Learning: Phonemic Awareness)
by Mark Mathews
This lesson is designed to help children with the crucial ability to distinguish sounds in words. The sound in this case is a = /a/. Phonemic awareness is one of the best predictors for fluent reading, and thus comprehension. The activities are designed to let students practice locating sounds in modeled words, and then to find the sounds themselves in words from picture tablets.
primary paper, pencils, poster board with “Alphabetic Action for /a/ is Cat Nap” boldly displayed, animal pictures to place on board (Velcro or felt), handouts with pictures of various animals the children will immediately recognize, A Cat Nap by Sheila Cushman, card or diagram of the letter a
students to reading rug or sit them on the floor
in front of you.
poster board behind you, and have other materials
close at hand.
3) Begin to access
prior knowledge by talking about sounds in words and playfully get them
respond with questions like “which words have the same sound: dog, bat,
to the students in age-appropriate language
that learning to identify sounds helps us all read faster, and more
up the a card or diagram,
“Today the sound we
are all going to practice is the short /a/ sound, can you all say that
Aaaaaaaaa. Very good.
A good friend of mine is going to help us
remember that sound, and my friend is a small furry animal with the /a/
in its name. Can you guess what animal
I’m talking about?”
6) Let them guess for about 10 seconds, and if
them guesses correctly give them these choices:
doggy, fish, cat, birdy
7) “That’s right, it’s a cat!”
Hold up A
Cat Nap and ask them if they remember what happens in the story.
all know what a mess our cat almost gets into in
the story, but this time when I read it to you I want you to make this
when you hear the /a/ sound, ok? Show
them the gesture: tilt head to side,
with hands together rest head on them … it’s the “nap” symbol. Model this while saying the tongue twister on
the board behind you.
matching the gesture with the sound. If
some students don’t get it, have a student
that does stand up and demonstrate.
10) Read A Cat Nap and monitor how well they
are picking up on the correspondence.
your animal pictures, place them up on the board one by one. As you place each on the board look back to
the children and say the name very clearly, and drag out the /a/ sound
exists. Make sure to make the ‘nap’
gesture if it does.
the students follow along with animals as you place them on your board. If they get it, then move on.
If they are still struggling with the
correspondence keep putting up animals.
the students at their desks, and pass out the sheets with animal
them. Have them get out primary paper
job is to quietly sound out the names of the animals by picture, and if
sound is there they circle the animal, and write the animal’s name down
their own paper as best they can.
Invented spelling is fine. We’re
not worried about correct spelling just yet, just the correspondence of
for animals with the /a/ sound: cat,
alligator, rat, parrot, rabbit, kangaroo.
Suggestions for animals without the /a/ sound:
dog, fish, snake, bear, squirrel
16) Collect papers and quickly thumb through to see if there were any animals that were consistently not circled and had the /a/ sound, or consistently circled and did not have the /a/ sound. Review those animals names and get the children to model the ‘nap’ gesture if they hear it.
Cushman, Sheila. (1990) A Cat Nap. Educational Insights.
Earl, Laura. Abby’s Alligator
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