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Say ''ah'' for short o

A Beginning Reading Design by Kathleen McGahan



Rationale: This lesson will help students to learn the short vowel correspondence o=/o/. Children must be able to recognize this correspondence in order to read certain words correctly. In this lesson, children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the o=/o/ correspondence. They will learn a meaningful representation (child opening their mouth at the doctor’s office and saying “Ah”), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a LBL, and finally they will read a decodable book that focuses on the o=/o/ correspondence.


Materials: Image of a child at the doctor’s office (opening his mouth and saying “ah”), whiteboard for modeling LBL, individual letterboxes for each student, letter tiles for each students (o,n,c,p,l,t,b,b,f,c,k,r,s,s,g,t) magnetic letters for whiteboard modeling, cover-up critter, words on poster: on, cop, lot, blob, flock, cross, strong, frost. Decodable text: In the Big Top. Assessment worksheet.




1. Say: In order to become great readers, we need to learn how to pronounce words correctly. Today, we are going to learn one of the codes to help us do that! We are going to learn about the short vowel o and how it makes the “ah” sound in certain words. To help you remember, think about going to the doctor and how sometimes the doctor tells you to open your mouth and say “ah” so they can look in your throat. Think about the shape your mouth makes when you do that. It makes a big o shape doesn’t it? And you make the “ah” sound when you open your mouth. (Show image).


2. Say: Before we learn about spelling with /o/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I listen for /o/ in words, I say the word out loud and see if my mouth makes the big o shape, and I listen for the “ah” sound like when I open my mouth at the doctor’s office. I’ll show you first: clock. I heard the “ah” sound and my mouth made the o shape! Now I’m going to see if it is in the word pool. My mouth made a smaller o shape but I did not hear the “doctor’s office ‘ah’” sound. Now you try. If you hear /o/ say “Ah ha!” and if you don’t hear it say “No way!” Is it in: stop, go, bike, pop, clap?


3. Say: Now we are going to learn how to spell words with the o=/o/ correspondence. Everyone take out your letterboxes and letter tiles! Let’s first spell a word together. We are going to spell the word cop. First, I need to figure out how many phonemes are in this word so I know how many letterboxes I need. Stretch out the word cop and count: /c//o//p/. Let’s clap out the phonemes this time: /c/ (clap), /o/ (clap), /p/ (clap). Great job! I need 3 boxes. I heard that /o/ right after the /c/ and just before the /p/, so I’m going to put the o in the middle box. The word starts with /c/, right? What letter(s) makes that /c/ sound? Very good, the letter C does! So I’m going to put a letter c tile in the first box. What sound do we hear at the end of the word? That’s right, we hear the /p/ sound! So now we need to put the p letter tile in the last box. That is how you spell the word cop.


4. Now you are going to spell some words on your own! Let’s start with the word on. You will need two boxes for this word. I’ll use it in the sentence, “I ride on the bus to school”. What should go in the first box? What goes in the second box? [Walk around the room and check the students’ spellings]. You will need three boxes for the next word. Listen for the beginning sound that goes in the first box. Then listen for the o=/o/ sound. The next word is lot; I have a lot of candy. [Allow students to spell word]. Now let’s see if you got it right. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: l-o-t and see if you have spelled it the same way. Let’s try one with four boxes: blob; I have a blob on my shirt. Who wants to volunteer to come up to the board and spell this word for the class?

[Repeat these steps for each word in the LBL. Rotate between having the students spell the words themselves and having volunteers come up and spell them on the board. Use the words: on, cop, lot, blob, flock, cross, strong, and frost.]


5. Now I am going to have you read the words you spelled, but first I’ll show you how to read a tough word [display poster of words and model how to read strong]. I’m going to use my cover-up critter [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 /o/= /stro/. Now lets look at the last part. /n//g/=/ng/. Strong, that’s it! [Have students read the word in unison. Then, have the students read the rest of the words on the list, making sure everyone has a turn].


6. You have all done a great job reading and spelling words with /o/. Now we are going to read a book called In the Big Top. Have you ever been to the circus? Let’s see what happens when this circus family gets ready to go to their performance! Will they all fit in the car? [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 In the Big Top aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]


7. Now I want you to complete this worksheet and practice reading the words and writing in the short vowel o. [Take up the worksheet and assess the students for individual understanding].




Cushman, Sheila. In the Big Top. Educational Insights, 1990.


Lesson Design: Connally Harbarger. Ahhh, Said the Tired Boy.


Short o worksheet:



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