Aaaaah! Rollercoasters Are Fun!

Beginning Reading

Kellie Lawrence


Rationale:  This lesson teaches children about the short vowel correspondence _a_=/a/. In order to be able to read, children must learn to recognize the spellings that map word pronunciations. In this lesson children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling _a_. They will learn a meaningful representation (sound when on a rollercoaster "Aaah"), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence _a_=/a/.

 Materials:  Graphic image of rollercoaster; cover-up critter; whiteboard or smartboard; Elkonin boxes for modeling and individual; Elkonin boxes for each student; letter manipulatives for each child and magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher: a, t, d, b, p, f, l b, c, k, r, s; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: at, bad, pat, black, trap, scab; decodable text: Pat Ran, and assessment worksheet.


1.  Say: In order to become expert readers we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. We have already learned to read some sight words, like of, and today we are going to learn about short a. When I say /a/ I think of a person on a rollercoaster that yells "Aaaaaah!" [show graphic image]. Now let's look at the spelling of /a/ that we'll learn today. The /a/ sound is spelled with the letter a. [Write _a_ on the board.] These blank lines mean there is a consonant before and after the letter a.

 2.  Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /a/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I listen for /a/ in words, I hear a say the rollercoaster yelling sound /a/ and I open my mouth, but not all the way. [Make vocal gesture for /a/.] I will show you first: at. I hear a make the short /a/ sound like in "Aaaah!" and my mouth was open. There is a short a in at. Now I'm going to see if it's in bake. Hmm, I didn't hear a make the /a/ sound and my mouth was not open very wide. Now you try. If you hear /a/ say, "Aaaah! Rollercoasters are fun!" If you don't hear /a/ say, "No way!" Is it in cat, paint, boat, rabbit, pack, truck? [Have the students imitate a person on a rollercoaster when they hear the /a/ sound.]

3. What if I want to spell the word slap? "When I see a mosquito, I will slap it with my hand." Slap means hit in this sentence. To spell slap in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /s//l//a//p/. I need 4 boxes. I hear that /a/ just before the /p/ so I'm going to put an a in the 3rd box. The word starts with /s/, that's easy; I need an s. Now it gets a little tricky so I'm going to say it slowly /s//l//a//p/. I think I heard /l/ so I'll put a l right after the s. One more, hmm.. /s//l//a//p/, I think I heard popping /p/. I have one empty box now. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /s//l//a//p/.] The missing one is /p/. Now I will show you how I would read a tough word. [Display poster with slap on the top and model reading the word.] I am going to start with the _a_; that part says /a/. Now I am going to put the beginning letters with it s-l-_a_, /sla/. Now I will put that chunk together with the last sound, /sla-p/ Oh, slap, like "It is not nice to slap your brother or sister."

4. Say: Now I am going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You'll start out easy with two boxes for at. "I like to learn at school." What should go in the first box? [Respond to students' answers]. What goes in the second box? I'll check your spelling while I walk around the room. [Observe progress]. You'll need three letterboxes for the next word. Listen for the beginning sound to spell the first box. Then listen for /a/. Here is the word: bad. "My apple was rotten and tasted bad." [Allow students to spelling remaining words: pat, flat, black, trap, and scab.]

 5.  Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you have spelled. [Have students read words in unison. Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.]

 6. Say: You have done a great job reading words with our new spelling for /a/:_a_. Now we are going to read a book called Pat Ran. We are going to pair up and take turns reading Pat Ran to find the reason that Pat is running. [Children pair up and take turns reading alternate pages each while teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads Pat Ran aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.

7. Say: Before we finish up with our lesson, I want to hear you read a book with lots of /a/ sounds.  I will call each of you up to me to read a few pages of Pat Ran aloud to me. [Teacher will note errors and provide an accuracy score.]


Aaaaah Choo! By Rachel Thompson:

Pat Ran by Sheila Cushman and Rona Kornblum

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