"Aaaaaaaaa!" The baby cried.

Beginning Reading

Ashley Farrow

Rationale:  This lesson will teach students learning how to read how to say the short a sound by associating it with a baby crying.  Learning the sound a phoneme makes is one of the first steps to learning how to read.

Materials: letter boxes, primary paper, letter tiles (a,t,h,m,p,d,r,g,c,l,s,s,f,b,n), poster with tongue twister written on it (listed below), white board, overhead/document cam, worksheet (listed at the bottom of the page), books for each student (A Cat Nap)



1.     Introduce the lesson by telling the students that the written language is like a secret code that we have to figure out in order to read. Also, explain to the students that all letters make different sounds and we move our mouth a certain way to make those sounds. "Today class we are going to learn about the /a/ sound.

2.    Do any of you have any younger brothers or sisters?  If you do then I am sure you have heard them cry.  What sound do they make when they cry?  That's right "aaaaaaaa!" That is the correct mouth shape to make the sound for short a.

3.    Next show the students their tongue tickler.  "Andrew and Alice asked if Annie's active animals were agitated." Let's all say it together.  After this tell students that we will say it again and if they hear the /a/ sound in a word to hold up their hand. (repeat tongue twister) Now have students stretch out the /a/ sound. (Ex: Aaaaaandrew aaaand Aaaaalice…) Good Job!

4.     Now, I would like everyone to take out their letter box tiles so that we can spell some words with /a/ in them.  (Words include: 2-at, 3- hat, map, mad, rag 4- class, flag, band 5- stamp) (letter tiles needed: a,t,h,m,p,d,r,g,c,l,s,s,f,b,n) I want everyone to watch closely as I spell out the word stand with my letter boxes.  (First sound out the word slowly as you pick up your letters, then place them into the correct letter boxes , one for each letter)  Now, as I call out words, I want each of you to spell the words in your letter boxes. (Walk around observing as you call out the words to make sure that all students understand the task. Go over each word after enough time has passed.  The teacher should also use the word in a sentence for the students.)  After spelling the words, have students read words aloud from the board together as a class.

5.     Now the student's will read A Cat Nap.  Tell them that the /a/ sound is in this book and they need to watch for it.  Give a short book talk: "Tab is Sam's cat.  Tab likes to sleep in Sam's baseball bag.  Will Tab end up being forgotten in the bag?  We will have to read to find out!"

6.     You can have the students read by themselves or partner read.  Be sure to walk around and observe while students are reading.

7.    Next, ask the students to take out their primary paper and pencils. "We are going to practice writing /a/ on our primary paper. Start at the fence, make a circle only going as far as the ground, and then draw a straight line from the fence down to the ground (model for the students).  I would like each of you to practice writing this letter several times on your paper."

8.     Finally pass out a worksheet. This worksheet is on whether or not children understand the phoneme for the letter a. This will serve as the assessment piece. (listed in resources)

Resources: Letterbox lesson:  Murray, B.A. & Lesniak, T. (1999). The Letterbox Lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650

Book: A Cat Nap. Educational Insights, 1990.


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