For a child to become a fluent reader, he/she must begin by
understanding the fact that letters represent phonemes. Phonemes are
defined as vocal gestures that they hear. They must also express an
understanding that spelling maps out the sequence of phonemes in spoken
words. We can see their development of reading, as the children
begin to recognize phonemes. The following lesson will assist students
in discovering the a=/a/
correspondence. Students will also learn to recognize /a/ in
- Picture of a baby crying (one per studnent)
- Worksheet with the following pictures on it: nap, cat, apple,
fish, house, ant, circle, fat, ham, appricots, book, alligator, bag,
- A Cat Nap, Carson, CA:
Educational Insights, 1990.
- primary paper (per student)
- pencils (per student)
1.Introduction of the lesson may begin my saying: "What sound does a
baby make when it is crying?" While asking this, hold up a picture of a
baby crying. The student should respond with /a/. If they make a
different sound or make no sound at all then model it for them and have
them repeat, /a/. While modeling, hold hands up to your eyes as if you
are rubbing your tears and have the student repeat. (If you prefer or
find it better for the student, you could just have the child hold up
the picture of the baby crying).
2.Tell the students: "A baby is not the only thing that makes that
sound, but we can find that sound in many words."
3.Tell the students: "I am going to read several words to you and I
want you to pay close attention. Each time you hear the /a/ sound, I
want you to rub your eyes, like a baby crying (or hold up the baby
card) which ever you and the student decided was best. It may vary from
child to child. I'll do it with you this time." Use some words as the
following (mix the words up and don't have the a = /a/ correspondence in all of
A few example words include:
4."I am now going to read you a funny sentence. Please pay close
attention because I want you to rub your eyes like a baby (or hold up
picture of baby crying) each time you hear /a/, but I'm not going to do
it with you this time." Watch students as you read the sentence and if
they seem to be struggling or getting it incorrect, let them finish the
sentence, but go back and have them repeat it, and the second time,
help them out, modeling it while they do the activity. Then go back a
third time and see if they can do it solo. Keep an eye on the students
to check for understanding and participation.
the Ant had apples and apricots"
5."This time when we read the sentence we will stretch out the /a/
sound. Open your mouth wide like an aaaligator to stretch the
sounds out. It might sound funny but it will be fun. Lets do it
the Aaaant haaad aaapples aaand aaapricots"
6.Take out a piece of paper and a pencil. Use the letter a to write /a/. Start at the
rooftop, go down the slide to the sidewalk and cross at the fence. I
will walk around to see everyone's a.
Make five more.
7. Now read A Cat Nap to the
students. Tell the students: "Each time you hear /a/ I want you to put
up your hands like your crying (or hold up the baby crying card)."
Teacher should be conscious to read slowly and clearly, enunciating
well, so the students can keep up as he/she reads.
8. To assess the children, hand each of them a page that has pictures
on it (worksheet). Students will say the words out loud and circle the
pictures that have the /a/ sound in them. Some example words to use (Be
sure the pictures are distinct, so no confusion will cause the student
to miss a question):
A Cat Nap, Carson, CA:
Educational Insights, 1990.
"Cry Baby". Emergent Literacy Design: Kelly McIntosh. Spring 2004. http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/guides/mcintoshel.html
Eldredge, J. Lloyd (1995). "Teaching Decoding in Holistic
Classrooms." New Jersey: Merrill, 1995, pp 50-70.
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