know what letters to put in the letterboxes.  I am going to say the word slowly, so I can hear all of the sounds.  Sh-o-ck. /sh/ is the first sound I hear, so I will put an 'sh' in the first box.  Next, I hear /o/ the doctor sound, so I will put an 'o' in the second box.  Lastly, I hear /ck/, so I will put a 'ck' in the third box.  Now, I have put all of the letters in their boxes, and I have the word 'shock.'  Make sure that the students understand that each box represents one sound, which could be represented by more than one letter.  Invented spelling is not encouraged in the letter box lessons.  Next, use the letterboxes and letter tiles to complete the letterbox lesson using the following words:  3 phonemes = {job, mad, dot, bed, chin, rock, pod, shop} 4 phonemes = {frog, stop, snob} 5 phonemes = {frost}.  These words will help to reinforce the /o/ doctor sound we have been working on.  Say these words out loud for the students to spell.  When you see that a student has made a mistake in their spelling, make sure you pronounce the word the student spelled exactly as they have spelled it.  This will help the student to use self-correction strategies to fix the mistake.  Give the student one chance to self correct.  If the student still spells the word wrong, then model how to spell it.  Reassure the student that good spellers make mistakes on tough words.  Continue with the letterbox lesson.  After the student has spelled all of the words, then get the student to read the words they spelled that are written on the flash cards.  If the student is struggling reading the words on the flash cards, then you can spell the words using the letter tiles to see if this is easier for the student to read.  When spelling the words with letter tiles, you can break the word into chunks for the student to read.  Just make sure the student reads the words without the letterboxes.


5.  Next, give the students the decodable book Doc in the Fog.  Make sure the students hold the book when they read.  Tell the students: We will be reading Doc in the Fog together.  Doc is Wiz, and he wears a big hat.  He taps a mop, and ZOT!  It turns into a doll.  Then, he taps the doll, and ZOT! It turns into a top.  What all objects does Doc transform, and does he ever make a mistake?  He make ZOT the wrong object and get rid of himself?  To find out the answers, you will have to read Doc in the Fog.


6.  The last part of the lesson is for the students to use primary paper to write a message.  Pretend you are Doc.  Write one or two sentences describing a time when you transformed one of your toys into another toy.  Encourage the students to use invented spelling in their messages. 

In order to make sure the students have a grasp on the /o/ correspondence, have them to read pseudowords that are on flash cards.  The pseudowords are {mot, pog, fod, zom, hob}.

Ogubie, Alexis.  Oscar the Octopus Operates.

Murray, B.A., How to Teach a Letterbox Lesson

Doc in the Fog.  Phonics Readers.  Educational Insights, c. 1990.

Return to Voyages index.