Batter’s Up!

Emergent Literacy Design

Rebecca Walton



Rational:  “To approach the alphabetic significance of letters, children must gain conscious access to phonemes” (Adams).  Students must be able to identify letters and the phonemes they represent before they can learn to spell and read.  This lesson will help students identify /a/ (short a).  They will learn to identify /a/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then practice finding /a/ in words.


1. Primary paper and pencils for each student

2. Chart with “Sam the man sat on his mat with his fat cat to eat his yams and jam.”

3. Picture pages with cat, jam, apple, orange, dog, bat; drawing paper and crayons

4. Dr. Seus’s The Cat in the Hat


1.  Introduce the lesson by explaining that in order to learn to read, the students must be able pick out the sounds that letters make.  Our mouth moves in different ways when we say different letters.  Today, we are going to work on the sound the letter “a” makes.  By the end of the lesson, you will be able to pick out /a/ in different words.

2.  Ask students:  Have you ever been to a baseball game?  If so did you hear the umpire say, “Baaaaaaatter’s up”?  Let’s all say, “Baaaaaaaaaatter’s up!”     Feel the way your mouth moves when you say /a/ in batter’s. Now act like you are swinging a baseball bat, and say, “Baaaaaaaatter’s up!” 

3.  Let’s try a tongue twister [on chart].  “Andrew the alligator asked for apples.”  Everybody say it three times together.  Now say it again, and stretch the /a/ sound in the words.  “Aaaaaaaandrew the aaaaaaaaaaligator aaaaaasked for aaaaaaaples.”

4.  Have students take out primary paper and pencils.  We can use the letter a  to spell /a/.  Let’s write it. Don't start at the fence.  Start under the fence.  Go up and touch the fence, then around and touch the sidewalk, around and straight down (Reading Genie).  When you see the letter a in a word all by itself, you say /a/. 

5.  Read the words bad and sub to the class. Tell them you are going to pick the word with the /a/ sound.  Sound out bad slowly. “Baaaaaaad.”  Then, “suuuuuuub.”  I hear /a/ in bad.  When I said bad, I opened my mouth really big.  Call on students to answer and tell how they knew:  Do you hear /a/ in cat or dog?  Sat or sit?  Yams or pie? Give words in chart one by one.

6.  Read The Cat in the Hat and talk about the story.  Read it again, and have students raise their hands when they hear words with /a/.  List the words on the board.  Have each student draw big hat, and write words they can think of with the /a/ sound using invented spelling.

7.  For assessment, give a picture page of pictures with the /a/ sound and pictures that do not have the /a/ sound.  Ask students to circle the pictures that have the /a/.



Adams, M.J. (1990) Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning
      About Print
. pp. 53. Center for the study off
Reading and the Reading
      Research and
Education Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Auburn University Reading Genie Web Site. “Teaching Letter Recognition.”  


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