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"Yay, I hear an A!"

A beginning Reading lesson

Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence a__e=/A/.  According to Adams, "letter recognition and phonemic awareness are the two greatest predictors of future reading ability," so in order for children to be successful readers, they must be able to recognize the letters in written words as well as the sounds that accompany those letters. In this lesson children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling a__e=/A/, and they will learn a meaningful representation (an excited boy saying, "Yay, I hear an A!"). In addition, they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on words containing the a__e=/A/ correspondence.

Materials: Graphic image of the excited boy; cover-up critter; individual Elkonin boxes for each student; whiteboard magnetic Elkonin boxes for teacher; letter manipulatives for each student and magnetic letter manipulatives for teacher of all the following letters: f, a, c, e, p, k, s, t, l, m, p, r; list of spelling words on whiteboard for students to clearly see: face, pack, skate, lamp, and scrape; decodable text: James and the Good Day; and assessment worksheet.

Procedure:

1. Say: Okay, today we are going to learn about the long a (/A/) sound. It is very important that we learn all the different letters in our language and the sounds that each letter makes so that we can become successful readers. Remember when we learned about short a (/a/) like in the word, cat or map? Well, today we are going to learn the long a sound, /A/ and how the silent e at the end of the word helps the A make its real sound. An easy way to remember how this A sounds is by looking at this boy (showing graphic representation) who is excited and saying "Yay I got an A!" The a sound that we hear in yay is the sound that /A/ makes. Now sometimes a word will have an a and a silent e at the end of the word, like in the word game. The reason is it written this way, is to remind us of the /A/ sound. We represent this sound by writing it like: a__e=/A/.  The line in between the a and the e is for a consonant, like in the word game in our example above.

2. Say: Now, let's listen for the /A/ in some words before we begin to spell. When you say the /A/ sound, your jaw and tongue should go down and your mouth should be wide open (model what to do). I'll give you an example: made. I heard the a say it's name, and I can feel that my jaw is low and that my mouth is wide open (point this out to them). There is a long A in made. Now, I want to see if it is in the word smell. Well, I didn't hear A say its name and I didn't feel my jaw drop down. There must not be an A. Let's let you try a few. If you hear /A/ say, "Yay, I heard an A!" If you don't hear /A/ say,  "Boo, there's no A." Make sure that you are feeling what your mouth is doing and if your jaw is dropping low. Is /A/ in: take, play, run, wait, sit, sail?

3. What if I want to spell the word snake? My friend has a pet snake in his backyard. A snake is a type of reptile, and there are many different kinds of snakes. How do we begin spelling this word? First, we will need to see how many different phonemes, or sounds, there are in this word. Let's stretch the word out and count: /s//n//A//k/. Okay, so we need 4 letterboxes for this word. But wait, there is a silent e at the end of this word, so we are going to place our e outside of the fourth letterbox since it doesn't make a sound. I know I heard that long /A/ sound that we have been going over right before the /k/ sound or the last sound in this word. This means my a should go in the third box, and I need by e outside of the fourth box. Now, it's a little tricky because I hear that /k/ sound, but I don't know if this is going to be a c or a k. I'm going to go with k because that is the way we spell snake in our English language. Now I will go back to the beginning of my word. I definitely hear an /s/ at the beginning, so I'll place my letter s in the first letterbox. Then, I hear an /n/ right after, so I'll place this next to my s. Now we have /s//n//A//k/.

However, if we come across another tough word, like skate, I will show you how to divide the word into chunks to make it easier to read (post this word on the board and model reading it), First, we would start with our a__e=/A/ sound that we hear, which makes /A/. Then, we will add the beginning letters to it: s-k-a__e, /skA/. Now, I will connect that with the last sound I hear, which is /t/, so /skA-t/. Oh skate, like how we can skate on a frozen lake in the winter.

 s k a t

4. Say: Now it is your turn to spell some words. We will first begin with two letterboxes for the word ate, like "yesterday, I ate an apple for lunch." What letter should go in the first box? (respond to the children's answers). What sound do you hear next? (respond to the children) Did you remember to put your silent e outside of the second box. Remember to do that when you hear /A/. I'm going to walk around and make sure that each of you got it right. Now, you will need three letterboxes for the next word I give you. Remember to put the beginning sound in the first box and listen for the /A/ sound. ] Don't forget your silent e next to the third letterbox. Here is your word: wake, My mom had to wake me up this morning; wake. (Remaining words for children to spell: face, pack, skate, lamp, and scrape).

5. Now I want you all the read the words we have spelled. We will do this together. (I will point to the word, and the children will read it together as a class. Then, I will call on students individually to read a word so that everyone has a turn).

6. Say: All right, great work today! You all seem to be understanding our /A/ sound very well! Now, we will read a book called James and the Good Day. This is a story about a boy named James who wants to play in the tub with his tug boat that he wants to sail. As James is filling up the bath tub, he decides to play a game that keeps him distracted. What will happen to the bath tub while James is away? Read on to see whether James will get to sail his tug boat or not! You may pair up with a partner and read it together. Alternate partners between the pages, and help your partner if they get stuck on a word or make a mistake. (I will walk around the room and monitor the children's work. We will read the book as a class at the end, and we will discuss what is going on in each page. I will also read the book in a small group time in order to monitor it more closely).

6. Say: To finish up our lesson, I want to give you a practice worksheet to help you understand our long A sound with the a__e= /A/ representation. On this worksheet, you will be given four pictures with a "___ale" written beside it. You must fill in the correct letter or letters to make the word say the name of the picture. Read over your answers to make sure they make sense. (I will collect these at the end).

Resources:

Adams, Marilyn Jager. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print. Urbana, IL: Center for the Study of Reading.

Phonics Readers. James and the Good Day. Carson, CA. Copyright 1990.

Assessment Worksheet: Word Families Phonics Worksheet: http://www.kidzone.ws/phonics/ale2.htm