Icky Sticky Fingers


Emergent Literacy Design

 Alyson Cason

Rationale:  This lesson will help children identify /i/, the phoneme represented by i. Students will learn to recognize /i/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (icky, sticky fingers) and the letter symbol i, practice finding /i/ in words and apply phoneme awareness with /i/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.


Materials: Primary paper and pencil; chart with “The important Indian was ill with injuries inside the igloo,” drawing paper, crayons, “Miss Nelson is Missing,” word cards with CLICK, SPLIT, CLIP, SKIT, FOG, SLUG, assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /i/.



1. Say: Our language is a code.  It is something tricky and you have to know the letters and the sounds they make in order to crack the code. The mouth moves when we say words because each letter has their own sound.  Today we’re going to work on spotting the mouth move /i/. We will spell /i/ with letter i. “i” looks like a line with a dot on top, and /i/ sounds like when you have sticky fingers and you say “icky icky icky.”


2.  Let’s pretend we have sticky fingers, /i/, /i/, /i/. (Shake fingers) Notice where your mouth is; it is open and our tongue is pressed right against of bottom teeth. When we say /i/, think about how our mouth is open and where our tongue is placed.


3. Let me show you how to find /i/ in the word sticky. I’m going to stretch out sticky out in slow motion and listen for my “icky finger.” St-i-ck-y. Slower Sttt----iiii—cckkk---yy There it was! I felt my mouth open and my tongue touch the back of my top teeth. I can tell where the /i/ is when I say sticky.


4. Let’s try a tongue twister (on chart). “The important Indian was ill with injuries inside the igloo.” Everybody say it three times together. Now say it again, and this time stretch the /i/ at the beginning of the words. “the iiimportant iiindian was iiiiill with iiiinjuries iiiinside the iiiiglooo.”  Try it again, and this time break it off the word: “The /i/mportant /i/ndian was /i/ll with /i/njuries /i/nside the /i/gloo.”


5. (Have students take out primary paper and pencil). We will use letter i to spell i/. “i” looks like a line with a dot on top.  Let’s write the lower case i. Start at the fence and then dot above the fence. I want to see everybody’s i. After I put a smile on it, I want you to make nine more just like it.


6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /i/ in stick or suck? tock or tick? Pick or pluck? Say: Let’s see  if you can spot the mouth move /i/ in some words. Get the sticky off those hands if you hear /i/: bunny, fill, time, big, green, split, gift, miss.


7. Say: “Let’s look at a picture book.  The title has out line with the dot on top, /i/, sounds in it.  What words do you hear with /i/ in it? “Miss Nelson is Missing.” Booktalk: “This story is about a teacher names Miss Nelson who suddenly disappears and the class is left with a mean, terrible substitute.  Do you think Miss Nelson will come back? Or will the class be with the mean old lady forever?” Can you think of a name that has /i/ in it? Ask them to make up a silly creature with their name in it like Phil the fish, or Bill the Billy goat.  Then have each students write their silly name with invented spelling and draw a picture of their silly creature. Display their work.


8. Show SPIT and model how to decide if it is spit or spot: The i tells me to say “icky icky”, /i/, so this word is ssppp—iiii-tt, spit.  You try some: FIX: fix or fox? MIT: mop or mit? TICK: tick or tock? MICKEY: mickey or mockey?


9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet.  Students are to complete the partial spellings.  Call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step 8.




Design: Bruce Murray’s design from The Reading Genie


Assessment worksheet: http://www.kidslearningstation.com/phonics/short-vowel-worksheets.asp

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