Amy Cowhick
Emergent Literacy

A Doctor's Visit

Rational: To learn to read and spell words, children need the alphabetic insight that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words.  Before children can match letters to phonemes, they have to recognize phonemes.  Of all the phonemes, short vowels are probably toughest to identify.  This lesson will help children identify /a/ short a, one of the short vowels.  They will learn to recognize /a/ in spoken words by learning a  meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then practice finding /a/ in words.

Materials: Primary paper and pencil, chart with Adam wanted a cat to aggravate, picture paper with cat, apple, hat, bug, jet, and lip, A Cat Nap (Educational Insights)

 1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that sounds make up words.  "To learn how to read, we must learn the sounds the letters make and put the sounds together to make words."
 2. Ask students: "Have you ever been to a doctor that made you open your mouth and say aaaaaah?  Everybody pretend that you are at the doctor's office and say aaaaaah."
 3. "Let's try a tongue twister [on chart].  Adam wanted a cat to aggrevate.  Everybody say it tree times together.  Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /a/ at the beginning of  the words.  Aaadam wanted a caaat to aaaggravate.
 4. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil].  "We can use letter a to spell out /a/.   Let's write it.  Start a little below the fence.  Go up and touch the fence and down to the sidewalk.  Now back to where you started and go straight down to the sidewalk.  I want to see everybody's a.  After I put a smile on it, I want you to make nine more just like it.    When you see letter a all by itself in a word, that's the signal to say /a/."
 5. Call on students to answer and tell how they know: "Do you hear /a/ in cat or bug?   Mad or hog? Rag or rugPin or panBed or bag?"
 6. Read A Cat Nap and talk about the story.  Read it again, and have students raise their hands when they hear words with /a/.  List their words on the board.  Then have each student draw a cat and write a message about it using invented spelling.  Display their work
 7. For assessment, distribute the picture page and help students name each picture.  Ask each student to circle the pictures whose names have /a/.

Reference: Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Prentice Hall, Inc.   1995, p.184 (Appendix E).

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