/A/ There Fonzie

A Beginning Reading Lesson

 Kelly Meyer

Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence a_e = /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_e. They will learn a meaningful representation (Fonzie’s greeting), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence a_e = /A/.


Materials: cover-up critter (popsicle stick with eyes); 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, g, e, c, p, r, k, l, t, s, t, p; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: age, pal, cape, rake, late, sat, skate, stage, past, place; decodable text: The Race for Cake 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 short vowel words with a, like cat, and today we are going to learn about long A and the silent e signal that is used to make A say its name, /A/. When I say /A/ I think of Fanzie’s greeting. Let’s look at the spelling of /A/ that we’ll learn today. One way to spell /A/ is with the letter a and a signal e at the end of the word to tell me to say A’s name. [Write a_e on the board.]  This blank line here means there is a consonant after a, and at the end of the word there is a little silent e signal.


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 its name /A/ and my mouth opens nice and wide like this. [Make vocal gesture for /A/.] I’ll show you first: age. I heard a say its name and I felt my mouth make a little a. There is a long A in age. Now I’m going to see if it’s in pan. Hmm, I didn’t hear a say its name a. Now you try. If you hear /A/ give me a thumbs up. If you don’t hear /A/ give me a thumbs down. Is it in page, can, pats, lace, kite, cake?


3. What if I want to spell the word place? “Place the pencil down on your desk.” Place means, to put something down in this sentence. To spell place in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /p/l/a/c/e I need 4 boxes. I heard that /A/ just before the /c/e so I’m going to put an a in the 4th box and the silent e signal outside the last box. The word starts with /p/, that’s easy; I need a p. Now it gets a little tricky so I’m going to say it slowly, /p/l/a/c/e. I think I heard /l/ so I’ll put a l right after the p. I have one empty box now. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /p/l/a/c/e. The missing one is /c/. Now I’ll show you how I would read a tough word. [Display the word stage on the smartboard or poster]. I’m going to start with the a_e; that part says /A/. Now I’m going to put the beginning letters with it: s-t-a_e, /stA/. Now I’ll put that chunk together with the last sound, /stA-g/. Oh, stage, like “I did a dance on the stage.”


4. Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start out easy with two boxes for age. As in, “What is the age of that dog?” What should go in the first box? [Respond to children’s answers]. What goes in the second box? What about silent e, did you remember to put it outside the boxes? 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 in the first box. Then listen for /A/ and don’t forget to put the signal silent e at the end, outside the boxes.  Here’s the word: cape, Superman wore his cape; cape. [Allow children to spell remaining words: rake, late, skate, stage, place].


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


6. Say: You’ve done an excellent job and reading words with our new spelling for /A/: a_e. Now we are going to read a book called The Race for Cake. This is a story about Ben and Jess the night they went swimming in the lake. Ben and Jess race for a cake that their mom made when they got done swimming. Let’s pair up and take turns reading The Race for Cake to find out who wins the race. [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 The Race for Cake aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]


7. Say: Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /A/ = a_e, I want to see how you can solve a reading problem. On this worksheet, we have words with /a/ and /A/ sounds. Your job is to look at the words and color the boxes of words that make the /a/ sound gray and the boxes of the words with the /A/ sound blue. Make sure to sound out each word slowly so that you are accurately coloring the picture. Answer the question on the bottom: what were Ann and Abe looking for?



Book: Murray, G. (2006) The Race for Cake. Reading Genie: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html


Lesson Resource: Murray, G. Oh, I Didn’t Know. CTRD 3710 Blackboard. http://www.auburn.edu/~murrag1/BRMurrayG.htm

Assessment Worksheet: http://www.free-phonics-worksheets.com/html/phonics_worksheet_v1-36.html

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