James Makes Cake

Beginning Reading

Jennifer Lilly

Once students have a basic knowledge of reading, they must learn to distinguish between long and short vowels. In addition, it is important that they understand correspondences can be seen in different ways and in different words. This lesson will review a=/a/ and introduce a_e=/A/ using instruction, worksheets, decodable books, and pseudo-words.

Materials: Dry erase board, two different color dry erase markers, worksheets (one per student), James and the Good Day (decodable text, one per child), note cards with the following pseudo-words: dake, fase, lat , gan  nape, labe, and jave, and dat


1. “Class, we already know that when we see a alone in a word, it makes the /a/ sound (a=/a/). Today we are going to find out what happens when there is an a, then a consonant, then an e at the end of the word (a_e=/A/).
(Write a_e on the board.) When you see this, the a says its name, /A/. Make sure to explain to the children that the e is silent but it helps the a say its name. For example, (add to what you previously wrote: sam) what does this letter say? (point to the ‘s’). Right, /s/. How about this letter? (Point to the ‘m’). Yes,  /m/.     Since there is an e at the end, what sound will the a make? /A/, very good. Let’s put it all together now- /s/ /A/  /m/.” Give the children more examples such as: make, fade, and game.

2. Next, write some words on the board for students to practice distinguishing between a=/a/ and a_e=/A/. Begin by writing ‘cam’ on the board and say, “What does this word say? Great,  /c/-/a/- /m/.” Use a different color marker to add an e to the end and ask, “What sound will the a make now? /A/, excellent job. Let’s read the word together. (Point to each letter as you read) /c/ /A/ /m/.”  During this process keep reminding the children that the e is silent, it helps the a say its name. With the same process practice with more words like: fat/fate,  at/ate, fad/fade, mad/made, can/cane, plan/plane, etc.

3. Give each student a worksheet with the following name and pictures: plane, rake, cane, grass, gate skate, crab, lamp and snake (clip- art can be found on the internet). Review the names and the pictures with the children. “Now I want you to write the correct word under each picture. “Make sure you are reading the whole word to make sure the e is telling the a to say its name.” “You can also look back at your word bank to make sure you are spelling the word correctly.” This activity reinforces the idea that the e at the end of each word is what makes the a long vowel sound.

4. Pass out copies of James and the Good Day Have the students read the book in pairs. “Class, I want you to read James and the Good Day with your partner. If you have a word that you cannot figure out, raise your hand and I will come help you.”

5. For assessment have each student come to your desk and read note cards with pseudo-words. Some words you can use include: dake, fase, lat , gan  dape, labe, and jave, and dat. This will review a=/a/ and a_e=/A/ and assure that each student knows the difference.


Cushman, S. & Kornblum, R. James and the Good Day. Educational Insights, Carson CA., 1990.
Fry, E.B., Kress,J.E. & Fountoukidis, D. L. (2000). The Reading Teacher’s Book of List: Fourth Edition. 
San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Roehm,S. http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insp/roehmbr.html


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Word List

plane       rake      cane

grass       gate      skate

crab        lamp     snake


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