Rub Those Eyes….aah!

Beginning Reading

By: Natalie Fidler




  To help beginning readers they need to develop skills to decode unfamiliar words.  This lesson was created to help readers develop these skills.  Knowing that short vowels are the hardest of the phonemes to identify we will only focus on one short vowel.  This lesson will focus on a=/a/.  The goal of this lesson to help students recognize a=/a/ in the spoken and written word.



  Primary paper and pencil

  Letter manipulative: a,t,m,n,p,o,l,f

  “A Cat Nap”


  Overhead projector

  Paper with pictures of : tree, cat, dog , man, fan, bat, rat

  Large picture of crying baby and phoneme to place on the board.



1.)   Introduce the lesson by explaining why it’s important to learn that a letter represents a sound.  “Today we are going to learn about a=/a/.  It is important to learn this so we can recognize this sound in words.  We will also make words that have the sound.”


2.)    Write the letter a on the board and ask the children if anyone knows what sound make the letter makes.  “Yes, it does say a=/A/ but, the cool thing about this letter is it also says a=/a/.”


3.)    Place the large picture of the crying baby on the board.  “What is this picture of?  Yes, a crying baby and what sound does it make?” Say aaa! “Now I want everyone to try this together…aaaa!” I am going to say some words and if you hear /a/ rub you eyes like the crying baby: cat, dog, man, tree, bat.


4.)  Have the children get out their letterboxes and letters: a,t,m,n,p,o,l,f   .  Use the overhead projector to do the lesson with the children.  “First, we need two boxes. Lets spell at.” Look around at the children desk to check answers before putting it on the overhead.  “Ok, lets move to the three boxes and spell cat” (Continue this until they spell: man, nap, bag, pot, pal, fan) “You are doing great, now I am going to write these words on the overhead and let’s say them together. Great! You are so smart.”


5.)   Pass out the student copies of A Cat Nap to read silently. “Before we begin to read does anyone have a pet? What is its name? Let’s find out what this cats name and what it does.”  Then have the children read the book.


6.)   To assess the children pass out the sheet with all of the pictures having them circle the pictures with a=/a/.  Do a 1 min. read with the student when it is their turn.




            Walton, Christen. The Baby’s Crying…aah!

            A Cat Nap.  Phonics Readers Long Vowels.  Educational Insights

            Murray, Bruce A. and Theresa Lesniak “The letterbox lesson: A Hands On

Approach for Teaching Decoding.” The Reading Teacher. Vol. 52, No. 6

March, 1999. 664-650.

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    For mone information e-mail: Natalie Fidler