"Woahhhhhhhh", Went Joe, the Yo-Yo

A Beginning Reading Lesson

By Scottie Ferree


Rationale: This lesson teaches beginning readers about the long vowel correspondence o_e=/O/. In order to be able to read, children must learn to recognize what the spellings are that map word pronunciations. In this lesson children will learn how to recognize, spell, and read words that contain the spelling o_e. Through it, they will learn a meaningful representation (the familiar shape of a yo-yo, as he makes the familiar "Woah" sound as he goes up and down), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and they will also read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence o_e=/O/.


Materials: A graphic image of a smiling Yo-Yo named Joe saying "Woah" as he goes up and down; cover-up critter; whiteboard or smartboard Elkonin boxes, (or document camera for use of projecting basic paper Elkonin boxes) for modeling; and individual Elkonin boxes for each student; letter manipulatives or tiles for each child, and magnetic or Smartboard letters for teacher (or with use of document camera she may use a class set): letters- r, o, s, e, c, d, s, m, k, w, t, v, n, j; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read aloud as a class, and for referencing to themselves; decodable book Jake's Joke and assessment worksheet.



1. Say: In order for us to become the expert readers we need to be to be successful, we must first learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. Sometimes this can be tricky though, because learning what each letter stands for and the different ways our mouths move for each letter can sometimes be confusing. We have already learned about one of the sounds that the letter O makes with the short vowel sound, like in the word top, but today we will be learning another sound this letter can make! We will be learning the long O sound and how the silent e can signal us to say its name /O/. We spell this sound with o_e. A few good examples of words that use this sound are rose, woke, stove, and code. Did you hear the sound? Did you also see my mouth make the shape of a circle, like the letter O, and also like a Yo- Yo! Who has seen a Yo-Yo (wait for raised hands, then show graphic picture of the Yo-Yo). See how Joe, our Yo-Yo is saying Woahhhh. Look at his face making the O shape. That is what we do when we use the short O sound. Let's practice together making the shape and sound with our mouths, like Joe the Yo-Yo. Let's all say together "Woahhhhhhh" like Joe. (Wait for students to finish). See! Everyone's mouths looked just like Joes, and round like a yo-yo. We all opened our mouths and dropped our bottom jaws, making that shape we know as the "O"! (Post the graphic image of Joe the Yo-Yo up on the board for students to reference).

2. Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /O/, we need to listen for it in some words. I am going to stretch out the word "rose" by saying it very slowly. I want you all to watch me, especially my mouth, and listen carefully for the same sound that Joe the Yo-Yo saying "Woahhhh" makes. Rrrr-ooo-sss-ee. Ok, now we will try it even slower. Rrrrrrr-oooooo-ssssss-eeeee. Did everyone hear that same sound? And did everyone see my mouth make the shape of a round yo-yo?! (wait for responses). I certainly heard it, and I also felt my mouth making that round "O" shape. I felt how my mouth opened and my bottom jaw dropped, and my vocal chords made that same sound we heard when Joe said "woahhhh". I definitely heard that /O/ sound when I said the word "Rose"!  That is because there is a long "O" in rose. Now, lets see if we heard that same sound in this word. RRR-ooo-ccc-kkk. Did my mouth make the same sound Joe the Yo-Yo made? I didn't hear that sound, and my mouth moved much differently. That is because in the word "rock" we are not using the Long "O" sound. The word rock has the letter "O" in it, but that "O" in that word makes the short "O" sound. Lets try a few more words, and listen for if they make the long "O" sound we have been looking for. If you hear the sound, I want you to give me a thumbs up.(recite words aloud: Code, Smoke, Rope, Not, Stove, Joke, Sock). I hope you all heard a few words that did not use the sound that Joe the Yo-Yo makes when he says "Woahhh". The words Not, and Sock that I said use the short "O" sound, and not the long "O" sound that we are looking for today.

3. I will now give each student a set of Elkonin boxes and the appropriate letter tiles that they will need. I will also have my own set of boxes on the Smartboard/document camera to model how to use the Letterboxes, and as a way to answer students questions. Say: "We are now going to work on spelling a few words that have the /O/ sound by using our letterboxes. Letterboxes help us to break up our words into phonemes, or each sound part we hear in a word. For example, the word "rose" has three phonemes in it, "Rrr", "Ooo", and "Sss". Even though it has four letters, the last letter, "e" is silent. When we are writing words that make this long "O" sound, we write them with an "o", then there is a space filled with another letter, a consonant, and then we have that silent "e" (write o_e on the board or tablet, so that students have a visual reference). In letterboxes, we usually put silent "e"s on the outside of all of our boxes, because we cannot hear them.  There are also going to be a few short "O" words in here, so make sure you are saying the words out loud, so that you know that the sounds in those words are different from the ones that we are looking for today. Remember, we are looking for words that make that "Woahhhhh" sound like Joe the Yo-Yo made. I will model how to spell the word Nose. I will pull out the letters, not in order, but so that they are available, and easily accessible to the students vision. Recite: Nnn-ooo-sss-eee. "I heard three sounds in that word, "n", "o", and "s", so we are going to use three boxes for this word." Say: The first sound, or phoneme that I heard was /n/ so I am going to put that letter, "n", in my first box here. Next, we hear the long "O" sound, and we put that in our second box, because it is the second sound we can hear. Then, we are filling up that "blank space" from our o_e, and that is the "Sss" sound. Now, this word has that silent "e", so we must put that letter on the outside of all of our boxes. Remember, that silent "e" helps the "O" say its name, and make the /O/ sound we have been looking for, just like Joe the Yo-Yo saying "Woahhhhh" as he goes up and down! Now, it is your turn to try to spell some of these words that use our long "O" sound. I want everyone to place the letters I have given to you in a nice straight line in front of you. Next, everyone should place two boxes out in front of you, and we can begin. In the word ode we hear two phonemes. So, place the first sound, our long "o" sound, in the first box, and the /d/ sound, in our second box. Because we have a silent "e" in this word, we should put the "e" on the outside of the last box. (Model this for students- as they follow along on their own). Hand it over to them now, to work on their own. "The words we will be using today that have 3 phonemes, or sounds, are code, rope, and joke. After we work with our three box words, we will work on some challenge words with four phonemes, and four boxes. Those words are smoke, and stove." As you work with your letterboxes, make sure that you are listening to see if the words you are spelling are using the sound with the long "o" we have been practicing. Keep thinking about Joe the Yo-Yo saying "Woahhh" and it should help you out! Remember that our mouths should be making the shape of the Yo-Yo, and our jaws should drop just a little bit.

4. Let's talk about how we should read the words that we have spelled. (This is when poster or tablet paper will be displayed with a challenge word, smoke , to model how to read it. Say: First, I see that there is that silent "e" on the end of my word, and that is my signal that the vowel, the "O" here,  will say its name. I'm going to use my cover-up critter to get the first part of my word. (Uncover slowely and blend sequentially before the vowel, then blend with the vowel) /s//m/=/sm/. "There, we have the first part blended. Now I am going to blend that with /O/=/smO/. Now all I need is the end of my word, /k/=/smOk/. Smoke, that's it. Now it's your turn, everyone together. (Have children read the words in unison, and afterwards call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn. Also allow for any volunteers to share other words that they may know of that use this sound, and offer it the challenge for them to also spell those words if they can.)

5. Y'all have done such a wonderful job today learning to read words with our new spelling for long "o" /O/. Now we are going to be reading a book called Jake's Joke. This is a story about a little boy named Nate who loves his pet snake, Jake, so much. Jake the snake is very good at disappearing, and one day he really does disappear! He disappears when it is time to go to the airport to fly home one day, and Nate cannot find him anywhere! What kind of joke do we think Jake the Snake pulls on Nate in this story? Lets read to see if we can find out. (Students read in pairs and take turns reading alternate pages each while the teacher walks around the room with notepad to monitor progress. Notes can be taken when necessary, but mostly just be looking for any red flags of students completely missing the new phoneme correspondence while reading. After individual paired reading has finished, the class will reread Jake's Joke out loud together, stopping between pages to discuss the plot.)

6. Say: That was a fun story, wasn't it?! So, what was Jake's joke? Right, he had snuck out of his cage and into Nate's bag. What was it that Nate thought was inside of his bag? A rope!! Before we finish for today of our learning how to spell /O/=o_e, I want to see how you can solve a reading problem. On this worksheet, we have a few words missing. Your job is to look in the box of word choices, and choose which o_e word fits the best in orde to make the story correct. First, try to read all of the words inside of the box, and then choose the word that best fits within that space. Reread your answers to see if they make the most sense. (Collect all the worksheets at the end to evaluate individual child progress.)





Brittney Nobles, Oh Oh, It's Magic, the Long O http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invitations/noblesbr.htm


Murray, G (2004) Jake's Joke. Reading Genie http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/


Assessment worksheet http://www.free-phonics-worksheets.com/html/phonics_worksheet_v1-39.html



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