Caroline Cox
Emergent Literacy
Crying Baby
Rationale: Children need to understand phonemes in order to be successful with phonics, spelling, word recognition and of course reading. A child must be able to isolate phonemes before they can read. To learn and spell words, children need to understand that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out the phoneme sequence in spoken words.  This lesson will help students identify /a/. Students will learn to recognize /a/ in letter symbol, and then will practice finding /a/ in spoken words. Vowels are the most difficult for the children to identify.  Since /a/ is an extremely common sound in the English language, children need to learn to identify this sound in early stages of reading. This lesson will also help the children learn to write the letter a. This will enhance their ability to use the /a/ correspondences in words.

Materials: Primary paper and pencil; Board with "Alice asked if Annie's active animals were angry"; drawing paper and crayons; Worksheet with illustrations of bug, bag, cup, hat, tag, and a nut. The book Cat Nap.  An ant cut out on construction paper with basket cut- outs containing the words bug, bag, nut, hat, dog, tag.

Procedures: Introduce the lesson by explaining reading and writing are  necessary actions. Everyone must learn how to read and write. Today we are going to work on spotting the mouth move /a/. At first /a/ may seem hidden in words, but as you get to know it, you'll be able to spot /a/ in all words.

"How many of you have a baby brother or sister? Can you tell us what he or she does when he/she wants something? That's right they cry! I know we have all heard a baby cry. It sounds like Aaaaa! Now let me hear you. Stretch it out and see if you say, /a/, like a crying baby. I'll try bag  b-a-a-a-a-a  g. There I said the crying baby sound."

"Lets try a tongue twister. Alice asked if Annie's active animals were angry. Everybody say it together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /a/ at the beginning of the words. Aaaaalice aaaasked if Aaaaanie's aaaaactive aaaanimals were aaangry
Try it again, and this time break /a/ off each word

"We can use letter a to spell /a/. Let's write it down. First you start at the rooftop, go down the slide to the sidewalk, then down the slide the other way, and cross at the fence. For lowercase a, 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. I want to see everybody's a. After I put a heart by your paper, I want you to make a row of a's just like you have done. When you see letter a all by itself in a word, that's the signal to say /a/."

" Do you hear /a/ in bag or purse? back or arm? crab or fish?"

"Since the class has done a great job at saying the short /a/ sound we are going to work with Alice the ant. Alice will only eat picnic baskets with words containing the short /a/. The teacher will hold up a basket and ask the class what the word on the basket is. Then she will ask if that word has a short /a/ sound. If it does the teacher will feed the basket to Alice. If it does not then it stays in the park."

Introduce a Cat's Nap through a book talk. "Tab is a cat and Sam is a man. To find out all of the things they do, let's read the book." Have each child listen carefully to the story and give a thumbs up when they hear /a/ in a word.

Assessment: I will distribute a picture page and help the students name each picture. Then I will have the students circle the pictures that contain the /a/ sound. I will ask students if they hear /a/ in bag or purse? cat or dog? crab or fish?

Nancy Williams, Aaah!·. The Baby is Crying at:
Amanda Starnes, The Baby Says AAAAAAAA at
Cushman. Cat Nap. Education Insights, Carson, 1990.