What Does the Doctor say?


Beginning to Read

Anne Barron


Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the short vowel correspondence o = /o/. 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 o. They will learn a meaningful representation (patient the at doctor saying ahh), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence o = /o/.



Graphic image of patient in doctor’s chair

Cover-up critter

Whiteboard or smartboard Elkonin boxes for modeling

Individual Elkonin boxes for each student;

Letter manipulatives for each child 

P, o, t, s, n, f, f, m, b, d, e, h, c, l, c, k,

Magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher:

p, o, t, a, m, s

List of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read:

pot, stop, on, off, mop, bed, hot, stop, clock, sock, plot

Decodable text: A Hot Spot

Assessment worksheet.



1. Say: In order to become skilled readers we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. We have already been learning so many short vowel words. Last time we learned short i like in sit, and today we are going to learn about short o. When I say /o/ I think of a patient at a doctor’s office saying “ahhh” to get his throat examined [show graphic image]. Now lets look at the spelling of /o/ that we’ll learn today. It looks like a perfect circle, which sits between the base line and the fence line on our paper.


2. Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /o/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I listen for /o/ in words, I hear the same sound I would make if a doctor was looking down my throat. [Make vocal gesture for /o/.] I’ll show you first: pot. I felt my mouth open wide [make mouth open wide]. There is a short o in pot. Now I’m going to see if it’s in school. Hmm, I didn’t hear ahhh and my mouth didn’t open up wide. Now you try. If you hear /o/ say, I am not well, Doctor. Ahhh. If you don’t hear /o/ cover your mouth with your hand like you are being quiet.



Is it in rock, dot, pat, mop, block, rot, snow? [Have children open their mouths wide to say /o/ when they hear it. If they do not hear it have them cover their mouths.]



3. What if I want to spell the word top? I took the top off the cup.” To spell top in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /t//o//p/. I need 3 boxes. I heard that /o/ just before the /p/ so I’m going to put an o in the 2nd box. The word starts with /t/, that’s easy; I need a t.  I have one empty box now. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /t//o//p/.] The missing one is /p/. Now I’ll show you how I would read it without the boxes. [Display poster with top on it and model reading the word.]  Here is how I would know how to read the word without the letter boxes, /t/. /o/  /to-p/. Oh, top, like “I like that top.”



4. Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. Youll start out working with words with three phonemes, such as pot, I cooked the soup in a pot.” What should go in the first box? [Respond to childrens answers]. What goes in the second box? And the third? I’ll check your spelling while I walk around the room. [Observe progress.] Youll need four letterboxes for the next word. Listen for the beginning sound to spell in the first box. Then listen for /o/.  Here’s the word: stop,I stop my bike when I come to road;” stop. [Allow children to spell remaining words:] 2- [on, off] 3-[mop, bed, hot] 4- [stop, clock, sock, plot.]


5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words youve spelled. [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: Youve done a great job and reading words with our new spelling for /o/: o. Now we are going to read a book called A Hot Spot.  This is the story of a boy named Tim who has accidentally spilled his mom’s drink on a hot day. He has to get a job to get her more to drink. Now let’s get in our pairs and read A Hot Spot to find out if he and his family are able to cool down. [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 A Hot Spot aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]



7. Say: Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /o/ using the letter o, I want to see how you can solve a reading problem. On this worksheet, we have two words missing. Your job is to look at the pictures and use the given letters to spell the short o words.  Reread your answers to see if they make sense. [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.]



Deason, Morgan Grace: Open up wide



Murray, G. (2004) A Hot Spot. Reading Genie: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html


Build A Word KidZone! Preschool and Kindergarten Assessment worksheets:



Murray, G: Oh, I didn’t know! http://www.auburn.edu/~murrag1/BRMurrayG.htm


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