I chose the poem "The Caterpillar" by Christina Rossetti.
Brown and furry
Caterpillar in a hurry,
Take your walk
To the shady leaf, or stalk,
Or what not,
Which may be the chosen spot.
No toad spy you,
Hovering bird of prey pass by you;
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.
I wanted to start with a word that would capture his attention. I wrote the word furry on a white board and read it aloud. We giggled about it a bit and felt his furry pjs.
He looked carefully at it and found the ur like in his name. I asked him what sound he hears at the end of the word and then what letter he sees. I asked him to find any double letters. (I couldn't help myself from pointing out every phonics rule I saw within the word, if he didn't notice.)
When he felt he knew the word, I had him write it in the air using big arms. He spelled it aloud as he wrote it. I probably should have done this after the next step to give him more practice with the word first, as he hesitated at the end and guessed a g (similar shape as y, goes "underground" with a hook tail).
Then I had copies of the poem with individual words cut out. I only included the first two lines and made six copies. The words were scattered face up, and he found all the words that said furry and gathered them. I had him give one last good look at the word.
Next I had him close his eyes and spell the word aloud as he envisioned it in his mind. I asked him to name the first letter, the last letter, the second letter, the next one.
When he had it down, I had him use magnetic letters to spell the word.
Then he changed the first letter to make rhyming words, hurry and curry. He added blends to make flurry and blurry. After he made the words, I wrote them on a white board for him to read since I didn't have enough letters to make all the words at once. I should have made these words beforehand on index cards to let him read, match, and rearrange. I didn't use words like worry or jury because they don't follow the same spelling pattern.
I did the same thing with the words brown and and. When he knew them, I read the poem, mixed up the three words, and he put them in order.
He gallantly read the words to his brothers, and even added the other words we hadn't gone over to complete the first two lines. That was enough for one morning.
But after getting dressed, he later wrote the words as I dictated them. Actually all I said was brown. He seemed to know just what I was going to do and wrote the rest . . .
with his fabulous flying f.