How ĎBout Them Apples?
                                                                         Beginning Reading

                                                                               Mitzi Milam


It has been noted that many children find it difficult to recognize and use the short-vowel sounds. Since the short-vowels appear regularly in our language it is important for children to grasp and understand which sounds correspond to which letters and how each functions.  This particular lesson focuses on reviewing the correspondence a=/a/ and using it correctly when reading words.  A section also aims at assisting children in identifying words both ith and without the a=/a/ correspondence.


1) chart paper with tongue twister on it
2) large tub of water
3) apple that have the words tapes on them
4) dry erase board/marker
5) copies of the books (Cat Nap)
6) lined tablet paper/pencils


1) Start the lesson by telling the children that we will learn more about our writing system by unfolding, which letters stand for which sounds.  Today we are going to have a lot of fun by learning what sounds we sometimes hear when we see the letter a.  Then when we see the letter throughout the day we will be able to recognize it.  How exciting!

2)  If any of you have a younger brother or sister you have probably heard them make this sound. (demonstrate the a=/a/ phoneme) That is the sound we hear sometimes when a baby is crying.  Now, why donít you try it by stretching it out.  Just imagine you are a little baby again.  Letís say it together. (teacher and children make the sound)

3)  O.K. great job! Now letís try a tongue twister. (on chart paper) ď Annie ate apples at Adamís apartment.  Now everybody say it together.  This time say it and stretch the /a/ at the beginning of each word like this, Aaannie aaate aaaples aaat Aaadamís aaapartment. ( children say the tongue twister) Great job!  Try it again, but this time break the sound off the word like this, /a/nnie /a/te /a/pples /a/t /a/damís  /a/partment. Excellent!

4)  You all are doing a great job. Now letís play a game.  I have a large tub of water that has several apples in it.  I want you to each either bob for or just pick up one apple from the tub.  (explain what bobbing for apples means; take the time to have each child go one at a time to get an apple)

5) Each of the apples in your hands has a word taped around it.  Some of them have words that have the /a/ sound when you say them.  There are also some apples that do not have a word that has the /a/ sound in them.  Read your word on your apple and decide if the word has the /a/ sound in it.  The apple that I picked from the tub of water is saaad.  I do hear the /a/ sound! Now if you think your word has the /a/ sound stand up, but if you think it does not sit down. (have some of the children volunteer to say their word and talk about it with the entire class)

6) Write different words on the dry erase board and have the class as a whole decide which words have the /a/ correspondence and which ones do not. (make sure the words have several different phonemes also so there will be a variety of words that are not mimicked)

7) Have several copies of a book that contains the /a/ correspondence that is developmentally appropriate.  Have children get in groups of three or four and read/ talk about the book and the words that are included in the book. (possible book could be one of the short vowel phonics reader books)

For the assessment have children practice writing the words from the ones on the dry erase board that contain the /a/ correspondence.  For further understanding the children can circle the actual correspondence in the words that they have written that do contain /a/. (have students also read the a=/a/ words)


Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Ohio; Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1995. (149)

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