3-2-1 ACTION! 

Kasey Pettus

 movie camera


Rationale:  Children need to have an understanding of phoneme identity in order to be successful with spelling and word recognition.  It is important that children learn that phonemes are represented by letters and that spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words.  Children need to be able to identify phonemes in words before they learn to read and spell words.  Short vowels are especially important to be able to identify and often to most difficult to identify for children.  This lesson will help students identify a = /a/ (short a).  From this lesson, children will learn to recognize the /a/ sound in spoken and written words through a meaningful representation.  Students will practice saying a tongue twister, reading a book that highlights the use of the short a sound and will practice finding the /a/ correspondence in spoken words. 


Materials:  -primary paper and pencil

-the book A Cat Nap (Educational Insights)

-sentence strip (“Allie the alligator from Alabama dropped her apples”)

-picture page with illustrations of: hat, dog, cat, shoes, baseball bat, and bug



1.  Begin lesson by explaining that some sounds are hard to identify in our language.  Some letters are especially tricky learning how to make the mouth movements for them.  Today we are going to learn how to identify and make the mouth movement for a = /a/.  It may be difficult to identify at first, but it will become easier to find the more we practice.


2.  Has anyone ever seen a person with a video camera, and right before he/she turns it on, they yell “3-2-1 ACTION!”?  Have the student s repeat 3-2-1 ACTION to demonstrate the /a/ sound.


3.  Now let’s try saying the tongue twister on the sentence strip , “Allie the alligator from Alabama dropped her apples.”  Everyone say it together now.  Good.  Now say it again, but this time stretch out the /a/ at the beginning of the words and put your hands on your cheeks to feel the shape your mouth takes.  Aaaaallie the aaaaalligator from Aaaaalabama dropped her aaaaapples.


4.  Have the students take out their primary paper and pencil.  Explain that the /a/ sound is represented by the letter a.  Now, for a lowercase a, don’t start at the fence, but just below it.  Go up and touch the fence, then around and touch the sidewalk, then keep moving around and make a straight line back down to the sidewalk.  I am going to walk around to make sure you are writing your ‘a’ correctly.  If I give you a checkmark, then I want you to continue writing the ‘a’ until you fill up a whole line on your paper.  When you see the letter ‘a’ by itself in a word, it’s the signal to say /a/.


5.  Call randomly on students to answer questions about the phoneme they just learned.  Do you hear /a/ in mit or mat?  Good or bad?  Mom or Dad?  Happy or Upset?


6.  Read A Cat Nap.  Tab is a fun cat who takes a lot of naps.  One day, Tab climbs into his friend, Sam’s bag.  When Sam grabs his bag to go to his baseball game, he is unaware that Tab is inside.  To find out what happens to Tab, you will have to read A Cat Nap.  Read the story again and have the children clap when they hear /a/.


7.  Assessment:  I will distribute a picture page to each child and have them circle the picture that contains the /a/ sound.




-Margaret Beason  “Aaa-Aaa-Aaa-Choo!!”



-Kristin Herren  “Aaaaa! You Scared Me!”   http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/guides/herrenel.html


-A Cat Nap.  Educational Insight.

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