Silly Billy Swims

Beginning Reading Lesson Design

Jamie Smith


In order to become better readers and decoders, children need to understand that letters represent vocal gestures or phonemes. In order to develop an understanding of words and letters children need to learn correspondences. This lesson will help students to identify the correspondence: i=/i/ (short i).   The lesson will develop the student's awareness of i=/i/, by giving them instruction and practice on how to form the short i sound, as well as, practice reading decodable text containing the short i sound. The students will learn this sound by seeing it in words, reciting it to the teacher, and by learning a meaningful representation and letter symbol.



Silly Billy swimming picture

Cover up paper

Pieces of paper with the words: kid, lid, pin, grip, last, silk, twist

Letterboxes with at least five squares (one for each student)

Letters needed per student: t,w,i,s,t,l,a,k,d,g,r,p,n,

The book, Tin Man Fix It (one per student)

Assessment Worksheet



1. "The written language is like a secret code. Today, we are going to be learning about how to break this code and read words. Let's review the phoneme we have already learned. Aaaa! Like a baby crying. Aaaaa. Very good! Today we are going to learn about the vowel sound we see and hear in Silly and in Billy and in swims. It is the /i/ sound.  Let's look at our picture on the board, it is a picture of Silly Billy swimming! Let's all say, "Silly Billy swims" We are going to see if we can find this sound in some words that we spell and words that we read."

2. "Have you ever been swimming? This is Silly Billy, and he likes to swim! Can you hear the /i/ sound in the word silly?  Let's think about our mouth movement when we say the /i/ sound. You say the /i/ sound by having your mouth open and pulling apart your lips (make vocal gesture for /i/). Can we do it together? /iiiiiiii/. Now let's act like we are swimming and make the /i/ sound as we swim. (make swimming movements around the classroom) Now you try, if you hear the short i sound then give me a thumbs up, and if it's not then give me a thumbs down. Do you hear i in slip, ran, grill, melt, nip, still?"

3. "Let's say this sentence together, 'Silly Bill swims with his twin Missy.' Let's say it again and stretch out the /i/ sound whenever we hear it. Siiilly Biiill swiiims wiiiith hiiiis twiiin Missy." What if I want to spell the word grip? "You must grip the chains tightly when you swing." Grip means hold tightly in this sentence. To spell grip in the letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /g//r//i//p/. I need 4 boxes. The word starts with a /g/, so I need a g. Now it gets a little hard, so listen closely, /g//r//i//p/. I think I hear an /r/ next, so I'll put an r in the box after the g. Next comes the /i/ so we need an i. Now listen for the last letter, /g//r//i//p/. The last letter is a /p/ so we need a p.






4. "Now we are going to use letterboxes to spell some words.  Make sure and remember that only one mouth sound goes in each box."  I will model how to do it by putting each letter sound in one box to spell out the word and then have the students do their own as I say each word. "I'll start off easy, with just two letter boxes, can you spell the word it, /i//t/. It is hot outside. What should go in the first box? What should go in the second box? (I will walk around and make sure everyone got it correct) Next, you will need three letter boxes. The new word is kid. /k//i//d/. I saw a kid on the playground. Can you guess the first letter? /k/ is the sound for c or k, and in this word it is k. Now you hear the /i/ sound, so we need an i. Lastly you hear /d/ and so you should put a d in the third letter box. Next, you need four letter boxes. The word is grip, /g//r//i//p/. Make sure your grip the monkey bars tightly. Each sound/letter goes in a letterbox. Then I will continue with the following words: more 3 phonemes- lid, pin, 4 phonemes- last, silk, 5 phonemes- twist)

5. "Now I am going to see if you can remember the words we just spelled when they are written.  I'm going to hold up pieces of paper with words on each of them. First I will model for you how to read a tough word. [Display paper with grip on the top and model reading the word.] 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.] /g//r/ = /gr/. Now I'm going to blend that with /i/ = /gri/. Now all I need is the end, /p/ = /grip/. Now it's your turn, everyone together. (I will have children read the rest of the words that they previously spelled, along with two pseudo words: twim, and plid. After they read them as a class, I will ask a word to each child individually.)


6. "You all have done such a great job spelling words with the short i sound! Now we are going to work on recognizing the /i/ sound when we read.  We are going to read the book, Tim Man Fix It. Let me tell you a little about this book!

Book Talk: "This book is about Tim and Jim, Jim is a tin man, and Tim is the fix it man. Then, along comes Silly Sid! Silly Sid hit Jim, and now he's broken! I wonder if Tim can fix him? Let's read to find out! You are going to read the book on your own first, and when you finished reading it on your own, I will give you a partner and you all will read it to each other.

7. Assessment: "That was a fun story!" So was Jim able to fix Tim? Well now that we have talked all about the /i/ sound, you are going to do a fun worksheet. Your job is to circle 10 short i words from all of the words on the page. First read all the words on the page, and then circle the ten with the /i/ sound!  



Phonics Reader Short Vowel "Tin Man Fix-It". (1990) Carson, CA (USA), St Albans, Herts. (UK): Educational Insights

Iiiiicky Sticky Ice Cream: Reading Genie: Molly Montgomery 2011.

Assessment Worksheet:

Circle ten of the following words that have the /i/ sound in them.

Cut                                           Bit                                Lot                                                       Dip

            Men                                                                                                     Him

Net                              Kill                   Rib                                           Van

            Not                              Cup                              Pit                                            Red

                        Run                                          Dog                  Kid                                           Win

Fix                                Jog                                                                   Mat

            Lock                                         Rip                                                                   Mad


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