Marcia Burt
Emergent Literacy

Allison The Picky Alligator

 In order for children to be able to read and write, they must be able to distinguish the individual sounds in words. These sounds are called phonemes. Phonemes are the basic vocal gestures from which the spoken words of language are constructed. It is essential that children learn these sounds while they are learning to read. They need to be able to distinguish separate phonemes in words. This lesson is going to work on the phoneme /a/. Children will complete an activity in which they hear the phoneme /a/ repeatedly, and will use a song to reiterate the sound.

 Alligator cut out of green poster board with a clear plastic bag belly. Fish shapes cut out of various color construction paper. On the fish, these words will be written: bat, fat, hip, flap, cats, bird, apple, lid, robe, rack. The Cat Nap book, chart with song on it, chalk, chalkboard, pencils, primary paper, and assessment worksheet.


1.) An introduction of the lesson will be made by the teacher, who will explain that words are made up of letters that represent different sounds. It is very important to know what sounds the letters stand for when learning to read. Another thing that is very important is being able to identify the sounds in words. Today we are going to work on the short a = /a/ sound. That sound is in many words and once we learn it, you will notice it in many words.

2.) The first thing we are going to do is make the short /a/ sound. The short /a/ makes the sound of a crying baby. It says, /aaaaaaa/. Now lets all say that together. The class will say that together. /aaaa/. Now we are going to sing a song. I am going to sing it and then you are going to sing it.
Where is short /a/? Where is short /a/?
Here I am. Here I am.
I am in a hat rack. I am in a hat rack.
Cracker jacks and fat cats.  Cracker jacks and fat cats.
/a/, /a/, /a/. /a/,/a/,/a/.
Very good.

3.) Now, I would like you to raise your hand if you see a word in this song that has the short /a/ sound. When a child raises their hand, they will then be asked to come to the board and circle the word. Continue this until all short /a/ words have been circled. Great!
4.) The class has done a good job at saying the short /a/ sound. We are going to work with Allison the Alligator. Allison will only eat fish that have the short /a/ sound on them. The teacher will hold up a fish and ask the class what the word on the fish is. Then she will ask if that word has the short /a/ sound. If it does the teacher will feed the fish to Allison. There is a bag in Allisonís belly that will show the words with the short /a/ sound in there.

5.) The class will do this activity until all of the fish have been categorized. Tell the students that the fish that were not eaten will be used later on in another activity.

6.) Now we are going to practice writing the letter a. Pass out primary paper and pencil. Let us practice writing the sound /a/ by writing the letter a. I am going to do it first and then you can try it.
· Start a little under the fence.
· Curve up and touch the fence.
· Go towards the left window and draw a curve down to the sidewalk.
· Curve over and back up to the fence where you started.
· Without lifting your pencil, draw straight down to the sidewalk.
Model each instruction given. I want everyone to practice writing that sound five times. I will go around and see how well you wrote youíre aís. It is pretty exciting that now when you see an a in a word you will know how to move your mouth and it will signal you what to say. Each of you knows how to write the letter a now.

7.) Teacher will give a short book talk about Cat Nap and will read it to the class. Now I am going to read that story again and when you hear a word with the short /a/ sound I want you to raise you hand. List the words they chose on the board.

8.) An assessment activity would be to pass out a worksheet with different pictures on it. If the picture is a word that has the /a/ sound the students will color it.

· Cushman. Cat Nap. Education Insights, Carson, 1990
· Murray, Bruce A. (1998). Gaining Alphabetic Insight: Is Phonemic Manipulation Skill or Identity Knowledge Causal? Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 461-475
· Terrana, Kelly. Emergent Literacy Design. http://

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