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Beginning Reading

Selfish Sam says I
A Beginning Reading Lesson
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 (selfish Sam says “I”), 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 Selfish Sam; cover-up critter; whiteboard app on iPad; letterbox app on iPad; list of the following spelling words on a poster: drive, bike, dine, tide, life, gripe, bride, and fripe; decodable text Kite Day at Pine Lake; assessment worksheet




1.       Say: For us to become good readers, we need to learn the code that tells us how to say words. We’ve already learned the short vowel i in words such as six and pig. Today, we are going to look at the letter i again, but we are going to learn about the long I and the silent or “tricky” e signal that makes the letter i say its name, /I/.

Whenever I say /I/, I always think I’m talking about myself! Or, I think of Selfish Sam who only thinks about himself. [Show the image of Sam.]

So now, we’re going to look at the spelling of /I/ that we’re learning today. We’re going to look at words that have the letter i with a signal e at the end. These words are going to make the letter i say its name. [Write i_e using the iPad whiteboard app.] This blank line here means there is a consonant letter after i, and at the end of the word there is the silent e signal.



Lesson reviews:

2.       Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /I/, we’re going to listen out for it in some words. Whenever I listen for /I/ in words, I hear i say its name /I/ and I move my mouth like this. [Model how to make a vocal gesture for /I/.]

First, we’re going to look in the word kite. I heard i say its name in that word, and I felt my mouth make the shape. There is a long I in kite. Let me say another word and see if I hear i say its name in that word.

I’ll say the word pin. Hmm, pin. I didn’t hear i say its name in pin. Why don’t you say it? [Let student say the word.] If you heard /I/ then say, “Selfish Sam says I!” If you didn’t hear /I/, then just say “Not in that word.” [Let student answer.]  That’s right! I didn’t hear /I/ in the word pin.

What about in these words: line, rip, win, got, fine, lake, five.



Model the new concept or strategy:

3.       What if I want to spell the word hike? “We went on a hike on a sunny day.” What does hike mean in this sentence? [Let student answer.] Hike means to go on a walk in this sentence. To spell hike in our letterbox app, we need to know how many phonemes are in this word. I’m going to stretch the word out and count the phonemes: /h//I//k/. So I need three boxes. Now I just heard that there was long /I/ before the /k/, so I am going to put the letter i in the second box, and I’m going to put the silent e signal outside of the last box. [Model this on the app.] The word starts with the letter h, so I know I’m going to put this letter in the first box. There’s only one letter left! So I know I’m going to put the letter k in the third box.

Now we’re going to read a hard word. [Show poster with drive on the top and model reading the word.] I’m going to start with the silent e signal and the long /I/. This is the i_e part, so I know that i is going to say its own name. I’m going to put the beginning letters with the long /I/: d-r-i_e, /drI/. Now I’m going to put this first part with the last part: /drI-v/. Now I see the word is drive, as if I were saying “I am going to drive to school today.”



Activity includes guided practice:

4.       Say: Now I want you to spell some words in the letterboxes. We’re going to start out with the word side. Like the side of your paper or a side door. How many letterboxes will we need? We need three! So where do we put the silent e? Do we put it inside or outside the last letterbox? [Let the student place an e outside the letterbox.] So we know that the i is going to go in the second letterbox, because we know about i_e and we know that a consonant is going to in between those letters. So now put the first letter in the word side in the first letterbox. Put the remaining consonant in the remaining letterbox.

Let’s listen to a new word. You’ll need four letterboxes for the next word. Let’s spell the word smile. “She gave her friend a big smile.” Be sure to listen for the /I/ and don’t forget about your silent e on the outside of the letterboxes. [Continue this pattern of spelling words in letter boxes with the following words: bike, dine, tide, life, gripe, bride.


5.       Say: I am going to let you read to me the words you have spelled. [Show the words side, smile, bike, dine, tide, life, gripe, bride and the pseudoword fripe. Have the students read the words in unison. Then call on individual students to read one word on the list until every student has read aloud.]



Reading whole texts

6.       Say: We’ve done a great job reading our new words with /I/ and i-e. We are going to read a book now called Kite Day at Pine Lake. This book is all about a beautiful day at a beautiful lake. Jeff is with all of his friends. They are all going to fly a kite for the day. Except for Bob. Bob doesn’t have a kite! So Jeff and his friends decide to cheer Bob up. Let’s get with our reading partners to read this story and find out what happens to Bob. [Students join with their reading partners and take turns reading alternate pages while teacher observes progress throughout the class. After each pair is finished reading, have the class read Kite Day at Pine Lake together. Stop every page or so to discuss the story.]




7.       Say: We’re almost done with our lesson on /I/ and i_e. But before we wrap up, I want to see how much we’ve learned today. We already knew quite a bit about the short i before today’s lesson. Well, I’m going to aps out a worksheet with pictures on it. I want you to say what the picture is out loud. If you hear i say its name, then you know that it’s a long /I/ word. Then I want you to write the word on the line given. [Collect worksheets when completed to assess individual student comprehension of the lesson.]




Sheila Cushman, Kite Day at Pine Lake. Carson, CA: Educational Insights, 1990. Print.

Assessment worksheet: http://www.free-phonics-worksheets.com/html/phonics_worksheet_v1-38.html

Murray, Bruce. The Reading Genie. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/. Web. 10 February 2014.