Standard Lesson

Getting the ig in Pig: Helping Children Discover Onset and Rime

K - 2
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Two to three 40-minute sessions
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The study of onset and rime is crucial to the development of reading and writing in K-2 students. This lesson incorporates literature, independent and cooperative learning, critical thinking, and hands-on activities to engage students in learning the ig rime. Students explore books and magazines for words that have the ig rime, in addition to brainstorming their own words. Furthermore, assessment is included as students incorporate learned words in context and isolation. This lesson can be adapted to teach various word patterns and could be used for basic ELL instruction.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

  • The current debate is no longer whether or not phonics instruction is important, but rather which approaches to teaching phonics are most effective.

  • Phonics instruction can integrate both explicit instruction and contextual experiences, whereby the teacher provides meaningful settings for learning with explicit strategies.

  • Current research indicates that a strong foundation in letter-sound relationships is important to success with reading and writing development.

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).

Materials and Technology

  • If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff (Scholastic Inc., 1998)

  • To Market, To Market by Ann Miranda (Harcourt Brace and Co., 1997)

  • Chart paper

  • Markers, crayons, pencils, and paper

  • Scissors, glue, highlighting tape, and rubber bands

  • Yardsticks or pointers


1. Gather the books If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff and To Market, To Market by Ann Miranda.

2. Review the interactive Construct-a-Word. In this lesson, students will practice with the ig ending. Note that there may be a few words (e.g., gig, rig) that are unfamiliar to your students; however, since these words are in the dictionary, they are marked as correct. Consider using unfamiliar words as an opportunity to expand students' vocabulary. [For the at ending, note that the words oat and eat are correct even though they do not rhyme.]

Student Objectives

Students will be able to

  • Recognize the ig rime in words

  • Brainstorm words with the ig rime

  • Find ig words in literature

  • Use the ig words that they learn in their own writing

Session 1

1. As a warm-up to the lesson, read the poem This Little Piggie to the class. Emphasize the word pig and the rime ig.

2. Write the word pig on the board or on chart paper. Gather the class to sit together on the reading carpet. Ask them the following questions:

  • What is this word?

  • How do you know this says pig?

  • How come it does not say dog?
Explain that the letters ig make the /ig/ sound and when we put a p in front of them, it spells the word pig. Do not explain more about the ig rime at this point.

3. Show students the book If You Give a Pig A Pancake by Laura Numeroff. Spark interest and activate prior knowledge by asking students the following questions and charting their answers on an experience chart:

  • What do you know about pigs?

  • What do you know about pigs and pancakes?

  • What may happen if a pig eats a pancake?

  • What happens when you eat a pancake?
4. Set a purpose for reading by telling students that they are going to hear a story about a pig that likes to eat pancakes. When this pig eats a pancake, it makes her want a lot of other things. Tell the students, "As you listen to the story, think about all the things the pig wants to do." Read the story aloud to the class.

5. After reading the story and discussing it with students for a few minutes, go back to the word pig on the board or chart paper. Explain to students that ig is a rime that makes the /ig/ sound. Most of the time, when you see the letters ig together in a word, you will say /ig/. When we put different letters in front of ig, we make other words that rhyme with pig. Ask the class to think of another word that rhymes with pig. Add the word to the chart and circle the ig in both words.

6. Have students work with a partner or in groups of three for approximately 10 minutes to brainstorm other words that rhyme with the word pig. Bring the class back together as a group and add their words to the chart. Chant the list of words together as a group. Circle the ig in each word as students read them aloud.

Session 2

1. Gather students for a second reading of If You Give a Pig A Pancake by Laura Numeroff. If you have multiple copies of the book, students can partner read or you can read the story together as a class.


Divide the class into four groups for center work. Centers should be limited to 20 minutes per activity and, if you prefer, you can schedule activities to be completed over two days. The four centers are as follows:

  • Supply students with magazines, paper, scissors, and glue. Have students hunt through magazines for words with the ig rime, cut out the words, and paste them on a sheet of paper. Display the paper in class for reinforcement during the lesson.

  • Have students use the computer to access the online interactive Construct-a-Word. Similar to a magnetic board, students manipulate letters on the screen to make rhyming words. For this activity, students select the ig rime from the opening screen, and then drag and place letters from the top of the screen in front of the ig rime to make words. Students receive feedback as they experiment with different letters, alerting them when they create a real word and asking them to try another letter if they choose an incorrect one.

  • Supply students with markers, crayons, paper, and pencils. Ask students to create poems using the ig words that they have learned. They can be as silly as they want.

  • Let the children go on an ig word hunt in your classroom library. As they read stories, ask them to find words with the ig rime in them. They can use highlighting tape or rubber bands to isolate the ig words or create a list of the ig words that they find on a sheet of paper.
3. At the end of the center work, bring the class back together to share their results. Reinforce the purpose of the lesson. For fun, read aloud To Market, To Market by Ann Miranda.


  • Allow students to make ig words using a pocket chart and letters.

  • Encourage the use of newly learned words in journal writing.

  • Provide highlighting tape or rubber bands to allow children to go on word hunts for ig words or other rimes previously learned.

  • Use onset and rime cubes to create words.

  • Allow children to "read the room" with a pointer or yardstick looking for words of particular patterns.

  • Home school connection: Have children look for ig or other patterned words with their families.

  • Laura Numeroff has an excellent website. On the Kids Fun page, students can click and play a game called "Find the Pig."

  • Have students access the interactive Word Family Sort to sort short i words into word families. The ig word family is included, along with it, in, and ick. The online activity also includes a word sort for each of the other short vowels.

  • Many more phonics activities can be found in the following resource publications:

Bear, D., Invernizzi, M., Templeton, S., & Johnston, F. (1996). Words their way: Word study for phonics, vocabulary, and spelling instruction. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Cunningham, P., & Hall, D. (1994). Making words. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill Children's Publishing.

Morrow, L.M. (2001). The literacy center (2nd ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Pinnell, G.S., & Fountas, I.C. (1998). Words matters: Teaching phonics and spelling in the reading/writing classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Upon completion of this lesson, assess students' understanding by administering a written spelling assessment. Read the following words aloud and ask students to write them on a piece of paper:




















    wiggle (bonus word)

  • Oral assessment can be done in the form of a spelling bee or one-on-one assessment. For a spelling bee, divide the class into two teams. Ask students to spell words. If they misspell a word, they are asked to sit down. The last student standing is the winner. In a one-on-one assessment, ask students to spell words in a quieter setting. Use ig words mixed in with other patterned words.

  • A word sort is another good assessment technique. Have students divide a sheet of paper into two columns. At the top of the first column, students write ig. The second column can say not ig or other. Each student or pair of students receives a ziplock baggy of words. Make sure that you include a good selection of ig words in addition to other words in each bag. Students select words from the bag and place them in the correct column. Check students' work.

  • For further assessment, observe students' writing.