Beginning Reading

See with Clear Eyes with Long I

A Beginning Reading Lesson

By Ash Rogers

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 (Point to Eye Ball) 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/.


    • cover-up critter
    • whiteboard or smartboard
    • Letterboxes for modeling
    • individual letterboxes for each student
    • letter manipulatives for each child
    • magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher: b, c, d, e, i, k, m, n, p, r, s, t
    • list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: ice, pine, kite, lick, bride, strike
    • decodable text: The Bike Ride
    • 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 tip, 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 my eye [point towards your eye].

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 like I am getting ready to yawn. [Make vocal gesture for /I/.] I’ll show you first: bike. I heard i say its name I felt my mouth open, like I was about yawn. There is a long I in bike. Now I’m going to see if it’s in train. Hmm, I didn’t hear i say its name and my mouth didn’t open like I’m yawning. Now you try. If you hear /I/ say, “Ride a bike.” If you don’t hear /I/ say, “That’s not it.” Is it in nose, cup, strike, nice, run? [Have children point to their eye if they feel /I/ say its name]






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 strike? “The baseball player only had one strike left before he was out of the game.” Strike refers to the baseball player only having one more chance to bat in the sentence. To spell strike in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes are in the word so I stretch it out and count: /s//t//r//I//k/. I need 5 boxes. I heard that /I/ just before the /k/ 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’ is easy; I need an s. Now it gets a little confusing so I’m going to say it slowly, /s//t//r//I//k/. I think I heard /t/ so I’ll put the t right after the s. One more before the /I/, hmmmm… /s//t//r//I//k/, I think I heard growling /r/ so I need an r. I have one empty box left. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /s//t//r//I//k/.] The missing one is /k/ = k.

4. Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start out easy with two boxes for ice. “Vanilla is my flavor of ice cream!” 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 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: pine, this is a pine tree; pine [Allow children to spell words.] Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: p – i – n – e and see if you’ve spelled it the same way.

Try another with three boxes: kite; My kite is purple with pink flowers; 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/ in it before you spell it: lick; need to get a trim. 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 4 phonemes: bride; the bride was very pretty. One more then we’re done with spelling, and this time you need five boxes: strike; I just need one more strike to get him out. Remember to stretch it out to get this tough word.

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 strike 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//t/ = /st/ + /r/ = /str/. Now I’m going to blend that with /I/ = /strI/. Now all I need is the end, /k/ = /strIk/. Strike; 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 Bike Ride. This is a story of a boy named Nate, who has been visiting Tim and Jan but lately, he is not much fun. Can Tim and Jan come up with a plan to get their friend away from the television? [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 Bike Ride aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]

7. Say: That was a fun story! What did they do to get Nate away from the TV? Right, went on a bike ride. What did Nate have on his bike? Right, a kite. Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /I/ = i_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 i_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. [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.]

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