On Off Officer

On Off Officer
Target text


Associate the letter O (and the lowercase letter o) with the short /o/ sound (e.g., the /o/ sound in on, off, otter).

See Standards

Lesson Plan

Target Words:

  • officer
  • off
  • on
  • octopus
  • otter


  • Police Officer Badge
  • “On” sign colored greed and “Off” sign colored red
  • Action Picture cards (folded with actions on back)
  • On-Off Officer Text
  • Police Officers! by Kara McMahon (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2006) (optional)

Read Police Officers! By Kara McMahon (optional). Tell the children that the letter O sometimes makes the /o/ sound like in officer. Tell the children they will become an on-off officer as they practice saying the /o/ sound. Make a list of words spelled with the /o/ sound such as octopus, otter, ox, ostrich, olive, and odd.

Literacy Activities
On-Off Officer

  • Read each action card together as a class. Emphasize the O sound at the beginning of each word beginning with O (e.g., /o/ - /o/ -otter).
  • Demonstrate how to play the game.
    • Let the children find a space in the classroom.
    • Choose a child to be the On-Off Officer and wear the police officer badge. He or she will choose a picture and perform the action on the card.
    • When the On-Off Officer holds up the green “On” sign, the other children perform the action.
    • When the On-Off Officer holds up the red “Off” sign, the children stop perform the action.
    • Allow the On-Off Officer to alternate between the “On” and “Off” signs a few times before choosing a new On-Off Officer.
  • Throughout the activity emphasize the /o/ sound at the beginning of words that start with O.

More Practice (choose from the following)
Read target words in a text

  • Read the text On-Off Officer to the children.
  • Have the children find and underline the letter O throughout the text, saying the /o/ sound each time they underline the letter O.
  • Read the text again and have the children write the letter O in the air with their finger every time they hear a word with the /o/ sound.

Write the target letter

  • Play the On-Off officer game while writing the letter O and saying the /o/ sound.
  • When the officer holds up the “On” sign have the children write the letter O on a sheet of paper, saying the /o/ sound.
  • When the officer holds up the “Off” sign have the children stop writing.
  • Let the officer alternate between holding up the “On” and “Off” signs several times.
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SEEL Target Texts

On Off Officer

On-off Officer says on, on, on!
On-off Officer says off, off, off!
On! Pick the olives!
On! Eat an omelet!
On! Be an octopus!
On! Be an ostrich!
On! Be an otter!
On! Be on ox!
Now off! The Officer says off!
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SEEL At Home


Associate the letter O with the short ŏ sound (e.g., the ŏ sound in on, off, ostrich).


  • Pictures of words which begin with the letter O
  • Paper and crayons/markers to make "On" and "Off" signs

Activity: On-Off Officer

  • Make a green "On" sign and a red "Off" sign.
  • Look at the picture cards and decide on an action to go with each picture (e.g., swim like an otter, flap like an ostrich, walk like an ox, pick olives from a tree, swim like an octopus, eat an omelet).
  • Choose a picture then pretend to be an On-Off Officer. Hold up the "On" sign to signal that your child should begin the action for a picture card and the "Off" sign to signal that your child should stop the action.
  • Repeat with other picture cards, alternating holding up the "On" and "Off" signs several times for each picture. Take turns pretending to be the On-Off Officer.
  • Help your child make a list of the words from the activity that begin with the letter O. Emphasize that the letter O makes the ŏ sound.


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SEEL lessons align with Common Core Standards. Please see the standards page for the code(s) associated with this lesson.