Aw, a Puppy!

A Beginning Reading Lesson



Caitlin Steeb




This lesson teaches children about the vowel correspondence aw = /aw/.  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 aw. They will learn a meaningful representation (someone seeing a puppy and saying aw), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence aw = /aw/.  (Children should be able to read regular polysyllabic words to do this lesson - reading level late first, early second grade.)



Graphic image of a puppy; cover-up critter; whiteboard Elkonin boxes for modeling and individual Elkonin boxes for each student; letter manipulatives for each child and magnetic letters for teacher: a, w, s, h, k, j, n, d, l, h, p, r; list of spelling words on whiteboard to read: saw, hawk, jaws, sand, lawn, shawl, and prawn; decodable text: Paul and Maggie; assessment worksheet



-Say: In order to become fantastic 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 sat, and today we are going to learn about the spelling aw that is used to say /aw/. When I say /aw/ I think of someone seeing an adorable puppy and saying aw! [show graphic image]. Now let’s look at the spelling of /aw/ that we will be learning today. One way to spell /aw/ is to use the letters a and w next to each other. [Write aw on the board.]


-Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /aw/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I listen for /aw/ in words, I hear aw say /aw/ and I feel my bottom jaw drop down so my mouth is open wide. [Make vocal gesture for /aw/.] I’ll show you first: straw. I heard aw say /aw/ and I felt my bottom jaw drop down so my mouth is open wide [make a circle motion around open mouth]. There is aw in straw. Now I’m going to see if it’s in stone. Hmm, I didn’t hear aw say /aw/ and my bottom jaw didn’t drop down so my mouth was wide open. Now you try. If you hear /aw/ say, “Aw, a puppy!” If you don’t hear /aw/ say, “No puppy here.” Is it in flaw, smooth, yawn, smile, saw, hear? [Have children make a circle motion around their open mouth when they feel aw say /aw/.]


-Say:  What if I want to spell the word crawl? “My baby sister just began to crawl.” Crawl means dragging your body on the ground to move in this sentence. To spell crawl in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /c//r//aw//l/. I need 4 boxes because aw is one phoneme. I heard that /aw/ just before the /l/ so I’m going to put an aw in the 3rd box. The word starts with /c/, that’s easy; I need an c. Now it gets a little tricky so I’m going to say it slowly, /c//r//aw//l/. I think I heard /r/ so I’ll put a r right after the c. I have one empty box now. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /c//r//aw//l/.] The missing one is /l/.  Now I’ll show you how I would read a tough word. [Display poster with drawn on the top and model reading the word.] I’m going to start with the aw; that part says /aw/. Now I’m going to put the beginning letters with it: d-r-aw, /draw/. Now I’ll put that chunk together with the last sound, /drawn/. Oh, drawn, like “I have drawn a beautiful picture.”


-Say: Now it’s your turn to spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start out easy with two boxes for saw. Saw means you have seen something in the past, “We saw a shooting star last night.” What should go in the first box? [Respond to children’s answers]. What goes in the second box? Did you remember that aw is one phoneme?  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 /aw/ and remember that aw is one phoneme so it goes in one box. Here’s the word: hawk, A hawk just flew over the park; hawk. [Allow children to spell remaining words: jaws, sand, lawn, shawl, and prawn.]


-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.]


-Say: You’ve done a fantastic job reading words with our new spelling for /aw/: aw. Now we are going to read a book called Paul and Maggie. This story is about a boy named Paul who loves his cat, Maggie.  Maggie always wakes Paul up in the morning, but one day, Maggie does not wake Paul up and she is nowhere to be found!  Will Paul find Maggie?  Let’s pair up and take turns reading Paul and Maggie to find out if Paul can find his sweet cat! [Students pair up and take turns reading alternate pages while teacher walks around the room, monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads Paul and Maggie aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]


-Say: Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /aw/ = aw, I want to see if you can read all by yourself. This worksheet has some missing words that you need to read and figure out where they belong.  After reading all of the words in the box, decide which aw word fits best in each blank of this story.  Make sure you reread your story to make sure all of your choices make sense. [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.]


-Say:  While you are all working on the worksheet, I am going to call you back one by one to read orally to me.  You can read a passage from Paul and Maggie.  [Teacher notes errors, accuracy rate and reading comprehension.]



Berger, Amy.  Aye, Aye Captain.


Olivera, Nicholas. Paul and Maggie. Harcourt. Web. 24 Feb. 2012. <,_au_and_augh.pdf>.


Assessment worksheet:


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