Itty Bitty /i/


A Beginning Reading Lesson

Christina Statler


Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the short vowel correspondence i = /i/. In order to read, children must first learn to recognize the spellings that map word pronunciations. In this lesson children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling i. They will learn a meaningful representation (a dripping ice cream), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence i = /i/.



·         Graphic image of a small i next to a tall building (seen in graphic above)

·         Cover up critter

·         Chart with tongue tickler: Izzy Iguana lives in his Igloo in Indiana.

·         A whiteboard or Smartboard

·         Elkonin boxes for modeling and individual Elkonin boxes for each student

·         Letter manipulatives for each child: p, r, i, n, t, b, g, s, h, d, l, a

·         Magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher: p, r, i, n, t, b, g, s, h, d, l, a

·         A list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: print, tip, bin, pig, ship, is, grid, list, grab, bar, pad.

·         The decodable text: Tin Man Fix It book (Educational Insights 1990)




1.      Say: We want to become expert readers, so we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. We have already learned about the short vowel sound for a which says "ahhh" and today we are going to learn about short i and the sound /i/ it makes when it's in words by itself. When I say /i/ I think of (in very small voice) iiiity biiity short i! (Show the children the graphic). [Have i written on the board for the children to have a visual.]

2.      Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /i/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I listen for /i/ in words, my lips make a little stretched out smile and my mouth is open. [Make vocal gesture for /i/.] I'll show you first: dig. I heard iiiitty biiiitty /i/ and I felt my lips make a stretched out smile. There is a /i/ in dig. Now I'm going to see if it's in grow. Hmm, I didn't hear iiiitty biiiitty /i/ and my lips didn't make a stretched out smile. Now you try. If you hear /i/ say, "iiiity biiity!" If you don't hear /i/ say, "That's not it." Is it in pick, rain, sing, coat, tip, lips? [Have children stretch out their lips when they hear the iiiitty biiiitty /i/

3.      What if I want to spell the word print? "Please print your answer on the test." Print means write in this sentence. To spell print in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /p//r//i//n//t/. I need 5 boxes. I heard that /i/ just before the /n/ so I'm going to put an i in the third box. The word starts with /p/, that's easy; I need a p. Now it gets a little tricky so I'm going to say it slowly, /p//r//i//n//t/. I think I heard /r/ so I'll put a r after the p. Next is our iiiitty biiiitty /i/. Let's stretch it out one more time to see what comes next: /p//r//i//n//t/. I hear /n/ so I'm going to put the in the fourth box. It ends with a /t/ so I'm going to put a in the last box. [stretch out the word one more time and point to the letters as you do]. /p//r//i//n//t/. That spells print, just like it is written on our chart over here: /p//r//i//n//t/, print.

4.      Say: Now I'm going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You'll start out easy with two boxes for is. "Is it going to rain today?" What should go in the first box? [Respond to children's answers]. What goes in the second box? I'll check your spelling while I walk around the room. [Observe progress.] You'll need three letterboxes for the next word. Listen for the beginning sound that goes in the first box. Then listen for /i/. Here's the word: tip, I gave the waiter a great tip at the restaurant; tip. [Allow children to spell remaining words: big, pig, ship, grid, and list. Continue to monitor progress and add assistance as needed.]

5.      Say: Now that we've spelled our words, we want to go back and read them. I'm going to read print: /p/ /r/ /i/ /n/ /t/, priiiiiiint, print.

6.      Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you've spelled. [Have children read words in unison from the chart hanging on the board. Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.]

7.      Say: You've done a great job and reading words with our iiiitty biiiitty /i/. Now we are going to read a book called Tin Man Fix It. This book is about a young boy and his Tin Man friend. They want to plant a garden. While they are planting the garden, another boy zooms by on a skateboard and crashes into Tin Man. He causes Tin Man to break into pieces! You will have to read Tin Man Fix It to see if Tin Man gets put back together and if the garden gets finished. Teacher needs to walk around the room, monitoring everyone's progress as they are reading the book.

8.      For the assessment call the children back to your table and have them read the new tongue twister [In igloos it is insanely chilly.] Have them read the tongue twister to themselves first, then as a class. Observe them read the sentence and assess their ability to decode the tongue twister of the phoneme /i/. Note the children that are struggling with this particular phoneme, so they can get extra assistance and practice throughout the year.



·         Montgomery, Molly: Iiiiicky Sticky

·          Ice Cream

·         Murray, G. (2004) Jakes Joke. Reading Genie


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