Oh, I didn't know!


A Beginning Reading Lesson

By Geri Murray



Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence o_e = /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_e. They will learn a meaningful representation (confused boy saying Oh?), spell and read words containing this spelling in a "Letterbox Lesson," and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence o_e = /O/.


Materials: Graphic image of confused man; cover-up critter; whiteboard or smartboard; Elkonin boxes for modeling and individual Elkonin boxes for each student; letter manipulatives for each child and magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher: e, c, d, k, n, o, p, r, s, t; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: ode, nose, rope, rock, stone, stroke; decodable text: Jake's Joke, and assessment worksheet.



1. Say: 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, like top, and today we are going to learn about long O and the silent e signal that is used to make O say its name, /O/. When I say /O/ I think of a funny little confused boy saying "Oh, I didn't know!" [show graphic image]. Now let's look at the spelling of /O/ that we'll learn today. One way to spell /O/ is with the letter o and a signal e at the end of the word to tell me to say O's name. [Write o_e on the board.]  This blank line here means there is a consonant after o, and at the end of the word there is a little silent e signal.


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 o say its name /O/ and my lips make a little o shape like this. [Make vocal gesture for /O/.] I'll show you first: home. I heard o say its name and I felt my lips make a little o [make a circle motion around pursed lips]. There is a long O in home. Now I'm going to see if it's in school. Hmm, I didn't hear o say its name and my lips didn't make that round little o. Now you try. If you hear /O/ say, "Oh, I didn't know." If you don't hear /O/ say, "That's not it." Is it in snow, rain, pants, coat, nose, lips? [Have children make a circle motion around their pursed lips when they feel /O/ say its name.]


3. What if I want to spell the word stroke? "If I stroke the puppy gently, he'll stop fussing." Stroke means pet in this sentence. To spell stroke in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /s//t//r//O//k/. I need 5 boxes. I heard that /O/ just before the /k/ so I'm going to put an o in the 4th box and the silent e signal outside the last box. The word starts with /s/, that's easy; I need an s. Now it gets a little tricky so I'm going to say it slowly, /s//t//r//O//k/. I think I heard /t/ so I'll put a t right after the s. One more before the /O/, hmm . . .  /s//t//r//O//k/, I think I heard growling /r/.  I have one empty box now. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /s//t//r//O//k/.] The missing one is /k/.


Now I'll show you how I would read a tough word. [Display poster with spoke on the top and model reading the word.]  I'm going to start with the o_e; that part says /O/. I'm going to blend the beginning sounds with /O/: s-p-o_e, /spO/. Finally, I'll blend the chunk together with the last sound, /spO-k/. Spoke, like "The teacher spoke to my mom after school."


4. Say: Now I'm going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You'll start out easy with two boxes for ode. An ode is a kind of poem or song, "Mrs. Smith read us a long ode that made us sleepy." What should go in the first box? [Respond to children's answers]. What goes in the second box? What about silent e, did you remember to put it outside the boxes? I'll check your spelling while I walk around the room. [Observe progress.] You'll need three letterboxes for the next word. Listen for the beginning sound to spell in the first box. Then listen for /O/ and don't forget to put the signal silent e at the end, outside the boxes.  Here's the word: nose, I have a stuffy nose today; nose. [Allow children to spell remaining words: rope, rock, spoke, stone, and stroke.] 


5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you've 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: You've done a great job reading words with our new spelling for /O/: o_e. Now we are going to read a book called Jake's Joke. This is a story of a boy named Nate who has a pet snake named Jake. Jake can disappear easily and that's just what he does, right when it's time to rush to the airport to fly back home. Let's pair up and take turns reading Jake's Joke to find out what the joke is. [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 Jake's Joke aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]


7. Say: Before we finish with the lesson about one way to spell /O/, o_e, I want to see how you can solve a reading problem. On this worksheet, we have some words missing. Your job is to look in the box of word choices, and decide which o_e  word  fits best to make sense of this very short story. First try reading all the words in the box, then choose the word that fits best in the space. Reread your answers to see if they make sense. [While children begin working on filling in the cloze passage and reading it to see if their choices make sense, call each child forward individually to read a section of the text. Assess for accuracy, note miscues, and check for comprehension of text. Eg. Why do you think Nate thought he had his flute in his back pack when he left for school? Did you figure out who Jake is, and did he really tell a joke? Collect worksheets to evaluate comprehension progress. It is important that the worksheet assesses reading a passage rather than merely reading individual words.]



Noie Yancey, Oh, Oh, My Knee Hurts: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invitations/yanceybr.htm

Murray, G. (2004) Jake's Joke. Reading Genie: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html

Assessment worksheet: http://www.free-phonics-worksheets.com/html/phonics_worksheet_v1-39.html

Murray, B. & Lesniak. (1999). The letterbox lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650

Abbreviated article on the Reading Genie: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/letbox.html


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