“Ah,” “Ah,” “Ah,” Open Wide!


short o


A Beginning Reading Lesson

By: Rebecca Tarleton


Rationale: In order to read, it is necessary that children learn the spellings of the pronunciations of words. This lesson teaches students about the short vowel correspondence o=/o/. Students will recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling of short o. They will learn a meaningful representation (The boy at the doctor saying “Ah”), spell and read words with this spelling using letterboxes, and read a decodable text focusing on this correspondence.


Materials: Image of boy at the doctor opening wide; Elkonin boxes for teacher to model with; Elkonin boxes for each student; letter manipulatives for each student: h, o, t, m, p, j, b, c, l, c, k, f, r, g, s, n; list of words on board or poster: hot, mop, clock, frog, spot, stomp; decodable text: A Hot Spot; assessment worksheet.



1.     Say: For us to become the best readers, we have to learn the code for pronouncing words. We’ve already learned about short a, e, and i, like in words hat, get, and big. Today we’re going to learn about short o and the sound that makes it. When I say /o/ I picture a little boy at the doctor and the doctor telling him to open up wide, “Ah.” [Show picture.] That is the sound it makes, now lets look at the spelling. You spell /o/ with the letter o. [Write o on the board.] The only letter needed to make the sound is the letter o.

2.     Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /o/ we are going to listen for it in some words. When I listen for /o/ in words, I hear o say /o/, and my mouth is open wide like at the doctor. [Make voice gesture for /o/.] Let me show you first: stop. I heard /o/ and felt my mouth open up wide. [Point at mouth open wide.] There is a short o in stop. Now lets see if it’s in the word home. I didn’t hear the /o/ sound like at the doctor and I didn’t feel my mouth open wide. Now you try some words. If you hear /o/ say “Ah open wide.” If you don’t hear it give me a thumbs down. [Say words bump, pot, wet, plot, block, pig.]

3.     Say: That is the sound it makes, now we’re going to look at the spelling. You spell /o/ with the letter o. [Write o on the board.] The only letter needed to make the sound is the letter o. What if I want to spell the word block? “The workers block off the road.” Block means to stop something in this sentence. To spell block in Letterboxes, I need to stretch out the word to know how many phonemes are in it. /b//l//o//ck/. I need 4 boxes. I heard that /o/ was just before the /ck/ so I’m going to put o in the third box. The word starts with a b, so I’ll put that in the first box. Here is the tricky part. Let’s say it slow. /b//l//o//ck/. I think I heard /l/ so I’ll put that after b. All that’s left is the /ck/ at the end. Hmm, what two letters at the end of words make the /ck/ sound? Oh that’s right, ck, so I’ll put that in the last box.

4.     Say: Now that we’ve learned the spelling, you’re going to spell some words in letterboxes. Start out with three letterboxes for the word hot. “It is very hot outside today.” What should go in the first letterbox? [Children answer.] What about the second? I’ll be checking as I walk around the room to see if you got the spelling right. [Walk around.] Keep three letterboxes, you’ll need them for the next word too. Listen for the beginning sound you’ll put in the first box, and listen for the /o/ sound. The word is mop, “I clean the floor with a mop.” [Leave time for students to spell word.] Let’s check and see what you got. Watch how I spell it on the board, m-o-p. Make sure you spelled it like I did. Next you’ll need four letterboxes for the word clock, “I looked at the clock to see what time it was.” [Leave time for spelling.] Time to check it. [Let student come up and spell it on the board.] Good, make sure that you put ck in one box because they make one sound. Next word is frog, “The frog jumped into the lake.” [Time for spelling.] Time to check our answers. [Have volunteer come up.] Our next word is spot, “The dog has one spot on his back.” [Spelling time.] Let’s check our work. [Volunteer comes up.] Good job, one letter in each box because this word all the phonemes are separate. Last word, lets try five phonemes. Get five boxes out. The word is stomp, “I like to stomp in the mud.” [Wait time.] Time to check our last word. [Demonstrate up on board.] It starts with /s/ so that goes in the first box. Then I heard /s//t/, t goes in the second box. Then there’s our /o/ sound, it goes in the third box. So we’ve got /s//t//o/, then I hear /m//p/. I think /m/ goes in the fourth box and /p/ will go in the last box. Good job everyone.

5.     Say: Now we’re going to read the words we just spelled, but first I’ll show you how to read a hard one. [Display the word stomp on the board and model reading.] First I see the o in the middle by itself. That must mean it makes the /o/ sound. Next, I’m going to put the beginning sounds with it, I see /s//t/, so that makes /st/. Then blend it with the o, /sto/. Now all that’s left is the end. I hear /m//p/. Blend that to make /mp/, then add the beginning /stomp/; stomp. Now it’s your turn to try. [Students read words together, and then have individual students read some of the words.]

6.     Everyone has done a great job spelling and reading the words. Now we’re going to read a book called A Hot Spot. It is about a hot summer day Tim has a hot job.  All he wants is a drink, but the pig is in the way. We’re going to pair up and take turns reading to find out what Tim ends up doing. [Students pair up and take turns reading pages. Teacher monitors. After paired reading, the group reads the book together.]

7.     Say: What ends up happening again? Right, Tim dumps the slop on Slim and so Slim gets slop and Tim doesn’t get pop, which we remember is another word for drink. Before we finish, there is one last thing I need you to do. You’re going to find out which word goes with which picture and write them on the worksheet in the blank next to the picture. Remember to read all of the words first and then put them in the blank by the picture they match. If you finish, check your work to make sure it’s correct. [Gives time to do worksheet and then collect it to evaluate progress.]



     Assessment worksheet: http://www.schoolexpress.com/fws/worksheet.php?id=65786

     Murray, G. (2004) A Hot Spot. Reading Genie: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html
Noelle Jones, Say "Ahhh": http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/awakenings/jonesnbr.htm



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