Jaclyn Kane
Emergent Literacy

Falling and Yelling!

Rationale:  In order for children to read words, they must learn that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words.  Vowels are some of the most important phonemes to recognize.  This lesson will teach the phoneme /a/=a.  The children will learn to recognize /a/ in spoken words, and recognize /a/ in written text.

Materials:  Primary paper, pencil, a picture worksheet with one picture with the /a/ sound and a picture without /a/ in the other column that the teacher will make up, crayons, chart with "All the ants ate apples when Ann asked", "A Cat Nap." from Educational Insights

Procedures:
1.  Start by introducing the lesson by telling the students that we are beginning to learn to read and will start with the sound /a/.  "We will listen to see how /a/ sounds when we say it.
2.  Ask the students:  "Have you ever seen a movie with a person falling?  They usually yell when they fall and the sound that they make is "aaaaaa".  Your turn, everyone pretend like you are falling and quietly say, "aaaaaa".  Lets try it in a real word.  Cat.  Listen for the /a/ sound.  C-aaaa-t.  Did you hear /a/?  It was in the middle of the word.  Listen again, c-aaa-t".
3.  Using the poster board with the tongue twister on it, the students will now begin to learn it and repeat it.  "Now we are going to try a tongue twister that is full of the /a/ sound.   Listen, All the ants ate apples when Ann asked."  The students will repeat it, then the teacher will break it off right after each /a/ sound: /a/ ll the /a/ nts ate (long a sound) /a/ pples when /a/ nn /a/ sked.  Have the kids try it also.
4.  Now have the students take out their primary paper and pencils.  "We are going to learn how to write the /a/ sound.  We use letter a to write the /a/ sound.  Start your pencil a little under the fence line.  Curve up and touch the fence, curve around and down to the sidewalk.  Curve over, and back up to the fence where you started.  Now, without lifting your pencil, draw straight down to the sidewalk.  I want to see everyone practicing their aâs.  I will walk around and make sure everyone is correctly making their aâs.  When you see the letter a, remember that it stands for /a/.
5.  Call on students to answer if they hear /a/ in certain words.  "Do you hear /a/ in cat or dog?  Apple or orange?  Box or bag?  Lip or lap?  Nag or beg?"
6.  Read the book "A Cat Nap" to the class.  Read the book a second time and have the students say /a/ when they hear words that have the /a/ sound.  Next, have the children draw a picture of a cat and write a message to you about their picture using invented spelling.
7.  For the assessment, the teacher will distribute the worksheet with pictures in two columns and the students will circle the pictures that have the /a/ sound.

Reference: Eldredge, J. Lloyd (1995).  Teaching Decoding in a Holistic Classroom.  New Jersey, Prentice Hall Inc. (pp. 41-44, 148-149).