Aaaah, the Baby Lambs


Beginning Reading


Amanda Etheridge


Rationale: Children need lots of explicit and systematic phonics instruction in order to be able to read.  Beginning readers need to know that words are made of sounds.  They also need to know which letters make each sound. Because all words contain vowels, it is usually best to begin teaching vowels. It is easier to teach short vowels since they are found in words with only one vowel.  This lesson will focus on a = /a/.  Students will review the short a sound, and then the students will practice spelling and reading words with the /a/ sound.


Materials: Class set of Elkonin boxes

Class set of letter manipulatives

Overhead Elkonin boxes and letter manipulatives (a,b,c,d,g,k,l,m,n,p,r,s,t)

Class set of A Cat Nap by Educational Insights

Chart with tongue twister

Assessment Sheets



One) Introduce the lesson: "Today we are going to be learning about the short vowel A and the sound that it makes. Every time you see an /a/ in a word, you will make the sound of a baby lamb. I want everyone to act like a baby lamb, ready, aaahhhh, Great! I will read a few words and you make the baby lamb sound when you hear our /a/ ok. Ready. Mop, Map(aaaaa), Nap(aaaaa) , Nip, Sat(aaaa) and Last(aaaa) Great Job.  

Two) Introduce the tongue twister to the students. Put up the chart with the tongue twister: "Ok, now let's say the tongue twister together: Andrew and Alice asked if Annie's active animals were angry. Now let's say it again and when we hear the baby lamb sound we will make our aaaaaa sound. AAAAndrew aaaaand AAAAlice aaaaasked if AAAAAnnie's aaaaactive aaaaanimals were aaangry. Great Job Guys!!!

Three) Using the overhead and the letter manipulates, ask the students to name words with the /a/ sound in them and model the way to sound out the sounds in the words to the class. "Who can give me a word that has the sound of a baby lamb in it? Very Good. Nap. Now, if I was going to spell that word, I would listen to the sounds, /n/, /aaaaaa/ (there is our sound), and /p/." Practice more words using the Elkonin boxes.

Four) "Now I want all of you to get out your boxes and letters and we are all going to practice a few words." Have the students leave their letters on their boards and then check the spelling. Start with three phoneme words, then, move to four and five phonemes. [s] [a] [d]     [l] [a] [p]   [b] [a] [ck]                                        [g] [l] [a] [d]  [l] [a] [m] [p]     [s] [t] [r] [a] [n] [d]

Five) "Now I am going to spell back a few words to you. If you know what word I am spelling, raise your hand and you can answer." Without using the boxes, spell out the words to make sure they can really spell them.

Six) With the book A Cat Nap, get into small groups or with a partner and have the students read the book aloud. They can assess each other by grading each other on reading speed, expression, and knowing more words


Assessment:  For an assessment, have a picture sheet made out with lots of different pictures using different sounds and have the students circle the pictures with the /a/ sound in their name. Have pictures of apples, alligators, desks, lamps, shirts.



Eldredge, J. Lloyd. (1995) Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. New

Jersey: Prentice Hall, 54-57.


Alison Bradley: Excellent E!!:

Jessica Evans: Aaa-Aaa-Aaa Apples:

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