Aye, aye, Captain!

A Beginning Reading Lesson

By: Faith Karl



This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence i_e = /I/. In order to be able to read, children must 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_e. They will learn a meaningful representation (saying "Aye, aye" to the Captain), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence i_e = /I/.



·         Graphic image of the Captain from SpongeBob SquarePants

·         Cover-up critter

·         Whiteboard or smartboard

·         Elkonin boxes for modeling

·         Individual Elkonin boxes for each student

·         Letter manipulatives for each child

·         Magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher: I, c, e, l, k, r, p, s, t, g, m, p.

·         List of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: ice, like, ripe, sick, grime, stripe

·         Decodable text: Kite Day at the Park

·         Assessment worksheet



1. Say: In order to become expert readers we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. We have already learned to read short vowel words with i, like sip, and today we are going to learn about long I and the silent e signal that is used to make I say its name, /I/. When I say /I/ I think of the theme song for SpongeBob. When the Captain asks us, "Are you ready, kids?" we respond by saying "Aye, aye, Captain." [show graphic image]


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, I hear i say its name /I/ and my mouth is open part of the way. My lips are stretched at the sides and my tongue is not touching the top or bottom of my mouth. Watch my mouth as I say /I/. [Make vocal gesture for /I/.] I'll show you first: hide. I heard i say its name and I felt my lips stretch. [say /I/ and draw a straight line along lips]. There is a long I in hide. Now I'm going to see if it's in look. l-oo-k. Hmm, I didn't hear i say its name and my lips didn't make the right shape to say /I/. Now you try. If you hear /I/ say, "Aye, aye, Captain." If you don't hear /I/ say, "That's not it." Is it in light, dark, time, past, fall, fly? [Have children salute the Captain when they hear the phoneme /I/ and feel it say its name.]


3. Say: Now let's look at the spelling of /I/ that we'll learn today. One way to spell /I/ is with the letter i and a signal e at the end of the word to tell me to say I's name. [Write i_e on the board.] This blank line here means there is a consonant after i, and at the end of the word there is a little silent e signal. Just so that we all remember, we do not say the e at the end of the word. It is there so that we know that we say the other vowel's name. If I had the word ice, I wouldn't say /i/ /s/ /e/, I would see that the signal e makes i say its name. Let's try this with the word stripe. "Today, I saw a kitten with a long stripe down his back." To spell stripe in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /s//t//r//I//p/. I need 5 boxes. I heard that /I/ just before the /p/ so I'm going to put an i in the 4th box and the silent e signal outside the last box. The word starts with /s/, that's easy; I need an s. Now it gets a little tricky so I'm going to say it slowly, /s//t//r//I//p/. I think I heard /t/ so I'll put a t right after the s. One more before the /I/, hmm . . . /s//t//r//I//p/, I think I heard growling /r/ so I need an r. I have one empty box now. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /s//t//r//I//p/.] The missing one is /p/ = p. I'm going to check to see if I spelled stripe correctly. [Point to each box in turn and point to the I and e at the same time to emphasize that they go together.] /s/ /t/ /r/ /I/ /p/. /st/ /r/ /I/ /p/, /st/ /rI/ /p/. That spells stripe! I did that right.








* the e does not go in an Elkonin box. Box is due to formatting issue in Word

4. Say: Now I'm going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You'll start out easy with two boxes for ice. Ice is frozen water. "When I pour a glass of water, I like to put ice in it to make it cold." What should go in the first box? [Respond to children's answers]. What goes in the second box? What about silent e, did you remember to put it outside the boxes? 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/ and don't forget to put the signal silent e at the end, outside the boxes. Here's the word: like, "I like it when we go outside for recess." like. [Allow children to spell words.] Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: l – i – k – e and see if you've spelled it the same way. Try another with three boxes: ripe. This word means that something is ready to eat. "I know that my banana is ripe when all of the green is gone." [Have volunteer spell it in the letterbox on the front board for children to check their work. Repeat this step for each new word.] Next word. Listen to see if this word has /i/ in it before you spell it: sick. "I couldn'r come to scholl today because I was sick." Did you need a silent e? Why not? Right, because we don't hear i say its name. We spell it with our short vowel i. [volunteer spells it on the front board.] Did you remember to spell /k/ with a ck? Now let's try 4 phonemes: grime; When something had grime on it, that means that it is very dirty. "Before I could sit on the swing, I had to clean the grime off of it." One more then we're done with spelling, and this time you need five boxes: stripe; "Today, I saw a kitten with a long stripe down his back."  Remember to stretch it out to get this tough word.


5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you've spelled, but first I'll show you how I would read a tough word. [Display poster with stripe on the top and model reading the word.] First I see there's a silent e on the end; that's my signal that the vowel will say its name. There's the vowel i. It must say /I/. I'm going to use a cover-up to get the first part. [Uncover and blend sequentially before the vowel, then blend with the vowel.] /s//t/ = /st/ + /r/ = /str/. Now I'm going to blend that with /I/ = /strI/. Now all I need is the end, /p/ = /strIp/. Stripe; that's it. Now it's your turn, everyone together. [Have children read words in unison. Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.]


6. Say: You've done a great job and reading words with our new spelling for /I/: i_e. Now we are going to read a book called Kite Day at Pine Lake. This story is about a group of children who are flying their kites on Kite Day. Many of the children have fun kites that they are flying, but Bob doesn't have a kite at all. Let's pair up and take turns reading Kite Day at Pine Lake to find out what happens to Bob and if he can get a kite. [Children pair up and take turns reading alternate pages each while teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads Kite Day at Pine Lake aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]


7. Say: That was a fun story. What did the children do for their friend, Bob? Right, they all helped to build him a kite. What did they paint on the kite? That's right, stripes. Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /I/ = i_e, I want to see how you can solve a reading problem. On this worksheet, we have a picture with three words next to it. Your job is to look at the picture and decide which word spells the name of the item in the picture. First try reading all the words, and then choose the right word. [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.]


Name _____________________________

Directions: Look at the picture and circle the name of the item.































Kite Day at Pine Lake. Carson, CA: Educational Insights, 1990. Print.

Catherine Edwards. http://www.auburn.edu/~cce0004/edwardsbr.htm


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