Ah, Ah, Open Up!


Beginning Literacy Design

MaeLee Mathis

Rationale: Children need explicit instruction in order to learn to recognize phonemes in speech and print. Children need to know the pronunciation of words as well. This means students need to learn the sounds of letters and to recognize the letters. This lesson is to teach the following correspondence: o=/o/. Students will learn a meaningful representation of the sound /o/ (Ah, Ah, Open Up!) as well as practice spelling and reading this correspondence through a letterbox lesson. Also, students will read a decodable text that focuses on o=/o/.


Materials: Picture of a doctor and patient completing the motion of "Ah, Ah, Open Up"; cover-up critters (popsicle sticks with two eyes on the end); whiteboard; letterboxes (Also known as Elkonin boxes) drawn on whiteboard for modeling; letterboxes for each student; magnetic letters for modeling & letter tiles/manipulatives for each student: a, b, c, e, f, g, h, m, n, o, p, r, s, t; list of spelling words on poster: stomp, pot, on, pen, hop, got, rob, frog, chop, spot, chant, strong; tongue tickler on whiteboard: Oliver had an operation in October, and Oscar gave him an octopus.; decodable text: Doc in the Fog by: Shelia Cushman; assessment worksheet



1. Say: Today we are going to learn about the letter o so we can recognize the letter in speech and to better read words with the letter o. Short o says /ah/ (/o/). When I hear the /o/ sound, I think of being at the doctor's office and having to open my mouth to say /ah/. Can you say /ah/ like you are at the doctor? Say: "Ah, Ah, Open Up!" Good job! Let's say that phrases a few more times and notice the shape of your mouth. Your mouth is shaped like an o and your lips should not be touching.

2.  Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /o/ we are going to listen for it in some words. Our tongue tickler is: Oliver had an operation in October, and Oscar gave him an octopus. When I listen for /o/ in words, I hear o say /o/, and my mouth is opened up like being at the doctor. [Make voice gesture for /o/.] Let me show you first: stop. I heard /o/ and felt my mouth open up wide. [Point at mouth open up.] There is a short o in stop. Now let's see if it's in the word home. I didn't hear the /o/ sound like at the doctor and I didn't feel my mouth open wide. Now you try some words. If you hear /o/ say "Ah, Ah Open Up." If you don't hear it give me a thumbs down. [Say words bump, pot, bet, plot, block, pig.]

3. Say: That is the sound it makes, now we're going to look at the spelling. You spell /o/ with the letter o. [Write o on the board.] The only letter needed to make the sound is the letter o. What if I want to spell the word flock? "The birds flock together to the south." Flock means a group of the same number of animals are together to eat or herded together. To spell "flock" in letterboxes, I need to stretch out the word to know how many phonemes are in it. /f//l//o//ck/. I need 4 boxes. I heard that /o/ was just before the /ck/ so I'm going to put o in the third box. The word starts with a b, so I'll put that in the first box. Here is the tricky part. Let's say it slow. /f//l//o//ck/. I think I heard /l/ so I'll put that after the letter f. All that's left is the /ck/ at the end. Hmm, what two letters at the end of words make the /ck/ sound? Oh that's right, ck, so I'll put that in the last box. Do you have any questions about what I just did for all of you?

4. Say: Now that we've learned the spelling, you're going to spell some words in letterboxes. Start out with three letterboxes for the word hot. "I do not like hot weather." What should go in the first letterbox? [Students answer.] What about the second? I'll be checking as I walk around the room to see if you got the spelling right. Keep three letterboxes, you'll need them for the next word too. Listen for the beginning sound you'll put in the first box, and listen for the /o/ sound. The word is mop, "I used a mop last night on my kitchen floor." [Leave time for students to spell word.] Let's check and see what you got. Watch how I spell it on the board, m-o-p. Make sure you spelled it like I did. If you did not spell it the way I did, raise your hand for me to see what you did wrong. Next you'll need four letterboxes for the word clock, "I looked at the clock to learn how to tell time." [Leave time for spelling.] It is time to check our answers. [Let student volunteer to come up and spell it on the board.] Good job! Did everyone get the same answer or something different? Make sure that you put /ck/ in one box because they make one sound. Next word is frog, "The frog is green and sits on a lily pad." [Allow time for spelling.] It is time to check our answers. [Have volunteer come up.] Our next word is spot, "The dog has a spot over his right eye." [Allow time for spelling.] Let's check our work. [Volunteer comes up.] Good job, one letter in each box because this word all the phonemes are separate. For our last word, lets' try five phonemes. Get five boxes out. The word is stomp, "I like to stomp in rain puddles." It is time to check our last word. [Demonstrate up on board.] It starts with /s/ so that goes in the first box. Then, I heard /s//t/, t goes in the second box. Then there's our /o/ sound, it goes in the third box. So we've got /s//t//o/, then I hear /m//p/. I think /m/ goes in the fourth box and /p/ will go in the last box. Good job class!! Does anyone have any questions before we move on to the next activity?

5.   Say: Now we're going to read the words we just spelled, but first I'll show you how to read a hard one. [Display the word stomp on the board and model reading.] First, I see the o in the middle by itself. That must mean it makes the /o/ sound. Next, I'm going to put the beginning sounds with it, I see /s//t/, so that makes /st/. Then blend it with the o, /sto/. Now all that's left is the end. I hear /m//p/. Blend that to make /mp/, then add the beginning /stomp/; stomp. Now it's your turn to try. [Students read words together, and then have individual students read some of the words.]

6.  Say: We have spelled and read words with the /o/ sound, now we are going to read a book called Doc in the Fog by Shelia Cushman. Give a booktalk: This story is about a wizard who keeps turning objects into different things using magic. One of the objects uses some magic on the wizard. What will happen to the wizard? You will have to read to find out.

Get with a person sitting next to you and take turns reading Doc in the Fog to see what happens to the wizard. [The students will take turns reading every other page. The teacher should walk around the class to monitor progress and behavior. Once all the pairs are finished, reread the story as a class and stop before turning the page to discuss the story.]

7. Say: That was a silly story. What happened to the wizard? (Allow students to answer.) Correct, he disappeared. Now that we have learned that o=/o/, I what to see what you know.  You're going to find out which word goes with which picture and write them on the worksheet in the blank next to the picture. Remember to read all of the words first and then put them in the blank by the picture they match. If you finish, check your work to make sure it's correct.



Tarleton, Rebecca. (2012). Ah, Ah, Ah Open Wide http://auburn.edu/~rat0006/tarletonBR.htm

Assessment worksheet:


Decodable Text:

Cushman, Sheila. (1990). Decodable book: Doc in the Fog. Educational Insights. Carson, CA.

Transformation Index