“A’s Baseball”

Emergent Literacy Design
By Leah Steiner

Rational:  In order for children to learn to read and spell words, they need the alphabetic insight that letters stand for phonemes and that spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words.  Before children can match letters to phonemes, they have to recognize the phonemes.  This lesson will help children to identify a_e = /A/.  They will learn to recognize a_e = /A/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and the letter symbol, and then practice applying a_e = /A/. 


“James and the Good Day,” Carson CA: Educational Insights, 1990.

Primary paper & pencils.

Snake and Plane Stickers

Index cards with a picture of a snake or plane and a_e = /A/ on them.

Worksheets with various pictures of /A/ sounding objects: egg, face, bed, cake, wave, bike, plane, bat, snake, gate, crab, lake, grass, skate, rake, plate.



        1.  Introduce the lesson by explaining that words are made up of individual sounds.  “Each word is made up of many different sounds and when we
             combine the different sounds they make different words.  Today we are going to work on sounding out words with a_e = /A/ and making words
             with a_e = /A/.” 

  1. Tell students: “Think about going to a baseball game and imagine different things that go on at the game. Think again about the /A/ sound that we are learning about.  Can anyone think of words to describe baseball that make the /A/ sound?” (Ex. Players chase the ball, there is a first, second and third base, it is called a game, players on the same team work together, your jersey has your name on the back, sometimes players pretend to throw the ball and this is called a fake, they rake the red clay before every game, sometimes players are late to the game, you have team mates, sometimes you have to be brave when the ball pops up). These are all great examples of the /A/ sound. Let’s pretend we are throwing a baseball and while we throw our baseball, we are going to drag it out and say bAAAseball. Great Job!!! 
  1. “Let’s try a tongue twister.  “Jake hates to race because he makes a funny face.  Now let’s try it again and stretch out the /A/ sound.  JAAAke hAAAtes to rAAAce because he mAAAkes a funny fAAAce.  Good job.  One more time!”  
  1. “Now take out a piece of primary paper and your pencil.   Let’s practice writing lowercase a and e. (On the board write an a, then go through the following steps: for lowercase a, you start under the fence then you go around and touch the sidewalk, around and straight down. Then write an e, while explaining the following steps to make an e: for lowercase e get in the center of the space below the fence, go toward the door (right), up to touch the fence around and up.   I want to see everyone’s a and e.  After I place a snake or plane sticker on it, make a row of a’s and a row of e’s just like the first one.”  
  1. “We are going to listen for /A/ in some words that I am about to say.”  (Pass out index cards with snake and plane pictures on them.)  “When I say a word and you hear /A/ I want everyone to hold up their snake or plane card.  If you don’t hear /A/ then be sure to keep your cards down.”  Use the words lace, cab, get, apple, cake, sad, trade, hot, skate, jaw, sit, grate.  
  1. Read “ James and the Good Day.”  Tell the students to hold up their snake or plane card every time a word with the /A / sound is read.  
  1. For assessment, distribute the picture page and help students name each picture.  Students will then circle the pictures with the a_e = /A/ in their names.  


Eldridge, J. Lloyd (1995).  “Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.”  New Jersey: Merrill, 1995, pp.50-70.

 “James and the Good Day”.  Carson, CA: Educational Insights, 1990.

 Questions?  Email me!