Open Wide and Say O-o-o-o-o-o!

By: Brittany Belle Williams



For children to be able to learn to read they must be able to distinguish the sounds that make up the written words.  In this lesson students will learn the vocal gestures that make up the sound o= /o/.  The objective for this lesson is to give the students a better understanding of o= /o/.  For children to become good readers they must have a good understanding of vowels.  This will help them learn to decode words which will in turn make them better readers. 




-Tongue Twister on Chart Paper "Ozzy the Octopus hogs the cot"

-Doc in the Fog- easy reader decodable book

-Letterboxes for every student

-Letters for every student- b, c, d, g, h, l, m, o, p, r, s, and t

-Small Portable Dry Erase Board (2 feet by 2 feet)

-Dry Erase Marker

-Word List of /o/ words: 3-log, hot, rod, den, shot, big, pot,   4- stop, clog, block

-Phoneme Graphic (at the doctor opening wide and sticking out tongue)

-Assessment sheet (pictures with /o/ in the word to match to the word: correct words are dog, pot, clock, stop, log, hot)





  1. "The written language is like a secret code.  We are going to learn how to break this code and read the words that are written.  We are going to learn today about the sound /o/ just like in the words mop and sock."
  2. "Can everyone say mop?"  The teacher would now model the word mop emphasizing the /o/ sound.  Then the teacher would write the word mop on the small portable dry erase board.  Then the students will once again say the word this time emphasizing the /o/ sound in the word mop.
  3. "Has anyone ever been to the doctor?" "When you go to the doctor he will tell you to open wide and say /o/ so he can see your throat."  "To create the /o/ sound we have to open our mouths really big just like we are at the doctor."  The teacher would then show the students a picture of someone opening their mouth and sticking out their tongue at the doctor.  "Now let's pretend our throat hurts and the doctor is going to look at it."  At this point the teacher would model how to open your mouth and make the /o/ sound.  Next the students will join the teacher in making the /o/ sound. 
  4. "Every time we hear the /o/ sound in a word we are going to open our mouths really big and stick out our tongues so the doctor can see our throats."  The teacher would then model the expression of opening wide and sticking out the tongue. 
  5. "Ozzy the Octopus hogs the cot."  The teacher models how to read the tongue twister.  Then the teacher reads the tongue twister again emphasizing the /o/ sound.  "/o/zzy the /o/ctopus h/o/gs the h/o/t d/o/gs".  Now the students will read the tongue twister.  Then they will read tongue twister again but this time emphasizing the /o/.  "This time when we read the tongue twister we will open our mouths and stick out our tongues like the doctor is looking at our throats every time we hear the /o/ sound in tongue twister."  This will be repeated until the students easily pick out the /o/ sound.
  6. The teacher will now hand out letterboxes to each student along with the letters needed for the activity.  "When I say a word you try to spell it using your boxes.  Remember each sound you hear goes in one box.  I will show you how to do one.  For example, the word snob.  I hear the sounds /s/ /n/ /o/ and /b/.  So in my first box I would place a s for the /s/ sound.  The next sound I hear is /n/ so I would place the n in the second box.  The third sound I hear is the /o/ sound so I would place the o in the third box.  And finally I hear the /b/ sound so I would place a b in the last box.  I will let you know how many boxes are needed for each word."  "Now it is your turn to try."  Word List:  3-log, hot, rod, log, shot, mop, pot,   4- stop, clog, block  
  7. "Now I am going to write the words on the board (small portable dry erase board) that you just spelled and I want you to read them to me."  (pot, rod, shot, dob, log, hot, lob, mop, pot, clog, stop, and block).  There are two pseudo words in this list to see if the students can still read the word. 
  8. Now have the students read Doc in the Fog as a whole group or in small groups.  I prefer the small groups because it gives the teacher a better opportunity to monitor each student and even take a running record or note miscues. 
  9. For an assessment I would give each student a sheet with many pictures on it.  The student would then color the pictures that have the /o/ sound in them.  There will be three words by each picture and the students must circle the word with /o/.  For example: picture of a dog, choices will be puppy, dog, and mut.  After they are finished they may color the pictures. 




Cushman, Shelia. Doc in the Fog. Educational Insights: Carson, CA, 1990.


Hamby, Courtney: Suppressing Short O