Beginning Reading Design

Aye, Matey!

A Beginning Reading Lesson

By: Jessica Clark

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 worlds containing the spelling i_e = /I/. They will learn a meaningful representation (pirate greet “Aye Matey!”), 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 pirate with sword in the air; 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: i, e, p, r, c, b, d, t, s, k, l, v, list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: price, bride, tribe, tick, strike, stripe; decodable text: Di and the Mice 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 i, like lid, and today we are going to learn about long I and the silent e signal that is used to make I say its name, /I/. When I say /I/ I think of a mean little pirate waving his sword saying, “Aye, Matey!” (show graphic image).

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/ and my mouth opens a little more than it would if I was saying short vowel /i/. I’ll show you first: hike. I heard i say its name and I felt my mouth open a little wider. There is a long I in hike. Now I’m going to see if it’s in pick. Hmm, I didn’t hear i say its name and my mouth didn’t open a little wider than it did with the other letters. Now you try. If you hear /I/ say, “Aye Matey.” If you don’t hear /I/ say, “That’s not it.” Is it in Lips, sight, pile, stick, shoe.  [Have children wave their hand in the air like a sword when they hear long vowel /I/.

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 a 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 smile? “I smile whenever Auburn scores a touchdown.” Smile means happy in this sentence. To spell smile in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /s//m/ /I//l/. I need 4 boxes. I heard that /I// just before the /l/, so I’m going to put an i in the 3rd box and put the silent e outside the last box. The word starts with /s/, that’s easy; I need an s. Now I’m not sure what else I hear, so I’m going to say it really slowly, /s//m/ /I//l/. . I think I heard /m/ so I’ll put a m right after the s.

4.      Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start out with 4 boxes for the word price. Price is how much something cost. “The price of that candy is fifty cents.” What should go in the first box? [Respond to children’s answers]. What goes in the second box?  What goes in the third 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 to keep 4 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 silent e at the end, outside the boxes. Here’s the word: bride, “at a wedding the one in the white dress is the bride; bride. [Allow children to spell words.] Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: b-r-i-d-e and see if you’ve spelled it the same way. Try another with 4 boxes: tribe; There is a Cherokee Indian tribe. [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/ in it before you spell it: ticks; the clock ticks at every second. Did 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 5 phonemes: strike; on the third strike you are out One more then we’re done with spelling, and this time you need five boxes again: stripe; If the puppy has one black stripe down his back.

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 smile 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//m/ = /sm/ Now I’m going to blend that with /I/ = /smI/. Now all I need is the end, /l/ = /smIl/. Smile; 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 Di and the Mice. Booktalk: This is a book about a girl named Di. She went for a bike ride and then stopped to eat. While she was eating she started to see something white in the bush beside her. Let's read and find out what she sees, and what happens when she finds out! Let’s pair up and take turns reading Di and the Mice.  [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 Di and the Mice aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]

7.     Say: That was a fun story. BOOKTALK QUESTIONS: What was the white thing that Di saw in the bush? Right, mice. What did Di think about the mice? Right. She liked them! Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /I/ = i_e, I want to see if you can recognize words with long vowel /I/. Your job is to read the passage and then circle the words that use a i_e. Then I want you to circle the picture of the word that was used in the passage. First read the entire passage. Then read it again and circle the words that use i_e. (collect worksheets and evaluate child’s progress).


Catie Dennis, Aye, Aye Captain!

Decodable text: Cushman, Sheila. Kornblum, Rona. Di and the Mice. Carson, CA. Educational Insights. 1990. Print. 

Assessment worksheet:

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