“BOO! Happy Halloween!” Said the Ghost

A Beginning Reading Lesson

by Elizabeth Smith

celebrations,ghosts,Halloween,jack-o'-lanterns,pumpkins,special occasions

Rationale: The relationship between graphemes and phonemes is an important thing for students to understand in order to be a fluent reader. Students should also be taught the correspondence between letters and sounds in both spoken and written words. This lesson will teach children to recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling OO. Students will learn a meaningful representation (A ghost saying Boo!), students will spell and read words containing this spelling through a letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence oo = /OO/.


Materials: A graphic image of a ghost saying “Boo!”, tongue tickler: “Oodles of oolong oozed from the oomiak.”, Elkonin letterboxes, letter manipulatives for the Elkonin boxes: b,c,d,e,f,l,m,n,o,o,p,r,s,u,w; cover up critter, flash cards of the spelling words: boo, moo, cool, food, mouse, moon, some, wool, spoon, broom; decodable text Yoo Hoo Moon. Mary Blocksma. Ills. Patience Brewster. Pub: Bantam Books. 1992., and the assessment worksheet.



1. “In order to become expert readers we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. We have already learned to read short vowel words with o=/o/, like flop, and today we are going to learn about what a word would sound like if we add another o to the o we already have. When we put two oo’s together it sounds like /OO/. When I say /OO/ I think of a funny little ghost saying “Boo!” [show graphic image]. Now let’s look at the spelling of /OO/ that we’ll learn today. We spell /OO/ is with the letters oo.”

2. Now we are going to look at a poster I have made with our tongue tickler on it. “I am going to read our tongue tickler out loud first, when you hear the /OO/ sound make your hands look like a ghosts when they pop out and scare someone. Oodles of oolong oozed from the oomiak. I know that last word looks a little funny lets talk about it! An oomiak is an Eskimo boat, it looks a little like a canoe! Okay now you try read the tongue tickler with me! Remember to make your hands look like a ghosts would when they pop out to scare you when you hear /OO/! Oodles of oolong oozed from the oomiak. Very good! I saw lots and lots of scary ghosts out there!

3. “Let’s see if we can hear when the /OO/ sound is used in a word. When we say the sound /OO/ our mouth makes the shape of the ghosts when they say “Boooooo!” Can you feel your mouth when you say “Boo!”? Now watch my mouth and listen closely to see if you can hear which words say /OO/. Do you hear /OO/ in book or bank? Do you hear /OO/ in cool or crown? Do you hear /OO/ in test or tool?


4. Now as a class we are going to work on the letter box lesson: “Class please get out your letter boxes and the letter tiles we need: b,c,d,e,f,l,m,n,o,o,p,r,s,u,w. We are going to practice spelling some words. Not all of these words are going to say /OO/ like a ghost, so we need to make sure we are paying attention.” Practice an example on how to use letterboxes for the students on the SMARTboard. “The word I am going to be spelling needs 3 letterboxes. I will show you how to spell ‘moon’. The moon is in the sky at night. The first sound I hear when I say moon is /m/. So I know that ‘m’ will go in the first box. The next sound I hear when I say m-oo-n is /OO/. From what we talked about earlier I know that the sound /OO/ is made by two oo’s so in my next box I will put ‘oo’. M-oo-n, /n/ is the last sound I hear when I say moon. I know that in my last box I will put a ‘n’. Now it’s your turn; we are going to start with two letter boxes!” Each new word the number of letterboxes needed will be given to the students. A sentence that shows the context of the word will also be given. We will be spelling these words: 2- boo, moo; 3-cool, food, mouse, moon, wool; 4- spoon, broom. While the students are spelling the words at their desk, I will be walking around to monitor their work. If I notice a word is misspelled I will read the word they have spelled to see if they can see the problem with their spelling. If they cannot see the error in their spelling I will correct it for them. After every student is done with the word I will model how to do the correct spelling in the letterboxes and we will move on to the next word.


5. After we have finished spelling the words in the letterboxes we will practice reading all of our words. I will hold up flash cards for the students to read from. Each student will read a word and once every student has read at least one word we will read all the words together as a class. “We are going to practice reading the words we just spelled! What does this word say?” The words boo, moo, cool, food, mouse, moon, some, wool, spoon, and broom will be shown.


6. “Great job reading our spelling words for the sound /OO/ class! Now we are going to read a book called Yoo Hoo Moon by Mary Blocksma. This book is about a bear who has a problem. This bear cannot go to bed if he cannot see the moon in the sky. Bear waits all night long for the moon but it never shows up. What happened to the moon? What do you think bear will do? Is the moon gone forever? Let’s read the book to find out!”


7. “Okay class you have done such a great job learning how to say and read the /OO/ sound! I want to see if you can figure out these problems! On this worksheet something is missing. You can see pictures but no words! At the bottom of the page there is a list of letters and your job is to make the words that go with the pictures. Make sure to check that your answers make sense before you turn it in.” After the worksheets have been collected you can evaluate each individual students progress in this lesson.



Yoo Hoo Moon. Mary Blocksma. Ills. Patience Brewster. Pub: Bantam Books. 1992.

Constructing Beginning Reading Lesson Design, Murray

Strickland, Jessica “Boo!” Says the Ghost Reading Genie: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/adventures/stricklandbr.htm

Assessment worksheet: http://www.free-phonics-worksheets.com/html/phonics_worksheet_v2-16.html

Return to Epiphanies: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/epiphanies.html