Lindsay Moseley
Emergent Literacy

The Crying Baby

Rationale: Children need to be able to recognize phonemes first before they can connect letters and phonemes.  Phonemes are the smallest unit of sounds in our language.  Short vowels are some of the hardest phonemes to identify.  In this lesson children will learn to recognize /a/ in spoken words by learning an insightful representation and a letter symbol.

Materials: Elkonin boxes and letter manipulatives for the words at, am, cat, ham, rag, mat, hand, and flash {a, t, m, c, h, r, g, n, f, l, d}, the book A Cat Nap, a poster with a tongue twister, a poster with things that have the /a/ sound, paper, and crayons

1) I will introduce the lesson by telling the students that we often hear words that have the /a/ sound.  When letter a says /a/, we call this short a.  I will give the children examples of words that have the /a/ sound such as “cat” and “map”.  Can you say these words by really stressing the /a/ sound?  Good!

2) Ask students: Have you ever heard the /a/ sound that babies make when they cry?  That’s the mouth move that we are looking for in words.  “Now, let’s all pretend to be crying babies and say /a/.”  Nice job!

3) Let’s try a tongue twister.  “Andy and Ashley ate apples at school.”  Let’s all say it together several times.  Now, let’s try it again.  This time I want you to raise your hand every time you hear the /a/ sound.  Well done!

4) I want everyone to look at this poster.  Raise your hand if you can tell me which pictures have the /a/ sound in them.  Great!

5) All right class, now we will use our Elkonin boxes to spell some words.  Please get out your boxes and these letters (a, t, m,c, h, r, g, n, f, l, d).  Let’s spell at, am, cat, ham, rag, mat, hand, and flag.  I will tell the children how many boxes they need for each word.  I will also make sure that everyone has the correct spelling before moving on the next word.
6) Read “A Cat Nap” and discuss the story.  As you read, see how many words you can find with /a/ sound.

7) For assessment, I will ask the students to draw pictures of things that have the /a/ sound.  Each student will draw three pictures of things that have the /a/ sound using paper and crayons.  Display their work.

Reference: Murray, B.A. & Lesniak, T.  (1999).  The Letterbox Lesson: A Hands on Approach for Teaching Decoding: The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.

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