Rationale: In order for children to learn to read and spell words, they must first learn that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out those phonemes in verbal language. Children have to recognize phonemes before they can match letters to phonemes. Even though the long vowel sounds are easy for children to understand, since the vowel says its name, they often have difficulty recognizing when to make the long vowel sound in a written word. This is because in order for the vowel to say its name, it has to be paired with another vowel which often confuses children since the second vowel remains silent. This lesson will help children identify /A/ (long a), one of the long vowels by focusing on a when paired with e with a letter in between. They will learn to recognize /A/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter, a symbol, and then practice finding /A/ in words.
Materials: Primary paper and pencil; worksheet for each child with, “Kate baked a cake with her playmate Nate,” written on it; magazines; Skate, Kate, Skate! (Educational Insights); drawing paper; crayons; grocery bag full of a toy rake, hat, cup, bait, skate, pencil, eraser, lace, and soap
1) Introduce the lesson by saying, “Today we are going to work on spotting the mouth move /A/ in written words. At first it may be hard to find, but after we learn and practice it, you will be able to identify it very easily.
2) Ask students: Have you ever done something really well and someone said, “That’s A-okay!”? That /A/ sound you hear in the /A/-ok/A/ is the mouth move we’re looking for in words. Let’s pretend we did something really great and say, “That’s /A/-ok/A/!” “That’s /A/-ok/A/!”
3) [Now pass out the tongue twister worksheet and pencils.] Now let’s try a tongue twister, “Kate baked a cake with her playmate Nate.” Eveyone say it together three times. This time stretch out the /A/ sound in each word and circle the a and the e each time you hear the /A/ sound.
4) [Pass out primary paper and have students take out a pencil.] “We can use the letters a and e (with any consonant in between) to spell /A/. First let’s review how to write an a. Start just below the fence, come up and touch the fence, go around and down to the sidewalk, come back up to where we started, and straight back down to the sidewalk. After I walk around the room to see you’re a’s and give you a star, I want you to make 5 more just like it.”
5) [Empty contents of grocery bag on table in front of room.] Call on students to come up to front of class, pick an object, and tell what it is. Now have the student tell if they heard the /A/ sound in the name of the object. Say: “Let’s see which objects we can spot the mouth move /A/ in. [Jane] come up and pick an object and say its name. Now tell us if you hear the mouth move /A/. Let’s all say it together and stretch out the /A/ sound if you hear one in the name of that object.”
6) Read Skate, Kate, Skate! And talk about the story. Read it again and have students clap once when they hear a word with /A/ in it and clap twice if they hear a word without /A/ in it. [Pass out drawing paper.] Then have each student pick a word form the book with the /A/ sound, draw a picture of it, then write a message using invented spelling. Display their work.
Assessment: For assessment, distribute magazines and have each student find one picture of something whose name has the long a sound and share it with the class.
Reference: Byrne, B., & Fielding-Barnsley, R. (1990). Acquiring the Alphabetic Principle. A case for teaching recognition of phoneme identity, Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 805-812j.
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