story by Wendy Cheek , illustrated by Sylvia Morris

Learning intention:

I am learning to identify words that share common letter patterns but have different pronunciations so that I can write less familiar words.


Success criteria:

  • I can identify words that share common letter patterns but have different pronunciations.
  • I can spell these words correctly.
  • I can demonstrate the correct usage of these words.


After reading Freeze! as a class, write the following words on the board and have students hunt through the text to find them:






In pairs, students are to use dictionaries or classroom posters to find other words with similar letter patterns but different pronunciations. Give them an example – road has the “oa” sound, which is pronounced differently when in words like checkerboard. Instruct students to find words that use the letters as one sound, which would mean a word like radioactive, despite having “oa” in it, wouldn’t count because the o and the a are two separate sounds.


Sample answers:

Neighbours – either “eigh” in words such as “height”, or “our” in words such as “courtesy”.

Eerie – “i.e.,” in words such as “friend”

Freak – “ea” in words such as “ahead”


Once students have discovered alternate pronunciations of their sounds, explain that they will be creating a poem using their matching words. They can do this in pairs. The choice of rhythm and rhyme is up to the students (Note: some students may struggle to use all their words). For an example, turn to page 17 of this issue of Orbit to read The Hyena’s Lament. Or view NSW Education Department’s example of a Limerick. A sample poem is below, based on the rhythm of The Hyena’s Lament.


In a house at the end of the road

Checkerboard games dot the grass

Neighbours do the courtesy of playing

But do very badly, alas.

It’s eerie how friends start to fight

And freaky how badly we play

But the owners watch on, straight ahead with a smile

As we waste the whole day away.


Ensure students understand the meaning of their vocabulary before commencing.