Abby's Alligator



Emergent Literacy


Laura Earl



Rationale: I developed this lesson to help children with the short (/a/). Children will be able to listen to lots of words using the /a/ sound and be able to recognize and pick it out from other words. This lesson will also help students in writing/printing the letter a.


Materials: primary paper, pencil, index cards with words: at, sat, nap, us, bat, tap, not, Poster with Abbys Alligator Acts like an Actor Every Afternoon. Book A Cat Nap (which you can get at public libraries), worksheet with pictures for assessment


Procedures: 1. Introduce the lesson by telling students that written language is much like a secret code because it is hard to tell which letters to use. Today we will be working on the short a sound /a/. We will be working on the mouth moves for /a/. There are many words with the /a/ sound and hopefully we will be able to pick them out.

2. Ask students if they have every heard a baby cry? If so what does it sound like? The baby probably says AAAHHHH!!! Im going to say a word and were going to stretch it out. CAT: CAAAATTT. Did you hear the AAA sound? Whenever we hear the AAA sound we will put our hands up like we are a crying baby.

3. Show students poster with tongue twister. Abbys Alligator Acts like an Actor every Afternoon. Now lets say it together. Now lets say it again and stretch out the /a/ sound when we hear it. Remember to make the crying baby sign when you hear the aaaa sound. Ok: AAAbbys AAAligator AAActs like an AAActor every AAAfternoon. Good. Ok now when we say it we are going to break each word: /a/ bbys /a/lligator /a/cts like an /a/ctor every /a/fternoon.

4.  Have students take out their paper and pencil and demonstrate how to write a letter a. To write a capital a, start at the rooftop, go down the slide to the sidewalk, then down the slide the other way, and cross at the fence.  For lowercase a, dont start at the fence.  Start under the fence.  Go up and touch the fence, then around and touch the sidewalk, around and straight down. When everyone is done writing a capital and a lowercase a, please raise your hand so that I can see your paper. Once I have looked at your paper, I want you to write 5 more capital as and 5 more lowercase as.

5. Give students two words and have them choose which word has the aaahhh sound. Do you hear /a/ in lap or sit? Nap or sleep? Cat or dog? Ok now lets see if you can find the mouth move /a/ in a few words. I will hold up index cards with words on them. When you hear the /a/ sound make the crying baby sign: at, sat, not, nap, us, bat, tap.

6. Read the book A Cat Nap. Listen carefully and whenever you hear the /a/ sound in a word make your crying baby sign and I will list the words on the board. Give students a piece of paper and have them draw a picture of a cat or any other animal and write about it using invented spellings.

7. For an assessment I will give students a worksheet. It will have pictures on it and they will have to circle the pictures that contain a /a/ sound in them. Examples of pictures: a purse, apple, table, cat, hat, dog, umbrella, ice, map.




Alison Stokes Aaa-aaa-aaa-choo at:




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