Aye, Aye, Captain!


A Beginning Reading Lesson

By: Jessica Taff


Rationale: This lesson will teach students about the long vowel correspondence i_e = /I/. In order to be successful readers, students must be able to recognize word spellings and their corresponding pronunciations. In this lesson, students will learn how to recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling i_e. By learning a meaningful, visual representation (a pirate saying "Aye matey"), spelling and reading words containing this spelling in a Letterbox Lesson, and reading a decodable book which focuses on the correspondence i_e = /I/, students will fully grasp all components of the long vowel correspondence i_e = /I/.


- Visual image of a pirate

- Cover-up critter (popsicle stick with two googly eyes)

- Elkonin boxes

- Letter manipulatives: p, i, e, c, k, t, b, l, n, r, s, d, m, w, h, v, a, o

- Note cards to read words: pie, ice, kite, bike, line, rise, dime, wipe, slide, thrive, bride, bake, shave, block

- Decodable text: Nate's Bike Ride

- Assessment worksheet: http://free-phonics-worksheets.com/html/phonics_worksheet_v1-38.html#

- Pencils and primary paper



1. Say: In order to become successful readers, we must learn how to recognize correct spellings of words and how to pronounce these words and the sounds in words. Previously, we learned that the short i says /i/, like in the words itch, pin, and him. However, today we are going to learn about the long I and the silent e signal that is used to make I say its name, /I/. Every time I say /I/, I think of a pirate saying, "I, I captain" to the captain on his ship (show image here).

2. Say: Before we can learn how to properly spell words, we need to learn how to detect the sounds in words. When I listen for /I/ in words, I hear i say its name /I/ and I feel my mouth lengthen and my throat open wide. Watch me say this word: mice. See? I felt my mouth get longer and my throat opened up really wide! Now I am going to try mouse. That time, my mouth was not lengthened, and my throat did not open up as wide; therefore, I know I did not hear /I/ in that word. Now it's your turn. If you hear /I/ in the following words, say "I, I, Captain!" If you don't hear /I/, say "No way, José!" Ready? Go: four, five, ride, road, knife, fork, time, clock, slice, and piece.

3. Say: Now let's look at the spelling of /I/ that we will learn today. We can spell words with /I/ with the letter i and a silent e at the end of the word that tells me that we need to say I's name. (Write i_e on the board for all students to see). The blank right here means that there is a consonant after the i and the e at the end is silent, which lets me know that i says /I/. So what if I want to spell spice? "I want to add some spice to my soup." In this sentence, the word spice means seasoning or flavor. To spell spice, I need to know how many phonemes (the individual sounds) are on the word. To do this, I need to stretch out the sounds in the word and count them: /s/ /p/ /I/ /s/. I need four boxes, because I heard four individual sounds in the word. I heard /I/ right before /s/, so I will put the i in the third box. The silent e will be placed outside of the boxes because it does not have an individual sound in this word. I know the first letter in the word is s, so we will put the letter s in the first box. Let's stretch out the word again to figure out our remaining letters. /s/ /p/ /I/ /s/. I think I heard /p/ right after /s/, so I will put a p in the second box. Now the remaining fourth box is empty. I hear /s/ right after /I/, but in this case c = /s/, so I will put a c in the fourth box. Now we have spelt spice correctly. (Point to the letters in boxes when stretching out the word).

4. Say: Now it's your turn to spell some words on your own in our letterboxes. We will start out easy by spelling pie by only using two boxes because I only hear 2 phonemes in this word. Pie is something we eat as a dessert. Yumm! "My grandma made delicious apple pie for Thanksgiving dinner." What should go in the first letterbox? (Respond to child's answer and provide assistance if needed). What will go in the second box? What about the silent e? Did you remember that very important letter in this word? I will check your progress on the spelling of this word and ice as I walk around the room. (Monitor each student's progress). For our next words, you will need three letterboxes. Be sure to listen for the beginning sound that goes in the first box. Then we need to listen to where to put our /I/. And don't forget about our tricky, silent e placed at the end of the word, but outside of the letterboxes. Here are your words used with three letterboxes: kite, bike, line, rise, dime, wipe. Model how to spell the first word, kite. Stretch out the phonemes /k/ /I/ /t/. Show students k-i-t-e on the board. Allow the students to spell the remaining words independently while monitoring their progress. Have volunteers spell the words with each new word. Let's move on to four phoneme words: slide, thrive, bride. Remember to stretch out every sound in each word and don't forget about our silent e at the end of the words.

5. Say: Now that you have learned how to spell our words, you are ready to read them. I will model how to read the tough word written on the board: stripe. By observing the e at the end of the word, I know that our vowel in the word, i, will say its name. Next, I will use my cover-up critter to get the first part of the word. (Uncover and blend sequentially before the vowel, and then blend with the vowel). /s/ /t/= /st/ + /r/ = /str/. Now I will need to add my vowel to my beginning sound, /I/ = /strI/. Now all I need is the end of the word, /p/ = /strip/. Stripe, like the stripes on a zebra. Now it is your turn. (Students will read each word aloud on each note card. Give each student a turn to read at least one word).

6. Say: Wow! I am so impressed with you progress on writing and reading words with our /I/ sound. Now it is time to put your practice to the test be reading a fun book, called, Nate's Bike Ride. This story is about Nate, who has been visiting Tim and Jan but lately, he is not much fun. Can Tim and Jan come up with a plan to get their friend away from the television? We will have to read and find out. Today, you are going to be reading with an assigned partner to find out what happens at the end of this book. (Pair students up with each other. They will take turns reading one page each, alternating between pages. The teacher will walk around the room, monitoring the students' progress. After the students have read the book, the whole class will reconvene and read the story as a class, aloud together, stopping in between pages in order to discuss the plot and any questions students have).

7. Say: Well that story was fun! What was your favorite part? How did they get Nate to play? Right! They tricked him! How sneaky of them! Before we end this incredible lesson, I want to see if you can solve problems by reading. On this worksheet we need to separate Mike's pictures from Mick's pictures. First, we will all say each picture out loud. Mike drew pictures with long I like in his name: Mike. We will color these pictures. Mick drew pictures with short i like in his name: Mick. We will circle these pictures. (The teacher should evaluate students' progress by their progress on these worksheets).



Assessment worksheet: http://free-phonics-worksheets.com/images/phonics_worksheet_v1-38.pdf

Murray, G. (2007) Nate's Bike Ride. Reading Genie: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html


Wood, Constance, I…I…Captain!: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/doorways/woodcbr.htm

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