“Ah! What A Refreshing Drink Of Water”


Beginning Reading Design Lesson

 Ally Harper



            This lesson introduces beginning reading students to vowel correspondences beginning with short o=/o/. In order for students to read, they must learn and understand vowel correspondences and recognize the spelling that maps word pronunciations. In this lesson children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the short vowel correspondence, o=/o/. They will learn how to use a meaningful gesture or representation (pretending to sip a water then say “Ah!”), a tongue twister “Oliver had an operation in October, and Oscar gave him an octopus”, spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence o=/o/.



            Graphic image of someone drinking a drink, cover-up critter, tongue tickler, whiteboard or smartboard Elkonian boxes for modeling, individual Elkonian letterboxes for each student, letter manipulative for each child and magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher (b, c, d, f, g, i, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, t, x.), list of spelling words on cards, poster, or whiteboard to read (odd, lock, box, drop, stomp, clock, crop, cross, ox, frog, and stop), decodable text (Doc in the Fog), pencils, and assessment worksheet (link below).



            1. Introduce Vowel with Meaningful Gesture. Say: In order to become expert readers we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. The vowels are a, e, i, o, and u. They are special because they make a few different sounds. When we pronounce words we give a lot of importance to the vowels. Today we are going to learn about the vowel short o, which says /o/. Short o says /o/. Say it with me, /o/. When I say /o/ I think of someone taking a drink of water and then saying the “Ah!” noise when they are finished sipping the water. [Show graphic image]. Let’s all pretend we are drinking water and then after you finish say “Ah!” What is your mouth doing when you say /o/? That’s right, we just hold it open and let our voices from deep down in our throat do the work. Now lets look at the spelling of /o/ that we’ll learn today. To write an o you just draw a little c and then close it up.


            2. Lesson Review and Tongue Tickler. Say: 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 listen for the noise the person makes when they are finished drinking the water (Ah!). Remember my mouth is open and my tongue stays on the bottom of my mouth and we let our voices from deep within our throat do the work and our mouth is in an o shape like we are yawning. I’ll show you first: log. I heard the noise you make when you finish drinking water in log. I felt my tongue stay on the bottom of my mouth and I felt my lips make an o shape like it was open like a yawn. There is a short o in hop. Now I’m going to see if it is in open. Hmm, I did not hear the sound you make when you finish drinking water in open and my mouth made a smaller o shape and my lips came closer together. Now you try it. If you hear /o/ pretend to drink water and put it down when you hear the /o/ in these words. If you do not hear the /o/ sound say “That’s not it.” Is it in: olive, otter, go, snow, nose, orange, hop, jog.  Great job I saw a lot of people drinking water.

We’re going to use this tongue tickler to practice /o/. When I say /o/, my mouth is open and my tongue stays on the bottom of my mouth and we let our voices from deep within our throat do the work and our lips are in a wide o shape like a yawn (show the tongue tickler to the students). I want you to listen to me first, “Oliver had an operation in October, and Oscar gave him an octopus.” Now let’s practice together (repeat with students two times). Do you hear the /o/ sound? I hear /o/ at the beginning of Oliver, operation, October, Oscar, and octopus. We are going to say the tongue tickler again but this time we are going to stretch out the /o/ sound, “Ooooliver had an ooooperation in Oooooctober, and OOOscar gave him an ooooctopus.”


            3. Modeling a Letterbox Lesson. Say: What if I want to spell the word frost? “The frost is on the ground during winter.” Frost in this sentence is like little snowflakes of ice. Now we are going to practice spelling words with the /o/ sound. (Write /o/ on the board). If I want to spell the word “frost”, I need to know how many phonemes I hear in the word so I stretch it out and count with my fingers. /f/ /r/ /o/ /s/ /t/, “frost”. I counted 5, so I will need to use five boxes. I heard the /o/ just before the s so I am going to put /o/ in the 3rd letterbox. The word starts with /f/, so I am going to put f in the first letterbox. Next I heard r. I am going to find the r and put it in the second letterbox. I will say it slowly one more time so you can hear: /f//r//o//s//t/. I heard two more letters after the /o/, /f/r/o/s/t, I think I heard the hissing /s/ so I need an s. I have one empty box now. (Point to the letters in the boxes when stretching out the word /f//r//o//s//t/). The missing one is /t/. Now that I have a letter in each box, I am going to move the letters off the box and put them together so I can read the word. I am going to sound out each letter and then blend them together. /f/ /r/ /o/ /s/ /t/ “froooost.” I’ll show you how I would read a tough word (display poster with robin on the top and model reading the word). I’m going to start with the o, that part says /o/. Now I’m going to put the letters beginning with it: r-o, /ro/. Now I’ll put that chunk together with the last sound,

/ro-bin/. Oh, robin, like “The red robin is a bird that sits in the tree.”








            4. Student LBL Spelling. Say: Now it’s your turn to spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start with the word “odd”. “Odd is something that is not normal. That was an odd song that the teacher sang to us.” How many boxes do we need for odd? Yes we need two boxes. What should go in the fist box? (Respond to children’s answers).  What goes in the second box? Do two letters go in the box together? I’ll check your spelling while I walk around the room. (Observe progress). You will need three letterboxes for the next word. Listen for the beginning sound that goes in the first box. Listen for /o/. Here’s the word: box, I opened the box of chocolates to eat. (Allow children to spell the words). Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: b-o-x, and see if you’ve spelled it the same way. Try another with three boxes: lock; I need to lock the door before I leave the house. (Have someone spell it in the letterbox on the front board for children to check their work. Repeat this step for each new word and allow children to spell remaining words, giving sentences for each word). Now we are going to try a word with 4 phonemes: drop.  One more word and this time we are going to use 5 boxes: stomp; I stomp on the ant on the ground. This is a tough word so be sure to stretch it out to get the word. I will also have children spell the words: clock, crop, cross, ox, frog, and stop.


            5. Student LBL Reading. Say: Now I want you to use the words you spelled and practice reading them to me. I will first show you how I would read a word that is tough. (Display a poster with stop on the top and model reading the word). There’s the vowel /o/. It must say /o/ like you just finished drinking a glass of water and then make the noise (Ah!). I am going to use a cover-up critter to get the first part. (Undercover and blend in order before the vowel, then blend with the vowel). [/s//t/= /st/+ /o/= /sto/. Now I am going to blend with /o/=/sto/. Now all I need is the end, /t/= /stop/. Stop, that’s it. Now it’s your turn. (After, show the words smog, mop, frog, dog, cloth, option, and dock. have the students read all the words together as a class in unison. Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has a turn).


            6.  Decodable book reading. Say: You’ve done a good job spelling and reading words with o=/o/. Now we are going to read a book called Doc and the Fog.  This story is about a wizard named Doc who taps different objects with his wand. When he taps the object it turns them into other objects or things. What kind of objects will Doc tap to magically turn them into something else? Let’s read to find out what happens. (Have all the students’ pair up to take turns reading the book. Walk around the room and monitor the students’ progress. After everyone finished reading, read through the book as a class chorally, and stopping between pages to discuss the plot of the story).


            7. Assessment. Say: Before we finish with our lesson about one way to spell /o/=/o/, I want to see what you have learned. Now that you have learned the short o vowel, you are going to practice working with it on this worksheet. In this worksheet you will say the short o word, connect the letters to make the short o word, and then write the word out on the line to the right. Make sure to read the directions to complete the worksheet (Collect the worksheets to evaluate individual student’s progress). I will add pseudowords of short 'o" that they will read to me. For example: oll, zol, blod, and clop.



 Murray, Bruce. Making Sight Words: Teaching Sight Words from Phoneme Awareness to Fluency. 1st ed. Ronkonkoma, NY: Linus Publications, 2012. 380. Print.

 Reading Genie: Bruce Murray: http://www.auburn.edu/~murraba/

 Phonics Readers-Short Vowels-Short o- Doc in the Fog

 Assessment worksheet: http://www.funfonix.com/worksheets/book1_page27.php

 Picture: (Someone drinking water).



Return to Rendezvous Index