Shake with A
Emily Borders
Beginning Reading


Rationale:  Once a student has learned short vowel correspondences, they should begin to learn long vowel ones.  Mastering the long vowel correspondences can be tough because there are so many for each letter, but as long as they remember that two letters can pair to make a single sound, it will be less complicated.  This lesson is designed to teach children ai says /A/ and ay says /A/;it will review a=/a/ as well.  The students will practice A in a letterbox lesson.


Materiels:  1.  Letterboxes for each child.

Set of laminated letter tiles for each child (d,a,y,l,p,w,k,f,r,I,t,s,b,c,i  )

Copy of James and the Good Day for each child

Teacher overhead letterboxes and letters

Pseudo Word Flash card sets for partners

overhead projector



 “We already know a lot about the letter A.  Can anyone remind me of a sound letter a makes. (students say a=/a/) Good, we also learned what a says when it is followed by another letter and an e.  Can anyone tell me? (/A/)  I am so glad you remember.  Today, we are going to learn about two more combinations of letters that say /A/.  The first is ai.  When you see a and I side by side in a word, you will know that it says /A/.  Look at this word: rain.  When I see the ai, I immediately know it says /A/.  When I put the /r/ at the beginning and the /n/ at the end, I get the word rain.  Now you try.  Pail.  (Students say pail).  Very good.

2.  When you see ay in a word, it also says /A/.  Look at this word: bay.  I know the ay says /A/.  When I put the /b/ in front of it , I get the word bay.  Now you try: hay.  (Students say the word hay).”

  1. Next, explain what the letterboxes are for, and pass them out as well as the letter tiles.  Make sure the children understand that only one sound goes in each box.  “I am going to get you to spell some words now.  (Model the word pain in the teacher letterboxes on the overhead). 

Words:  2(day), 3(laid, play, wake, fray, wait) 4(stray, black, trail)

  1. Next, explain to the children that you are going to spell some words and they will read them back to you.  (Model with the word pain).  Give the student 5 seconds to sound the word out, and then ask all students to say the word together.

Words:  2(day), 3(laid, play, wake, fray, wait) 4(stray, black, trail)

  1. Give each student a copy of James and the good day. Introduce the book:  James wakes up and decides it is going to be a great day!  When he starts the bathtub with plans to play with his boats, something happens.  Will it ruin his good day?  Lets find out! Allow the student to readsilently.  If they encounter any problems, have them raise their hand and wait for teacher assistance.
  1. For the final activity, have the students read pseudo words from flashcard to teacher.

.  Sample words:  main, fay, kaid, chay, taish


Assesment:  To be done throughout the lesson by the teacher.



Sara Roehm, Jake Makes Cake

 James and the Good Day, Educational Insights, 1990

Murray, BA & Lesniak, T.  (1999) The Letterbox Lesson, A Hands On Approach for Teaching Decoding.  The Reading Teacher.

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