A Okay!!


Beginning Reading

Ashley Bledsoe


 Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence a_e = /A/. In order to be able to read, children must learn to recognize the spellings that map word pronunciations. In this lesson, children will be taught to recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling a_e. They will learn a meaningful representation (hand making an "A Okay" gesture), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence a_e = /A/.

 Materials: Graphic image of hand; cover-up critter; whiteboard or smartboard Elkonin boxes for modeling and individual Elkonin boxes for each student; letter manipulatives for each child and magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher: a, r, k, e, p, c, m, l, s t; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: ape, rake, pale, pack, tame, scrape; decodable text: The Race for Cake, and assessment worksheet.



1. Say: In order to become expert readers we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. We have already learned to read short vowel words with a, like cap, and today we are going to learn about long A and the silent e signal that is used to make A say its name, /A/. When I say /A/ I think of a hand making an "A Okay" gesture [show graphic image]. Now let's look at the spelling of /A/ that we'll learn today. One way to spell /A/ is with the letter a and a signal e at the end of the word to tell me to say A's name. [Write a_e on the board.] This blank line here means there is a consonant after a, and at the end of the word there is a little silent e signal.

2. Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /A/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I listen for /A/ in words, I hear a say its name /A/ and my lips separate and they get longer. It's almost like I'm getting ready to smile. [Make vocal gesture for /A/.] I'll show you first: race. I heard a say its name and I felt my lips separate and get longer [make a horizontal motion across separated lips]. There is a long A in race. Now I'm going to see if it's in pull. Hmm, I didn't hear a say its name and my lips didn't get longer. Now you try. If you hear /A/ say, "A Okay!" If you don't hear /A/ say, "No way!" Is it in snack, pain, eggs, cape, stove,snake? [Have children make a horizontal motion across their separated lips when they feel /A/ say its name.]


3. What if I want to spell the word scrape? "If I scrape my finger, I'll probably need a Band-Aid." Scrape means to rub against something rough in this sentence. To spell scrape in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /s//c//r//A//p/. I need 5 boxes. I heard that /A/ just before the /p/ so I'm going to put an a in the 4th box and the silent e signal outside the last box. The word starts with /s/, that's easy; I need an s. Now it gets a little tricky so I'm going to say it slowly, /s//c//r//A//p/. I think I heard /c/ so I'll put a c right after the s. One more before the /A/, hmm . . . /s//c//r//A//p/, I think I heard growling /r/. I have one empty box now. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /s//c//r//A//p/.] The missing one is /p/. Now I'll show you how I would read a tough word. [Display poster with spare on the top and model reading the word.] I'm going to start with the a_e; that part says /A/. Now I'm going to put the beginning letters with it: s-p-a_e, /spA/. Now I'll put that chunk together with the last sound, /spA-r/. Oh, spare, like "I have a spare tire."













4. Now I'm going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You'll start out easy with two boxes for ape. An ape is a kind of monkey, "There was an ape at the zoo." What should go in the first box? [Respond to children's answers]. What goes in the second box? What about silent e, did you remember to put it outside the boxes? I'll check your spelling while I walk around the room. [Observe progress.] You'll need three letterboxes for the next word. Listen for the beginning sound to spell in the first box. Then listen for /A/ and don't forget to put the signal silent e at the end, outside the boxes. Here's the word: rake, I need to rake the leaves; rake. [Allow children to spell remaining words: pale, pack, tame, spare, and scrape.


5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you've spelled. [Have children read words in unison. Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.]


6. Say: You've done a great job reading words with our new spelling for /A/: a_e. Now we are going to read a book called The Race for Cake. This is a story of two boys named Ben and Jess. They go out for a late swim in the lake. They smell a cake that mom is baking so they start to race to the cake. The dog, Lad, joins the race. Ben trips and scrapes his face. Lad wants to help, but he's unable to. Let's pair up and take turns reading The Race for Cake to find out who/what comes to the rescue. [Children pair up and take turns reading alternate pages each while teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads The Race for Cake aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]


7. Say: Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /A/ = a_e, I want to see how you can write your own a_e poem. On this worksheet, there are some words missing. Your job is to look at the pictures and word choices, and decide which a_e word fits best so that your poem makes sense. Read the questions carefully, and then choose the word that fits best in the space(s). Reread your answers to see if they make sense. [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.]


Murray, G. (2006)The Race for Cake. Reading Genie: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html

Assessment worksheet: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/wordsandpictures/longvow/print/worksheet/workae.shtml

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