By Mary Cox Brown

Rationale­ Before children can learn to read, they must be able to identify phonemes in words.  This lesson identifies the phoneme /a/.  The children will learn an important representation of the letter symbol for a.  They will also practice finding /a/ in words in a story, and practice finding words with /a/ in a song.  

Materials­ poster with "The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss", primary paper and pencil, drawing paper and crayons, picture page (by the teacher) of cat, rat, apple, pig, cow, bat, cap, fan,  A Cat Nap (Educational Insight)

Procedures ­ 

  1. Introduce the lesson by making the children excited about learning a new sound and letter .  Explain that it is important how we move our mouths when we say words, because different mouth moves can produce different words.  Today we will introduce the mouth move for /a/.  I would want to encourage them that it might feel funny at first, but eventually our mouths will get used to the mouth move.
  2. Ask students, "Have you ever heard someone say "Gazunheit" when you sneeze?  When you say "Gazunheit " it is the same thing as saying "Bless you"   What sound do you make when you sneeze! (Achoo) Can you hold you mouth open like when you begin to sneeze.  /a/..........  (Good ­ now stop your sneeze right in the middle).  This is the way we say /a/./a/ is a very important sound and is usually found in the middle of our words. 
  3. Now that we know the sound the /a/ makes  i want each of you to try to think of a word that has an /a/ in it.  I will get you started.  Cat does that have an /a/ in it.  What about dad does that have a /a/.  now that i have given you an idea think of a word that might have an /a/ in it.  
  4. (Have students hold up their pencil and pull out their primary paper).  "Okay, now we are going to practice writing /a/.  I will show you how to write little letter a.  Start a little below the fence, and curve up to touch the fence just a little bit.  Then, keep circling around and touch the sidewalk and curve back up towards the fence.  You will want to go straight to the side walk from here and not pick your pencil up. ( I will model writing the letter step by step on the board).  I want everyone to practice writing this letter.  I will be walking around to make sure everyone is  writing a right.  Once  i put   a  check mark on your paper, i want you to  write a five more times.  
  5. ( The following questions i will ask individually and call on different people to answer)  Do you hear /a/ in dog or cat?  Bag or Box?  apple or orange?  mat or mug?  ship or plane?    .
  6. Now we will sing a song about our sound /a/.  It goes to the tune of "Skip to My Lou". I will sing it one time and I want you to listen and the next time I want you to join in with me.  Don't forget to look for our mouth move. 
  7. (Do a brief book talk about "Cat Nap".  I will ask the children to raise their hands when they hear our mouth move.  I will then list the words on the board.  The children will then color a picture of a  cat and write  a short messge below.  They will  each have a chance to show the class their work.
  8. For assessment, give the children the picture pages with different objects on it.  As a class, point at the pictures and ask the children to identify them.  Ask them to color in the objects with the /a/ sound, but to leave the others blank.  (Pictures of cat, rat, pig, apple, cow, bat, cap, fan on the picture pages)
Reference Kelly Starr: