Aaaaa Choo!!

Elizabeth Zorn

Emergent Literacy

Rationale: It is very important for readers to begin by recognizing and identifying letters. This lesson focuses on /a/ (short a) and how to help children to identify this phoneme.  During this lesson students will learn to recognize /a/ in spoken words by learning a memorable representation and a letter symbol, as well as through practice locating /a/ in different words.

Chart with “Alex was angry because he did not get any of Abby’s apple pie”
Primary paper and pencil
Worksheet with illustrations for the words: bat, worm, big, small, jam, jelly, bus, van, black, blue, laugh, cry, cat, dog, pass, throw, short, tall, pack, box, nap, sit
Pat's Jam

1. Explain to students that in order to make the many different sounds in our language, we have to move our mouths in many different ways. We must be able to recognize written letters and match them up with their specific sound. Today we are going to focus on the letter a and the sound that goes with it, /a/. As you become more familiar with the sound /a/ and the way your mouth moves when you say that sound, it will help you to recognize it in written words as well as be able to hear it in spoken words.

2. Ask students: Can you describe what sound a sneeze makes? Right, it sounds like “Aaaaa choo!” Tell them that the sound for /a/ sounds like the beginning of a sneeze. Have the students focus on the “Aaaaa” part of a sneeze and tell them that this is the way our mouth makes the sound /a/. Your tongue is at the bottom of your mouth while your jaw drops and your mouth opens wide. Let’s pretend we are about to sneeze and put our hands near the front of our mouth and say /a/. We cover our mouths when we are about to sneeze. Today we are going to focus on this sound and listen for it in different words.
3. Now let’s try a tongue twister. I will hold this chart so that we can read the tongue twister together. The tongue twister is, “Alex was angry because he did not get any of Abby’s awesome apple pie.” Let’s all say it twice together. Now let’s say it again but this time stretch out our /a/ sound at the beginning of the words. “Aaalex was aaangry because he did not get aaany of Aaaby’s aaawesome aaapple pie.” Now let’s say it one more time by adding our gesture of a sneeze. Put you hand near your mouth, like you are about to sneeze, each time you hear /a/.

4. Now that we are more familiar with the sound /a/, I want us to focus on how to write this new letter. Everyone take out primary paper and a pencil. Let’s write a to spell /a/. Watch me first. Start a little below the fence and then curve up to the fence and then all the way around down to the sidewalk and then back up to where you started a bit below the fence. Now without lifting your pencil, draw a line straight back down to the sidewalk. Now I want to see everyone else try to write the letter a. I will draw a star by the one that I like and then I want you to draw 9 more just like the one I put a star next to.

5. Now I am going to say different words and have the students spot /a/ and tell me which words they notice with that sound. First, I will say both words together, then I will say raise your hand if you hear /a/ in the first word or the second word. Do you hear /a/ in bat or worm? Big or small? Jam or jelly? Bus or van? Black or blue? Laugh or cry?

6. Have any of you ever seen a rat before? Well this book is about two rats that are friends. After they go grocery shopping, they realize their van is out of gas. You will have to read Pat’s Jam to find out what they do without any gas. We will then read Pat’s Jam and talk about the story. Then we will read it a second time and I will have students make the sneeze gesture every time they hear words with /a/. I will record their list of words on the board.

7. Assessment: I will distribute the worksheet with words and pictures and I will ask the students to color only the pictures whose names have /a/.

Ashley Biggee, Aaaaa! Ashley’s Scared of /a/!

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