Aye, Aye, Captain!


A Beginning Reading Lesson

by Caroline Hiskey

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 (pirate saying “Aye, Aye Captain!”), 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 saluting; cover-up critter; whiteboard or smartboard, Elkonin boxes for modeling and individual Elkonin letterboxes for each student; letter manipulatives for each child and magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher: i, e, b, c, d, h, k, m, l, p, r, s, t, v, w, z; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: ice, bite, rice, time, kite, tile, white, bride, swipe, twice, prize, stripe, strive; decodable text , 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 rip, 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 funny pirate saying “Aye, Aye, Captain! [Show graphic image]. 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 in the middle means that there is a consonant after i, and at the end of the word there is a little silent e signal.

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 open my mouth like this. [Make vocal gesture for /I/.] I’ll show you first: time. I heard i say its name and I felt my lips open. There is a long I in time. Now I’m going to see if it’s in ship. Hmm, I didn’t hear i say its name and my tongue was sticking out. Now you try. If you hear /I/ say, “Aye, Aye, Captain.” If you don’t hear /I/ say, “That’s not it.” Is it in kite, rain, pants, fire, lime, tips? [Have children raise a finger when they feel /I/ say its name.]

3. What if I want to spell the word smile? “When I hear a good joke, I laugh and smile.” Smile means grin 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 the silent e signal outside the last box. The word starts with /s/, that’s easy; I need an s. Now it gets a little tricky so I’m going to say it slowly, /s//m//I//l/. I think I heard /m/ so I’ll put a m right after the s. I have one empty box now. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /s//m//I//l/.] The missing one is /l/. Now I’ll show you how I would read a tough word. [Display poster with tribe on the top and model reading the word.] I’m going to start with the i_e; that part says /I/. Now I’m going to put the beginning letters with it: t-r-i_e, /trI/. Now I’ll put that chunk together with the last sound, /trI-b/. Oh, tribe, like “The tribe was holding their summer ceremony.”

4. Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start out easy with two boxes for ice. Ice gets made when water gets too cold, “The rain on the road froze into ice overnight.” 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 to spell 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: bite, Watch out for that puppy’s bite; bite. [Allow children to spell remaining words, giving sentences for each word: kite, tile, white, bride, swipe, prize, stripe]

5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you’ve spelled. [Show the words kite, tile, white, bride, swipe, prize, stripe, the extra words twice and strive, and the pseudoword zile. 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 /O/: o_e. Now we are going to read a book called Nate’s Bike Ride. This is a story of a boy named Nate who loves to lie around and watch TV all day. His best friend, Tim, loves hiking, but Nate never wants to come along.  He decides to trick Nate into coming with a bike and a kite. Let’s pair up and take turns reading Nate’s Bike Ride to find out if Tim’s trick works, and if Nate ever goes outside. [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 Jakes Joke chorally, stopping between page turns to discuss the story.]


7. Say: Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /I/ = i_e, I want to see how you can solve this crossword puzzle. On this worksheet, we have clues for the crossword. Your job is to look in the box of word choices, and decide which i_e word fits best for each clue. First try reading all the words in the box, then choose the word that fits best in the space. Fill out the crossword puzzle as you go, and make sure that the words match together correctly.  Reread your answers to see if they make sense. [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.]



Sherrell, Heather, O, O, O at the Doctor: http://auburn.edu/~hns0006/sherrellbrl.htm



Sherrell, Heather, O, O, O at the Doctor: http://auburn.edu/~hns0006/sherrellbrl.htm


Murray, G. (2004) Nate’s Bike Ride. Reading Genie: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html


Assessment worksheet: http://www.free-phonics-worksheets.com/html/phonics_worksheet_v2-07.html

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