Letís Begin
Rationale:  Beginner readers need to be able to understand the alphabetic code in order to read.  There are many sounds, called phonemes that are made by different movements of the mouth.  This lesson will help children be able to identify the correspondence a=/a/.  They will learn to read and spell words with the /a/ sound by a letterbox lesson and by reading a new book.

Materials:  Elkonin letterboxes for students and teacher; letters: a, r, t, v, n, h, m, g, s; index cards with the words rat, van, ham, hat, mat, gas on them; writing tablet and pencil, Patís Jam (book).

Procedures:
1. Introduce the lesson by explain that letters make different sounds.  We need to be able to match sounds with their letters to be successful readers.  We are going to learn how the letter a makes the /a/ sound.
2. Hold up the letter a.  This little a can make the /a/ sound when it is by itself or in the middle of a word.  Can you make the sound /a/?  Thatís great.
3. Letís try a tongue twister.  ďPat and Sam like jamĒ.  Letís say it together and stretch out the /a/ sounds.  PPPaaattt Yep, you found it! Next oneÖí
4. Model on the board how to write the letter a.  Make a little c and draw a small line from the middle to the ground.  Letís practice on your writing paper.  Walk around and assist any student.
5. We are going to practice spelling some words with the /a/ sound.  Get out your letterboxes and Iíll pass out letters.  Raise your hand when you are finished and Iíll come by and check your spelling. Letís begin with rat, next is van, ham, hat, mat, and gas.  That was a great job.  Now put up your boxes and Iíll get the letters.  Now Iím going to spell some words and I want you to raise your hand when you know the words.  (Spell the words on board that they just spelled.)
6. Studentís reading the book Patís Jam.  Introduce the book.  Pat and her friend Pam went to the grocery store.  When they were ready to leave something happened.  Letís find out what that was.
7. On a piece of paper have the students to write the words that are called out to them.  Write five of the words used earlier for the test.  Collect papers and grade to determine if students understood the lesson.

Reference: Murray, B.A & Lesniak, T. (1999).  The Letterbox Lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding.  The Reading Teacher, 644-650.

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Jaclyn Mitchell