Ayy? What's that you say?!
A Beginning Reading Lesson
By Caroline Conner
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 learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling a_ e = /A/. They will learn a meaningful representation (grandfather saying Ay? What's that you say?), 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 grandfather and young boy; 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 smart board letters for teacher: e, g, d, n, a, p, r, s, t, i; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: rate, spade, pain, stand, stain, range; 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 how to read short vowel words with a, like cat, 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 grandfather straining to hear his grandson saying Ayy? What's that you say? (show graphic image). Now let's look at the spelling of /A/ that we will 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 mouth opens in a slight smile and I keep my mouth open when I say the sound a. (Make vocal gestures for /A/.) I'll show you first: Rain. I heard a say its name and my mouth opened in a slight smile to say a. There is a long A in rain. Now I'm going to see if it's in jump. Hmmm, I didn't hear a say its name and my mouth didn't open in a slight smile. Now you try. If you hear /A/ say, Ayy? What's that you say? If you don't hear /A/ say, "That's not it." Is it in snow, ate, rake, ride, lips, pain? (Have children make a slight smile with open mouths when they feel /A/ say its name.)
3. What if I want to spell the word Range? "The buffalo are grazing on the range." Range means grassy field in this sentence. To spell Range in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /r//A//n//j/. I need 4 boxes. I heard that /A/ just before the /n/ so I'm going to put an a in the second box and the silent e signal outside the last box. The word starts with an /r/, that's easy; I need an r. Now it gets a little tricky so I'm going to say it slowly, /r//A//n//j/. We already have our a in the second box, so what's next? I heard /n/ so I'll put an n right after a. I have one empty box now. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /r//A//n//j/.] The missing one is /j/. Now I'll show you how I would read a tough word. [Display poster with strange 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-t-r-A-n_e, /strA/. Now I'll put that chunk together with the last sound, /strA-ng/. Oh, strange, like "My dog is acting strange today."
4. Say: 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, "The ape swung from rope to rope." 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 have to rake the leaves today; rake. [Allow children to spell remaining words: rate, spade, pain, strand, and stain.]
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 who are in a race to have some of their mom's homemade cake! Who will win the race and get the first taste? Let's read to find out! Let's pair up and take turns reading The race for Cake to find out who wins. [Children pair up and take turns reading alternate pages while teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads The race for Cake aloud together, and stops between pages 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 solve a reading problem. On this worksheet, we have some words missing. Your job is to look in the box of word choices, and decide which a_e word fits best to make sense of this very short story. First try reading all the words in the box, and then choose the word that fits best in the space. Reread your answers to see if they make sense. [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.]
Assessment worksheet: http://www.freephonicsworksheets.com/html/phonics_worksheet_v2-02.html
Murray, G. (2004) The race for Cake. Reading Genie: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html
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