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Ms. Harbarger's Beginning Reading Design

Ahhhhhh Said the Tired Girl

A Beginning Reader Design

By: Connally Harbarger

Rationale: This lesson is designed to teach the short vowel correspondence o = /o/.  In order to be a successful reader, it is a must for a child to learn the essential phonemes such as o = /o/ so they can recognize words, leading them to reading.  In this particular lesson, children will focus on learning how to recognize, read, and spell o = /o/.   The children will learn a memorable motion to help them understand and recognize this correspondence.  This memorable motion will be made by the child stretching their arms up and patting their mouth.  There will also be a letterbox lesson that will assist children in learning how to read and spell these words.  Children will also read a decodable book focusing on the o = /o/ correspondence in this lesson.



1.     Image of a yawning boy (to represent the yawn)

2.     Cards with words containing the o = /o/ correspondence and some without it (ball, dog, dock, stop, wet, log, nop (pseudoword)).

3.     Cover up critter

4.     Elkonin boxes for modeling and individual work

5.     Elmo Projector

6.     Letter manipulatives

7.     Copy of decodable text In the Big Top

8.     Assessment worksheet including words from the letterbox lesson.



1.     Say: Before we learn how to read we may look at words and see something that looks like a secret code.  The alphabet is actually like a secret code, and to become expert readers we must learn how to break this code!  So far we have learned about /a/ as in cat, /e/ as in let, and /i/ as in big.  Today we are going to learn a new sound.  We are going to learn short o.  When I think of short o /o/ I think of someone having a very big yawn and sighing “ahhhhh”.  [Show graphic image and demonstrate.]


2.     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 the yawning boy say /o/ and my mouth makes an o shape [Make vocal gesture for /o/.]  I want to see everyone make their best /o/ shape with their mouth!  Because we know that this is what /o/ sounds like and what shape our mouth makes when saying /o/, it will make hearing and recognizing /o/ in words easier.  I am going to say a word and you tell me if you hear the /o/ sound in it.  I will show you first.  For example, hot.  Hooooot.  Yes! I heard the sound /o/ and I felt my lips make an o shape [make a circle motion around lips].  There is a /o/ in hot!  Now, I am going to try with hope.  Hoooooope.  Hmmmm…I did not hear /o/ and my lips didn’t make that little o.  There is not a /o/ in hope.  Now, I am going say some words, and I want you to tell me which word you hear /o/ in.  If you hear /o/ I want you to act like you are yawning!  Do you hear /o/ in stop or cut? Plot or put? Hop or set? Ball or not?


3.     Say:  Let’s look at the cards we used earlier to see if we can learn something about their spelling from them.  What if I wanted to spell the word stop?  “We came to a stop.”  To spell stop, I need to know how many phonemes, or sounds, it has.  To do this, I need to stretch the word out and count what I hear: /s/t/o/p/.  How many sounds did you hear?  /s/ that’s 1, /t/ that’s 2, /o/, that’s 3, /p/, that's 4.  Good, there is 4 sounds in stop.  That means we need to use four boxes (put the boxes on the elmo to be projected onto the board).  I heard the /o/ in the middle, right before /p/, so I am going to go ahead and put it in the third box.  (Put the o in the second box on the elmo.)  Which letter do I need to use for the /s/ sound in stop?  Great!  We need to use a ‘s’, and we heard it at the beginning of the word, so we will put that in the first box.  (Put the s in the first box on the elmo.).  Which letter do I need to use for that last sound, /t/?  Wonderful! We need a ‘t,’ so we will put this letter in the second box.  (Put the t letter tile in the second box on the elmo). Finally, what is the last sound you hear? /p/.  Good!  You hear the /p/ sound.  We need to put a p in the last box.  Excellent, we have spelled stop. 


4.     Say:  Now, I am going to have you spell words in the letter boxes.  I am going to read you the word and you will put the correct sounds in each part of the letter box.  I will be walking around checking work and being sure that you are putting the correct sounds in the boxes as we do this.  Be sure you are listening for the /o/.  Don’t forget to listen for the yawning boy and feel for your mouth to make the o shape.  Our first word is dock, /d/o/c/k/.  (Make sure to give students time to get the letters and divide the phonemes into the letter boxes).  Everyone put your eyes on the board!  We are going to check your work.  (Divide ‘dock’ into the correct letter boxes).  Everyone’s box should look like mine because we know that /d/o/ck/ has 3 phonemes or sounds, /d/, /o/, /ck/.  /D/ goes in the first box, so I put a ‘d’ there.  I heard the /o/ sounds in the middle, so our short /o/ goes there.  Lastly we heard /ck/, so that whole sound goes in the last box as ‘ck’.  Here’s another one that you can try: stop. /s/t/o/p. (Give children time to get the letters and divide ‘stop’ into the correct letter boxes).  Which phoneme goes in the first box?  (Wait for student response).  Yes! We hear /s/ first, so ‘s’ goes in the first box.  Which sound/phoneme do you hear next?  That is correct, we hear /t/, so ‘t’ goes in the next box.  Everyone should be able to hear our yawning sounds next.  This sounds tells us that we should put an o in the next box.  And who can tell me what the last phoneme we hear is?  Great job, /p/ is the last sound in ‘stop’, so ‘p’ goes in our last box.  (Repeat this process with hat, log, wet, and nop.)


5.     Say:  Now I am going to let you read the words you have spelled.  Before you begin, I am going to show you how I would read one of these words.  (Show card with dock on the top and model reading the word.)  First, I would begin by using my cover up critter to cover all of the letters except the first.  I would begin by sounding out /d/ and moving my cover up critter to reveal the second letter.  I would sound out /o/.  And then move my cover up critter to reveal the entire word.  Now, I am going to blend all of my sounds together /d/o/ck/.  Dock.  This word is dock!  Now it is your turn, I will call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.



6.     Say:  Now you did such a wonderful job with your letterbox lesson we are going to move on to reading a book!  This book uses the /o/ sound.  I want you to look for it in all of the words we read.  This book is called In the Big Top, and it is about a family that grabs a lot of strange items and hops into a tiny little car.  What could they possibly be doing with this?  Let’s read and find out! Please get with your partners to read this story! (Children will pair up and take turns reading pages.  The teacher will walk around the room observing progress.)


7.     Say:  That was a great story!  Were you right about what they were going to do with all of the strange items the family gathered! Good, those were great predictions!  Now, before we finish up with our lesson, I want you to complete this worksheet.  On this worksheet, we have some words missing.  I need you to look in the box of words to pick from, and decide with short o word fits best to tell what the each picture is.  Start by reading all of the words in the box, and then choose the word that fits best.  [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress].



 Lamberth, Meredith, “An ‘ahhhhaaaa’ moment!” https://sites.google.com/site/mslamberthsreadingdesigns/beginning-reading-design

 Assessment Worksheet: http://www.funfonix.com/book1/ffonix_book1_3.gif

 In the Big Top Phonics Readers-Short Vowel-Short o

 Picture of boy yawning: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/phonlet.html


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