Copycat, Copycat!
Angel Moore

Rationale:  In order for children to learn to read and spell words, they must first learn which letters stand for which phonemes.  There are some letters that stand for more than one phoneme.  Children need to learn when to use which phoneme in order to be able to read and spell words.  This lesson will help children identify when to use the mouth move /s/ for c and when to use the mouth move /k/ for c when the see them in written words.

Materials:  Elkonin letter boxes (D. B. Elkonin); letters: {p, a, c, e, n, i, m, t, w, l, s}; worksheets with words cat, lace, camp, race, face, place, clasp, twice, nice, can, and pace and letters s and k out beside each word; primary paper; pencils; sets of class cards: one with s on one side and k on the other, and the other with beginning on one side and within on the other; book: Race Camp (Moore Books); black board, chalk

Procedures:
1) Introduce lesson by saying, “Today we’re going to work on when to say /s/ or /k/ when we see the letter c in words. The letter c is a copycat letter.  Sometimes it acts like a k and makes the mouth move /k/, and sometimes it acts like an s and makes the mouth move /s/.  We need to learn how to recognize when c acts like a k and when it acts like an s in written words.  At first it might be hard to determine when to make which sound, but after we learn and practice, you will be able to do it very easily.”

2) Write the words CAT and RACE on the board, then ask students:  “Do you hear the sound /k/ in cat or race?”  “Do you hear the sound /s/ in cat or race?”  Then explain that, “When you see c at the beginning of a word it usually makes the /k/ sound as in the word CAT. When you see c by itself (that is, when it isn’t paired with h, or k) somewhere within a word it usually makes the /s/ sound as in the word RACE.  Now say these words, seperating the mouth move made by the letter c from the rest of the word. C-at  ra-Ce.”  “C-at  ra-Ce.”

3) Pass out Elkonin letter boxes and letters.  Have students spell words in letterboxes.  “After I call out the word I want each of you to spell it in your letterboxes as I walk around the room to check your work.”  Words: {pace, can, nice} 3, {camp, twice, place} 4, {clasp} 5.  Letters: {p, a, c, e, n, i, m, t, w, l, s}

4) Write the words, CAP, CANE, LACE, CAT, FACE, and CAMP on the board.   “Now as I point to the word let’s say what sound the c makes in that word, then tell me whether the letter c is at the beginning, or within the word.” (ie.  CAP ­ “/k/, beginning”; LACE ­ “/s/, within”).

5) “Let’s review how to write the letter c.  Start just below the fence, come up and touch the fence, curve around and go all the way down to the sidewalk, and come up just above the sidewalk.  After I walk around to see your c’s and give you a star, I want you to make five more just like it.  Sometimes c makes the mouth move /k/ and sometimes c makes the mouth move /s/.”

6) [Pass out cards ­ s and k, and beginning and within.]  Read the book: Race Camp and talk about the story.  Read it again and have students hold up the card with letter that the c is copying in that word in one hand, and hold up the card that tells where the c is found in the word in the other hand each time they hear a word with the mouth move /s/ or /k/ in it.  (Note: Anytime the sounds /s/ or /k/ are heard in this book, the sound is represented by the letter c.)

Assessment:  For assessment, pass out worksheets and have students read the words then circle either a “k” or an “s” according to which letter the c is copying in that word. Words on worksheet: cat, lace, camp, race, face, place, clasp, twice, nice, can, pace.

Reference: Murray, B., & Lesniak, T. (1999).  Teaching Reading.  The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-656.

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