Yikes! I Slipped on the Ice!

Beginning Reading

By: Jennifer Bruha


            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. At the end of this lesson, children will be able to identify, read, and spell words containing the spelling i_e = /I/. They will learn a memorable representation (Yikes! I slipped on the ice!), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that concentrates on the i_e = /I/ correspondence.


Graphic image of child slipping on ice

Cover-up critter

Whiteboard Elkonin boxes for modeling and letterboxes for individual students

Magnetic letters for modeling and plastic letter manipulatives for each student: c, d, e, f, g, i, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t.

List of spelling words: nice, time, kite, pile, spine, crime, glide, spike, grime, and strife.

Decodable text Di and the Mice

Assessment worksheet: http://free-phonics-worksheets.com/html/phonics_worksheet_v2-09.html


1) Say: “In order to become expert readers, we need to understand the code that tells us how to pronounce words. We have already learned to read short vowel words with i, like pin and kit. Now we are going to learn about the long I and the silent e signal that makes the I say its name, /I/. When I say /I/, I think of me, slipping on ice. I would probably say ‘IIIIIIIII!’ as I slipped, or maybe ‘Yikes!’ [Show image representation]. Now let’s look at the spelling we will learn today. One way to spell /I/ is with the letter i and a silent e on the end of the word. This tells me to say I’s name, /I/. [Write i_e on the board.] This blank line means that there is a consonant after the i, and at the end of the word there is a silent e to signal me to say I’s name, /I/.”

2) Say: “Let’s try listening for /I/ in some words before we try to spell it. When I listen for /I/ in words, I hear i say its name /I/, and my mouth opens and then closes a little bit towards the end of the /I/ [Make vocal gesture for /I/]. I’ll show you first – when I say ice, my mouth starts out open and then closes a little bit as the /I/ fades out. There is a long I in ice. Let’s try sit – I do not hear I say its name, and my mouth is open, but it stays open the same amount for the /i/. There is not a long /I/ in sit. Now I’m going to let you try. If you hear /I/, say ‘Yikes!’ If you don’t hear /I/, say ‘That’s not it.’ Is it in rice, pipe, dime, hike, side, line?”

3) Say: “What if I want to spell the word prime? ‘The dog is in his prime.’ Prime means ‘best time’ or ‘best shape’ in this sentence. To spell prime in letterboxes, I need to figure out how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /p//r//I//m/. I need four boxes. I hear /I/ just before the /m/, so I am going to put the i in the third box and the silent e outside the last box. The word starts with /p/ so I am going to find my p and place it in the first box. I also heard an /r/ right after the /p/, so I am going to find my r and place it right after the p. Now there’s one box left, and the letter representing /m/ goes in that box. Now let’s try to read a tough word. [Display poster with shrine on the top and model reading the word.] I am going to start with the i_e – I know that part says /I/. Now I’m going to put the beginning letters with it: I know that sh makes the /sh/ sound, so that makes sh-r-i_e, [shrI]. Now I add the last sound to that and I get /shrI-n/. Oh, shrine, like a religious shrine or memorial.”

4) Say: “Now you are going to spell some words in letterboxes. You will start out easy with three boxes for nice: ‘My teacher is really nice!’ Did you remember to put your silent e outside the last box? I’ll come around to check your spelling. [Observe progress.] You will need three letterboxes for the next word: time. Listen for the beginning sound to place in the first box, then listen for the /I/ and don’t forget your silent e outside the last box. Time: ‘Do you know what time it is?’” [Let children spell remaining words and give sentences for each word: kite, pile, spine, crime, glide, spike, grime, and strife.]

 5) Say: “Now I am going to let you read the words you have spelled. [Show the words nice, time, kite, pile, spine, crime, glide, spike, grime, strife, the extra words like and gripe, and the pseudoword spride.” [Have children read words in unison. Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had one turn.]

6) Say: “You all have done wonderfully working with the new spelling i_e = /I/. Now we are going to read a book called Di and the Mice. This book is about a girl who goes on a bike ride in the woods. She decides to sit down for a rest and eat a snack by some very green vines on a bench. She looks down to see white in the vines…We’ll have to read to find out what could be white in the green vines! Let’s pair up to find out what it could be.” [Have children pair up and take turns reading Di and the Mice while teacher walks around the room to observe. After individual paired reading, the class rereads the book chorally, stopping between page turns to discuss the story.]


Say: “I want to see how you all solve a reading problem. I am handing out a worksheet. On this worksheet, there are some words missing. Your job is to look in the word box and decide which i_e word fits best to make sense of this short story. First try reading all the words in the box, then choose the word that best fits in the sentence. Be sure to double check your answers by rereading them.” [Collect worksheets to assess individual work.]


Assessment worksheet: http://free-phonics-worksheets.com/html/phonics_worksheet_v2-09.html

Noie Yancey, Oh, Oh, My Knee Hurts: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invitations/yanceybr.htm

Cushman, Sheila and Rona Kornblum, Di and the Mice. Educational Insights, 1990. 8 pp.

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