Smelling Icky i’s

A Beginning Reading Lesson

By: Jenny Rodriguez

Rationale: Lesson is targeted at an appropriate literacy goal for students at this stage of literacy development. This lesson teaches children about short vowel correspondence. 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. They will learn a meaningful representation (seeing something icky) 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/.


Materials: Graphic image of an icky shoe, poster of the letter i, cover-up critter, Elkonin boxes for modeling, expo markers, whiteboard, and individual Elkonin letterboxes for each student; letter manipulatives for

each child and magnetic i, t, n, f, x, p, s, r, l, d, n, k, c list of spelling words on the whiteboard to read: in, tin, fix, pit, spit, trip, slid, drink, split, script, mip (pseudoword)

decodable text Tin the Fix it Man , and assessment worksheet.



1.   Say: Yesterday we went over the short vowel letter e=/e/ as in the number ten. Today we are going to learn a new short vowel i. This short vowel i sounds like someone being disgusted by a stinky shoe. I brought in this picture of a stinky shoe to remind us of the letter i. When you smell a stinky shoe you sometimes make the noise /i/. This /i/ is the short vowel i. When I say /i/ I lightly pinch my noise to remind me that /i/ sound is like smelling a stinky shoe. Can you all do that /i/ (pinching noise).  Let’s look at the spelling of i, (write it up on the white board). The short vowel i has one letter which is the lower case letter i. Here is a picture of the lower case i. You draw a line from the bottom to the dotted line and then put a dot floating right above your line.

2.   Say: Before we start learning about /i/ we need to listen to it. The short vowel /i/ is made when we open our mouth to show our top teeth, sort of like a half smile and use our throat to form the sound /i/. Model: I am going to show you how I find /i/ and then we are going to try it as a group. I am going to find /i/ in split. /s/ /p/ /l/ /i/ /t/ I definitely felt my mouth making my half smile right before the /t/. Did it sound like our short vowel /i/. Yes I think it did because that is the noise I make with my stinky shoe, /i/. Now let’s try altogether, I am going to say some words if you hear the icky /i/ I want you to pinch your nose. If you don’t hear the icky /i/ than I want you to put your hands on your knees. “sit, sid, pet, thin, find, went, crib”.

3.   Spelling: Say: What if I want to spell out the word crib? “The baby slept in his crib.” The word crib means a bed for a baby. Crib, I am going to use my letterbox to sound this out to figure out the correct spelling of the word crib. First, I need to figure out how many phonemes are in the word crib so I know how many boxes I need—/c/ /r/ /i/ /b/ 4 letterboxes. I heard my icky /i/ right before my /b/=b so I am going to put my i in the third box and my b in the last box. So I need two more phonemes. /c/ sound like c and /r/ that’s a little difficult it sounds like a growling r. So I have c r i b. /c/ /r/ /i/ /b/ crib. That is how I use my letter box.

Now I am going to show you how I read words with /i/. Like as in the word script. I hear that /i/ in the middle so I am going start with that /i/.  /i/ is my vowel, now let's sound out from the beginning /s//k//r/ scr-i is scri, then add the ending scrip, script /i/ p is the letter p and it  sounds like popcorn popping /p/--/i//p/ now that letter after p is t, t is /t/ Script.

4.   Now I want you guys to work on letterboxes. We are going to start with 2 boxes with the word in. In means to be surrounded by something. A sentence with the word in is, “The class walked in the room.” Did you hear that icky i? Is that i in the first box or second? (observe understanding and progress) Now we are going to show three boxes. Our next word is going to be tin, “The man was made out of tin”; tin. [Allow children to spell out the remaining words, giving sentences for each of them, fix, pit, spit, split.]

5.   Now I am going to let you read the words you’ve spelled. [Show the words fix, pit, spit, trip split and the words I added are trip, slid, script, and mip (psuedoword).

          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 have all done a wonderful job with our i=/i/ today. Now we are going to read a book called Tin Man Fix-it. Tin the fix it man is about a robot that fixes things. One day while he was helping someone fix something a boy named Sid ran into him. You will have to read to find out what happens next. Let’s pair up and take turns reading Tin Man Fix-it to find out what happens to Tim. [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 Tin Man Fix-it chorally, stopping between page turns to discuss the story.]

          -Does Tim get hurt?

          -What was Tim fixing?

          -Do they fix Tim?

          -What happens at the end of the story?

          -Can anyone tell me a word with our phoneme /i/?


7.     Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /i/=i, I want to see how you can solve a reading problem. Our worksheet today has fill in the blanks. Your job is to look in the box of word choices, and decide which i  word fits best to make this sentence make sense (worksheet 1 3174). Remember to read our icky i to try and find which one fits best. Reread your answers to see if they make sense. (Formulative assessment and after completion check worksheet for comprehension)


Reference: Websites

"Royalty-Free (RF) Smell Clipart & Illustrations #1." Royalty-Free (RF) Smell Clipart, Illustrations, Vector Graphics #1.. <>.

"Short I Sound Packet." Short I Sound Packet.   <>.

Books: “Tin Man Fix it” Phonics Reader- short vowel written by Sheila Cushman

Hausfeld, Alle "Eww! It's Sticky Icky"


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