Beginning Reading Design

By Julia Waldrum


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 thumbs up, “Aye”) 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 = /O/.

Materials: Graphic image of Fonzie; cover-up critter, the popsicle stick that is used to cover up parts of a word to help with decoding; 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, e, m, k, r, c, f, s, c, p ; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: ate, make, same, rack, frame, scrape; decodable text: Snake and Ape, 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 tap, and today we are going to learn about long A and the silent a signal that is used to make A say its name, /A/. When I say /A/ I think of Fonzie giving a thumbs up saying “Aye!”[show graphic image].

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 lower jaw drops and my tongue stays flat. [Make vocal gesture for /A/.] I’ll show you first: came. I heard a say its name and I felt my jaw drop, and tongue stay. There is a long A in came. Now I’m going to see if it’s in flag. Hmm, I didn’t hear a say its name and my jaw didn’t drop like it does with /A/. Now you try. If you hear /A/ gives a thumbs up and say “Aye.” If you don’t hear /A/ say, “That’s not it.” Is it in flame, snow, skate, lips, nose, brave? [Have children touch their jaw when they feel /A/ say its name.]

3. Say: Now 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. What if I want to spell the word flame? “The flame on the fire rose very high, it burnt my blanket.” Flame means part of a fire in this sentence. To spell flame in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /f//l//a/m/. I need 4 boxes. I heard that /A/ just before the /m/ so I’m going to put an a in the 3rd box and the silent e signal outside the last box. The word starts with /f/, that’s easy; I need an l. Now it gets a little tricky so I’m going to say it slowly, /f//l//A//m/. I have one empty box now. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word /f//l//A//m/. the missing one is /m/=m.

4. Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start out easy with two boxes for ate. Ate is when someone put something in their mouth and chewed, “Our teacher ate an apple during snake time.” 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 that goes 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: make, I am going to make cookies tonight; make. [Allow children to spell words.] Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: m – a – k – e and see if you’ve spelled it the same way. Try another with three boxes: same; I have the same last name as my husband. [Have volunteer spell it in the letterbox on the front board for children to check their work. Repeat this step for each new word.] Next word. Listen to see if this word has /A/ in it before you spell it: rack; He put his backpack on the rack. Did you need a silent e? Why not? Right, because we don’t hear a say its name. We spell it with our short vowel a. [volunteer spells it on the front board.] Did you remember to spell /k/ with a ck? Now let’s try 4 phonemes: frame; the picture had a pretty frame. One more then we’re done with spelling, and this time you need five boxes: scrape; I got a scrape when I fell on the driveway. Remember to stretch it out to get this tough word.

5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you’ve spelled, but first I’ll show you how I would read a tough word. [Display poster with flame on the top and model reading the word.] First I see there’s a silent e on the end; that’s my signal that the vowel will say its name. There’s the vowel a. It must say /A/. I’m going to use a cover-up to get the first part. [Uncover and blend sequentially before the vowel, then blend with the vowel.] /f//l/ = /fl/ + /A/ = /flA/. Now I’m going to blend that with /m/ = /flAm/. Flame; that’s it. Now it’s your turn, everyone together. [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 a great job and reading words with our new spelling for /A/: a_e. Now we are going to read a book called Snake and Ape. This is a story of an ape and a snake who live in a forest. The snake’s name is Jake and the ape’s name is Kate. They would sleep in the trees and in caves, then the forest started having bad things happen to it Let’s pair up and take turns reading Snake and Ape to find out what happens to them once the forest turns bad. [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 Snake and Ape aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]

7. Say: That was a fun story. What happened to the forest? Right, the loggers kept cutting down the trees and paving roads in the forest. What did Jake and Kate do to save the forest? Right, they went to the king of apes and the king of snakes and they saved the forest, they made the loggers leave. 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 questions that you need to answer, there is a picture to give you an extra hint. Your job is to look at the clues and decide which /A/ word fits best to make sense of the space. Reread your answers to make sure they make sense. When the students are done with their worksheet I will assess them further by asking them to read a list of words with /A/ sound. I will use this to determine if the students need further helps or if they are prepared to learn the next correspondence.


Assessment worksheet:

“Snake and Ape.”

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Davee, Lauren