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Lesson Plan

Teaching Short-Vowel Discrimination Using Dr. Seuss Rhymes

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Teaching Short-Vowel Discrimination Using Dr. Seuss Rhymes

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three consecutive 30- to 35-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Sarah Dennis-Shaw

Avon, Massachusetts


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will:

  • Identify rhyming words in a story

  • Discriminate between short u and o sounds

  • Produce rhyming words when given a keyword in the word family

  • Blend onsets and rimes aloud to create words

  • Sort pictures based on their rimes

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Session 1

1. Begin the lesson by reading Hop on Pop aloud to students. Students may be familiar with Dr. Seuss stories and will be excited to hear one read-aloud. After reading the story, ask students what they noticed about the story. Accept all answers, leading them toward the conclusion that the words in the story rhyme.

2. Choose a page in the book (or have a student volunteer choose a page) and reread it. Ask students to notice which words sound alike, or rhyme.

3. Show students the cover of the book and reread the title. Ask students to identify the words that rhyme (hop and pop). Write these words on chart paper and ask students what they notice about the two words. Some answers may be:
  • They both have 3 letters

  • They both have an o

  • They both end in p
4. Underline the op rime and draw students' attention to the fact that both words end in op. Ask students to think of some other words that rhyme with hop or pop (shop, stop, cop, mop, flop, crop, sop, top, plop) and add them to the chart paper. Ask students what they notice about all the rhyming words (they all end in op) and ask volunteers to come up to the chart to underline all the op rimes.

5. End the lesson by having students clap and chant the onsets and rimes of several words. They should do this by giving the beginning sound of the word, followed by the sound of the rime. For example, for the word hop, students would clap and chant "/h/ /op/ hop."

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Session 2

1. Gather students around the chart from the previous session with op rime words written on it. Read the words aloud with students joining in and discuss the fact that all the words have the op rime at the end and that they rhyme.

2. Present the following sentence strips. Cover the op rime on all op words:
  • We like to h--.

  • We like to h-- on t-- of P--.

  • St--, you must not h-- on P--.
Tell students that you are going to read the sentences together and say /op/ wherever they see the blanks. Have them practice blending the phonemes together before reading the sentences. Using a pointer, have student volunteers come up and practice reading the sentences aloud.

3. Reread the first four pages of Hop on Pop. Ask students which words rhyme on these pages (up, pup, cup). Write these words on a new piece of chart paper and ask students what they notice about the words. Bring to their attention that all these words end in up and ask volunteers to highlight the up rimes.

4. Present the sentence strips with up words and cover the up rimes as in the previous exercise:
  • P-- in c--.

  • P--p on c--.

  • C-- on p--.

  • C-- on c--.

  • P-- is --.
5. Read the sentences aloud, substituting the /up/ rime in the blanks. Have students practice reading the sentences and blending the phonemes to create words.

  Ask student volunteers to match the pictures from the Pup in Cup worksheet to the corresponding sentences (use the enlarged pictures). Pass out the Pup in Cup worksheet and ask students to cut out each section and glue onto a piece of construction paper. Students can practice reading the sentences aloud with a partner.

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Session 3

1. Review the previous lessons with students and practice rereading the sentence strips aloud. You may also want to reread the story.

2. Divide students into small groups and give each group a copy of the Picture Sort handout. Ask students to cut out the pictures and name each picture. Then ask students to sort the pictures into groups that rhyme and glue the sorted pictures onto construction paper.

3. After the groups are finished, regroup and talk about which words they put together. Display the charts from previous sessions and ask students which chart each picture would fit on (up or op).

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  • To extend these activities, practice different types of picture sorts. Students can sort pictures with the same vowel sound, initial consonant, or ending consonant. To challenge students, mix words with pictures.

  • For more ideas relating to Dr. Seuss books, visit Seussville.com.

  • Have students access the Picture Match game for practice matching short-vowel sounds to the correct words or the online interactive Construct-a-Word to gain more practice with word families.

  • Have students access the interactive Word Family Sort for additional practice sorting words into short-vowel word families. The lesson Word Sorts for Beginning and Struggling Readers can also be used for follow-up lesson planning.

  • For more advance practice with letter sounds, try having students play Puzzle Me Words. In this game, students see a picture, hear the word aloud, and drag letters to spell the word. Start at the beginner level, focusing on one vowel sound at at time. Gradually challenge students to mix vowel sounds, and later try the advanced level.

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Assess students using their completed Picture Sort handouts. Did they sort the words correctly? Were they able to discriminate between different rimes? Could they identify which chart each picture fit with?

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