It’s May, Let's Play!

Beginning Reading
Rachel Edmundson


Rational: For students to learn how to read, they must know about digraphs. A digraph is what is made when 2 or more letters, with individual sounds, are combined to make a new, single sound. This helps students learn to read more fluently. In this lesson students will learn that ay = /A/. This will be taught through tongue twisters, identifying /A/ in spoken and written language.


Materials: Pencils, a copy of the book, Ray and the Blue Jay, chart paper with the tongue twister “I say, can we play because it is a day in May?” Elkonin Letter Boxes, alphabet letters for each student, oversized letterbox set to be used for whole class modeling, a picture page used for assessment with pictures of a child playing, a person praying, someone paying, daytime, and then pictures of non ay words such as swimming, kicking, reading, and raindrops.



  1. Today we are going to learn about “a” and “y” and the sounds they make when they are together. Lets put “a” and “y” together in a tongue twister.
  2. I want you to look up at this paper (pointing to chart paper with tongue twister) and listen as I read this tongue twister on the paper. Listen for our ay= /A/ sound in our tongue twister.  Read “I say, can we play because it is a day in May?” What words did we hear with our ay=/A/? Let me say that again and I am going to listen for ay= /A/.” I saayy, can we plaayy because it is a daayy in Maayy?” What did we hear with ay=/A/? That’s right! Say, play, day, and may! Ok lets say the tongue twister together and stretch out our ay=/A/ words. “I saaaayyyyy, can we plaaaayyyy because it is a daaayyyyy in Maaaayyyyy?” Great job! I am going to read a question and I want you to raise your hand when you think you know the answer the question. Ok lets start….
    1. I am a month of the year that has the /A/ sound. That’s right Maaaayyyyyy
    2. I am on a farm and animals like to eat me for food. Great, Haaayyyyy
    3. It is what we do outside at recess. That’s right, we plaaayyyy!
  3. Now lets practice reading and spelling words that contain ay=/A/.  Teacher will hang up her enlarged size letter boxes on the board and invite the students to take out their letterboxes and letters.  The enlarged letter boxes will be used for the purpose of modeling to the students.  First, I am going to spell out some letters in my boxes on the board and I want to see if you can read it.  Remember, I am going to put one mouth move in each box so our ay letters will be in one box because they make one sound.  Our first word is hay.  We should use on two letterboxes.  H-ay.  Now I am going to call out words and I would like for everyone to spell them out in their letterboxes.  Some sample ay words for a letterbox lesson along with some review words are as follows:  mad, way, wash, sway, cave, slay, same, stray.  When you are finished spelling the word, raise your hand so I can come around to see how you did.  As the teacher is walking around she will make sure students know when to add boxes.  After the students have spelled out all the words in the boxes, the teacher will post the spellings of the words on the board and have the class read them aloud together.

  4. I think you all have a great grasp on the ay=/A/ correspondence. Now I want to read a book, and I want us to raise our hands every time we hear our new ay= /A/ sound! Lets read Ray and the Blue Jay. Does anyone hear our new sound in the title? Yep, that’s right! In Ray and Jay!!
  5. Students will read story in pairs
  6. For assessment, I will distribute a picture page (see materials).  I will help the students name the pictures on the page.  After we have named each picture, I would like for everyone to circle the pictures whose names have the ay=/A/ correspondence.





1.The Reading Genie website:


2. “ ‘A’ What did you say?” by Kim Willis:

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