A's are A-a-ama-a-a-azing!


Beginning Reading

Meg Hall


Rationale: Beginning readers need to be fluent in letter recognition and phoneme awareness in order to be able to learn to read correctly and understand what they are reading. This lesson is designed for children to understand the a=/a/ correspondence.

Materials that are needed for this lesson:

Elkonin Boxes for each child

Elkonin Box for the teacher

Picture of a baby crying

Individual baggies for each child containing letter for letter box lesson (a, t, c, b, f, d, r, g, h, and m)

Dry erase board and marker

Words with the /a/ sound written on note cards


      1. Introduction: "Can anyone tell me what letter makes the /a/ sound? The /a/ sound is made by the letter A! If you were to say the sound for a few seconds it kind of sounds like a little baby crying. Do you hear that when I make the /a/ sound?" Model for the children the sound /a/ makes when it is drawn out.

       2.Teach background knowledge: On a dry erase board write the letter A and make the crying baby sound. Ask the children to do the same thing that you just did and have them practice the sound while intimidating a crying baby. "Now I have a tongue twister that I want you to learn because it will help you remember the /a/ sound. Here it is: Ashley and her animal Adam ate apricots and sat under an apple tree. Now let's all try it together! Aaaashley aaand her aaaanimal Aaaadam ate aaaapricots aaand saaaat under aaan aaapple tree. Now you try it by yourself! How many times did we hear the /a/ sound? 8 times!"

       3.  "Now we are going to see if you can pick the /a/ sound out of some words. I'm going to say two words and I want to see if you can hear it." I will model for the children picking between ran or jog. Raaaaan and jog. "I hear the /a/ sound in raaaan. Now it's your turn! Do you hear /a/ in pet or pat, nap or net, tan or ten? Now that we can pick the /a/ sound out of words we are going to practice making words with the letter."

       4. Have children get out their letter boxes and their baggies of letters. I will do a letter box lesson including the words act, bag, ant, sat, hand, and at. We will use the letters a, c, t, b, g, n, s, h, and d.

      5. We will then read "Cat Nap" which is a decodable book for the /a/ sound. "Cat Nap is a book about a little orange kitten who decides to take a nap in his owners backpack. When the cat is asleep his owner decides to leave his house with his backpack. Do you think the cat will wake up? Do you think the owner will realize the cat is in there?" As I am reading the book and pointing to the words the children and I will sound out the words together and discuss the /a/ sound further.

       6.Assessment: For each child I will give them a new /a/ word and have them read it. Some will be actual words and some will be pseudo words.


Murray, B.A., and Lesniak, T. (1999) "The Letterbox Lesson: A
hands-on approach for teaching decoding." The Reading Teacher, March 1999. pp. 644-650


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