Beginning Reading

“Aye, Aye Mate”

A Beginning Reading Lesson

By: Lauren Carter 




Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence i_e= /I/. 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_e. They will learn a meaningful representation (Cover up one eye and say “Aye, Aye Mate!”), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence i_e= /I/.


Materials: Graphic image of a pirate; cover-up critter; whiteboard for modeling; letter manipulatives: s, t, r, i, p, e, c, b, l, k, w; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: ice, like, kite, sick, swipe ; decodable text: The Nice Mice; assessment worksheet: Long Vowel i



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 i, like sip, and today we are going to be learning about long I, and the silent e signal that makes I says its name /I/. When I say /I/, I think of a pirate saying, “Aye, Aye Mate!” and with one eye covered up [show graphic].

2.      Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /I/; we need to listen for it in some words. When I listen for /I/ in words, I hear i say its name /I/. When I say /I/, your mouth opens wide, and the tongue is slightly lowered. There is a long /I/ in hike. Next I will look for it in rack.  Hmmm, I didn’t hear /I/ say its name and my mouth didn’t open wide like it should when I say /I/. Now you try. If you hear /I/ say, “Aye, Aye Mate”. If you don’t hear /I/ say, “That’s not it.” Is it in bike, sick, run, ivy, or hide? You will hear long I in more than one.  

3.      Say: Now let’s look at the spelling of /I/ that we’ll learn today. One way to spell /I/ is with the letter i and signal e at the end of the word to tell me to say I’s name. [write i_e on the board.] This blank line here means there is a consonant after i, and at the end of the word there is a little silent e signal. What if I want to spell the word stripe? “I saw a zebra with lots of stripes.” To spell stripe 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//I//p/. I need 5 boxes. I hear that /I/ just before the /p/ so I’m going to put an i 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//I//p/. I think I heard /t/ so I’ll put a t right after the s. One more before the /I/, hmmm…/s//t//r//I//p/, I think I heard growling /r/ so I need an r. I have one empty box now. [point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /s//t//r//I//p/.] The missing one is /p/= p.

4.      Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start out easy with two boxes for ice. Ice is frozen water. “When I pour a glass of water, I like to put ice in it to make it cold.” 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 outside the boxes? I’ll check your spelling while I walk around the room. [Observer progress.] You’ll need three letterboxes for the next word. Listen for the beginning sound that goes in the first box. Then listen for /I/ and don’t forget to put the signal e at the end, outside the boxes. Here’s the word: like, I like to play with my friends; like. [Allow children to spell words.] Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: l-i-k-e and see if you’ve spelled it the same way. Try another with three boxes: kite, when it’s nice outside I like to fly my kite. [Have volunteer spell it in the letterbox on the front board for children to check their work. Repeat this step for each new word.] Next word. Listen to see if this word has /I/ before you spell it: sick; I don’t like when I get sick, because I don’t feel well. Do you need a silent e? Why not? Right, because we don’t hear i say its name. We spell it with our short vowel i. [volunteer spells it on the front board.] Did you remember to spell /k/ with a ck? Now let’s try 4 phonemes: swipe, like I will swipe my card to get into the door

5.      Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you’ve spelled, but first I’ll show you how I would read a tough word. [Display poster with swipe on the top and model reading the word.] First I see there’s a silent e on the end; that’s my signal that the vowel will say its name. There’s the vowel i. It must say /I/. I’m going to use a cover-up to get the first part. [uncover and blend sequentially before the vowel, then blend with the vowel.] /s//w/= /sw/. Now I’m going to blend that with /I/= /swI/. Now all I need is the end, /p/ = /swIp]/ Swipe, that’s it. Now it’s your turn, everyone together. [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 and reading words with our new spelling for /I/: i_e. Now we are going to read a book called The Nice Mice. This is a story of two mice, Mike and Spike who are very nice. Mike and Spike want to take a trip to see some nice sites. Where do you think that Mike and Spike go to see some nice sites? Let’s pair up and take turns reading The Nice Mice to find out where they go. [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 The Nice Mice aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]

7.      Say: That was a fun story. Where did Mike and Spike go? Right, they went on a BIKE ride for 9 miles each day. Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /I/= i_e, I want to see how you can figure out certain words. On this worksheet, we have some letters missing. Your job is to look at the picture that corresponds to the word, and decide which letters fit best to make sense of the i_e words. Reread your answers to see if they make sense. I will assess them further by asking them to read a list of words with the long I sound. I will use this to determine if the students need extra help or if they are good to continue on to the next correspondence.


Assessment worksheet:

“The Nice Mice”-

Ana Eagerton’s “Aye, Aye Captain!”-

Click here to return to Partnerships Index