AU is Awesome!

Beginning Reading

By Ellen Haynes



Rational: After this lesson, students will be able to read and understand words with the a_e = /A/ correspondence. They will also be able to spell certain a_e words using Elkonin boxes or Letterboxes. They will be able to connect this /A/ sound with the saying “Aaayy” (like Fonzie from Happy Days.) Knowing this correspondence is very important in that the rules learned from this lesson can be related to other correspondences such as o_e = /O/ and i_e = /I/.

Materials: primary paper, pencil, letter boxes as well as the letters: [f, r, a, m, e, t, c, n, k, B, b, l, d, s, h] for each student involved in the lesson, spelling words written on cards [cane, race, ate, take, Babe, blade, and stake], and the book Jane and Babe for all students.


1.      Say: To be a good reader, we must first learn the rules of pronunciation and the way to spell/sound out words. One of these rules is the vowel-consonant- e rule. Today, I am going to teach you about this rule using a_e (write this down so the students can see it). As you can see, I wrote a “_” between a and e. That just means that I would write a consonant there. When we have a_e words, we do not sound out the “e” at the end. It is just a signal that tells us to pronounce the “a” long (making the “a” say its name.) I like to remember this /A/ by saying “Aaayy” like Fonzie from Happy Days (play clip).


2.      Say: Now we are going to see if we hear this long A sound in some words. When I say the long A sound, my lips are spread out, the back of my tongue is touching the roof of my mouth and the tip of my tongue is touching the back of my bottom teeth. Also make sure that you keep your mouth open and your teeth aren’t touching! (Demonstrate and have students do it with you). Very good!! Now, I will do the first one for you: date. I heard A say it’s name and I felt my mouth make the correct position for the long A sound. There is a long A in date. What if I had the word glass. My mouth isn’t making the right positions and I don’t hear the “A” sound in it. There is not a long A in glass. Now I want you to try. If you hear the long A sound, I want you to say “Aaayy” like Fonzie but if you don’t hear the long A sound, I want you to say “I’ don’t hear it.” Ready? (Ask the words: ate, dog, bat, cake, Jane, cook)



3.      Now we are going to spell a few a_e words in our letter boxes. The first word we will spell is chase. To spell chase in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /ch//A//s/. I will need 3 boxes. I first hear the digraph /ch/. /ch/ is made up of the two letters c and h so they both will go in the first box. Then I heard the /A/ sound so I will put that in the second box followed by the “s” in the third box. I will put the silent e on the outside of the last box because you don’t hear it pronounced in the word. Great! Now this is how I would read a word written with the a_e code. (Write frame on the board.) Okay, I know that the a_e =/A/ and the first sound I hear is /f/. (demonstrate sounding the word out.) Next I hear /r/ and then the long A sound, so far I have frA. Then, the last sound I hear is /m/ making the word (frAm) like a picture frame.


4.      Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. We will start out easy with two boxes for ate as in “I ate breakfast this morning.” What should go in the first box? [Respond to children’s answers]. What goes in the second box? What about silent e, where did we say it went? I’ll check your spelling while I walk around the room. [Observe progress.] Great job everyone! Next, we will need three letterboxes for the next word. Make sure to listen closely to the sound that the beginning of the word makes. Then listen for /A/ and don’t forget to put the silent e at the end, outside the boxes. Here’s the word: race, Jimmy won the race yesterday; race. [Allow children to spell remaining words: cane, take, Babe, blade, and stake.]



5.      Say: now I want you to read the words I have already written. (Have the students read them in unison. After that, call on individuals to read a single word by themselves until everyone has had a chance to go.


6.      Say: Y’all are doing amazing! Now we are going to read a book called Jane and Babe. Babe is a big lion.  He lives in a zoo. Jane is the one that takes care of Babe. What do you think they will do together? You’ll have to read to find out! I want you to whisper read this book aloud. That means that when I walk by your desk, I will be able to hear you read but your neighbor should not hear you read. (Teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After everyone has finished reading, have the class reread the story aloud in unison. Stop between page turns to discuss the plot.]



7.      Say: Before The last thing I want you to do is this fun worksheet. You first look at the picture, and then you connect the phonemes to make the word that represents the picture. Finally, you write the word in the space on the side. [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.]




→Example of the /A/ sound (Fonzie and Happy Days)

A_e Worksheet

→As a guideline:  “Oh, I Didn’t Know” A Beginning Reading Lesson by Geri Murray

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