Ahh! Now That's Refreshing!


Beginning Reading Lesson

Blair Smith


Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the short vowel correspondence o = /o/. It is important for students to learn the correspondences between sounds and letters and recognize spellings that map word pronunciations in order to decode words. In this lesson children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the correspondence o. The will learn a meaningful representation, a man saying, "Ahhh" after having a cool drink on a hot day, and will spell and read words with this correspondence in a Letterbox lesson. They will also read a decodable book that focuses on this correspondence.


1.     Graphic image of a man drinking a cool drink

2.     Cover up critters

3.     Whiteboard or smartboard Elkonin boxes for modeling

4.     Individual Elkonin boxes for each student

5.     Letter manipulatives for each child : a, b, c, f, k, l, m (2), n, o, p, r, s, t

6.     Magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher : a, b, c, f, k, l, m (2), n, o, p, r, s,t

7.     List of spelling words on poster to read:  2- on, in; 3- rock, mom, lock, bat; 4- stop, flop

8.     Decodable text: A Hot Spot

9.     Assessment Worksheet

10.  Assessment Word List: pop, cog, hot, dob, prom, flock

11. Tongue Tickler poster



1.     Say: In order to become the best readers, we need to learn the secret code that tells us how to pronounce words. Today we are going to crack the code for the letter o (write the letter on the board). Sometimes the letter o makes the sound /o/, kind of like when I take a sip of a refreshing drink on a hot day (show graphic image). Have you ever been really thirsty and then taken a gulf of a drink? Did it make you say "ahhhh"? That is the same sound the letter o makes. Can we all say /o/ together?  While you say it, pretend you're drinking a nice cool drink on a hot day with your hands and mouth. We will learn all about this letter today, including the sound it makes, what it looks like, how to write it, and how to read it!

2.     Say: Before we learn how to spell /o/, we need to listen for it in some words! When I listen for /o/ in words, I hear the sound coming from the back of my mouth, and my mouth is wide open in an "O" shape! Our tongue stays still. Practice saying /o/ a few times using your cold drink! Let me show you how to find it in a word first: top. I felt my tongue be still and my mouth open wide. There is a short o in top. Now I'm going to see if it's in school. Hmm, I didn't make a sound like I just had a refreshing drink, and didn't open my mouth wide. Now you try. If you hear /o/, put your hand to your mouth like you're drinking your cool drink. If you don't hear /o/ then leave your hands on your desk. Is it in mop, bet, flop, hot, cap? Now listen to this silly tongue tickler for the /o/ sound made with o! (Say the tongue tickler "Oliver had an operation in October, and Oscar gave him an octopus.")  Now let's all say it together! Awesome job! Now let's see what words in our tongue tickler have the /o/ sound in them. We're going to read it very slow and drag out each word to see if it has /o/! O-liver had an o-peration in O-ctober, and O-scar gave him an o-ctopus. Great job!


3.     Say: Now let's look at the spelling of /o/ that we'll learn today since we know how it sounds. Let me show you how to write the letter o, which makes the sound /o/. (Write it on the board for all students to see). Start at the fence, and curve it down like a little c to the sidewalk, then make another curve from the sidewalk up to the fence on the other side, like this! It should look like a circle! Practice this a few times on your paper. Remember to start at the fence line. Fantastic!


4.     Say: Now we are going to use our letter boxes to spell words with the /o/ sound, but we will also review some words with the other vowels we have learned. This will help you pick out the words with the /o/ sound. (Pass out the letter boxes and letter tiles) Remember we use the letter o to represent the /o/ sound! I will show you how to use these first. What if I want to spell the word rock? "I found a new rock for my collection." To spell rock in the letterboxes, first I need to count the phonemes. Let's see, r-o-ck, three! That means I need to use three boxes. I know I heard the /o/ sound in there, so I will need to use the letter o. The first sound I hear is /r/, the word starts with r, so I am going to put it in my first box. Then I heard /o/ so I will put it in the second box. Let's say the word again slowly to stretch out the sound: rrrrooooccckkkk. I think I heard /ck/ at the end so I will put a c and a k in the last box. Now, I want you to try some! When I call out a word, I want you to put the letters in your boxes. I will tell you how many boxes you need for each word, and will be coming around to see if you need any help.  I am going to start out easy with two boxes for on. I am standing on the ground. What should go in the first box? (Respond to student's answers). What goes in the second box? Good! Here's another easy one, in. I like to swim in my pool. Make sure you check to see if you need to put an o in the word! (Observe progress). I didn't hear the /o/ sound in the word in, so it should not be in your letter boxes. Remember, some words will be review. You'll need three letterboxes for the next word, and remember to listen for the /o/ sound. Here's the word: mom. I like when my mom bakes me cookies. (Allow children to spell word). Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: m-o-m and see if you've spelled it the same way. Try another with three boxes: lock; I need to lock up my bike when I come to school. (Have a volunteer spell it in the letterbox on the front board for children to check their work, and repeat this step for each word.) Next word: bat. Do we hear the /o/ sound? Which sound do we hear? Now let's try 4 letterboxes, or 4 phonemes: stop; My dad said to stop jumping on my bed. One more: flop; I went flop on my bed when I kept jumping.


5.     Say: Let's write some of the words we just spelled on the board! I want you to read them to me as a class when I point to them. If you hear the /o/ sound, pretend you are taking a sip of your cool drink! I will show you how to do this first, and then we will do it together. (Write the word sock on the board.)  I see the o in the word, which I know says /o/.  I am going to use my cover-up to get the first part. It starts with /s/. Then it ends with /ck/. Now let me blend it s-o-ck… oh, sock! (Pretend you are drinking your cool drink as you say it). I am wearing a sock on my foot!  Now it's your turn! (Write the words from the letterboxes on the board, along with a few new words.) Great job!


6.     Say: Now we are going to read a book called A Hot Spot since you have all done such a good job reading and spelling words for o=/o/. This is a story about a boy named Tim who just wants a cool drink on a hot, hot day. But, there is a pig in the way! Read the story to find out what happens. I want you to whisper read this story to yourself. (Walk around the room monitoring progress. After individual reading, the class reads the story aloud together, stopping between pages to discuss the plot.)


7.     Say: That was a fun story! What happened to Tim in the end? Before we finish up with our lesson, I want to see how you can pick out some words with /o/ sounds in them! Color in the words and pictures with the short /o/ sound in them. I will call you up individually to read some words with /o/ sounds!


8. Assessment:  I will have a worksheet with words and pictures where some words will have the /o/ sound and some will not. I will instruct student to color in the words and pictures with the short /o/ sound in them. While the students are completing this, I will have each student come up individually and read me a list of words and pseudowords with the short /o/ sound. This will be a good assessment to see if they can decode words with the short /o/ sound.   



Murray, G. (2004) A Hot Spot. Reading Genie: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html

Johnson, Holly. "Open wide and say Ahhh!" http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/awakenings/johnsonhbr.htm



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