The Amazing Apes Ate Acorns

A Beginning Reading

By: Madi Pennington

Rationale: This lesson is designed to teach children about the long vowel correspondence a_e = /A/. In order for children to have a full grasp on reading they need to be able to comprehend short and long vowels. With the use of a letterbox lesson, children will learn how to recognize, spell words and read using a decodable text containing a_e = /A/. Children also learn visually the /A/ by cupping their hand next to their ear and say Eh? What's that you say?

Materials: Picture of an old man cupping his ear; the cover-up caterpillar; large Elkonin boxes for modeling, individual Elkonin boxes for each student, a poster with the word shake on it,  letter titles for all students and teachers: a, p, e, t, k, c, h, s, f, r, m, b, l, d; list of spelling words on board that reads ape, cat,  take, chase, frame, blade, scrape (cat is your short a review word); the decodable text: Race for Cake, Poster with tongue twister "The Amazing Apes ate Acorns" and assessment worksheet


1. Say: In order to be the best readers we can be we need to know how to pronounce the letters we learn. We are going to be talking about the long A and the silent e that make the long A sound. We have already learned about the short A in words like cat and nap. To help you learn the long A sound I have a friend with me, (show picture of old man), his name is Lane. Say this with me /A/. See it sort of sounds like an old man cupping his ear to hear you better. I have a tongue twister that will help us with the long A. The Amazing Apes Ate Acorns. Let's say it slow /The/ /A//A//A/m/a/a/a/z/i/n/g/ /A//A//A/p/e/s/ /A/A/A/t/e/ /G//r//a//a//a//p//e//s/. The long A comes with a spelling a_e (write this on the board). The e on the end is silent to help you know that it is a long A word. The blank after the a means that there will be a silent e at the end of the word and another letter in between these 2 vowels.

2. Say: Let's see if we can hear the spelling of /A/ in a few words. Let's say /A/ name again to be sure to listen for it. Your tongue stays on the bottom of your mouth with your mouth open and your lips move slightly. I like to cup my ear also to help me remember what I'm listening for. I'll show you what it looks like using the word cake. Did you hear the /A/ and did you see my mouth movements? Now let us try it with the word pie. Hmm, I definitely didn't hear it that time and the movements weren't the same. Ok, now it's yalls turn. If you hear the /A/ cup your hand over your ear and if you don't say that's not it. Is it in plate, cup, pond, lake, tape, glue?  

3. Say: Let's look at the word scrape. "I do not like to scrape the ice off of my car in the winter." In this sentence the word scrape means to remove something.  We are going to spell scrape with the letterboxes. In order to do so we need to first figure out how many phonemes the word scrape has. I will stretch it out to help me count: /s/c/r/A/p/e/. Ok I will need 5 boxes because the e is silent on the end and we put it in a special place. I heard the long A we have been listening for so I will put it in the fourth box and my silent e will be placed here, outside the last box. The word starts with a /s/, so I need an s  to put in the first box.   Now let's say it slow /s/c/r/a/p/e/, I think I heard a /c/ so I'll put a c right after the s. Let's fill in the other letters. Ok say it slow /s/c/r/a/p/e/.I think I heard a /r/, so I will put an r right before the /A/.  Now we have one more box to fill in, let's see we have an (point to the letters as you say them) /s/c/r/a/p/e/. The missing one must be /p/.

Now let's see how we would read a tough word.  (Get out the poster with the word shake on it) Let's start with the a_e; this is what makes the /A/. Let's put the beginning letters with it: s-h-a_e, /shA/. Now I'll put that part together with the last sound, /shA-k/. Oh that word is shake. "As in I like to shake my pompom at the football games.  (Make sure to use the cover-up caterpillar to chuck the word up).

4. Say: Now it is your turn to spell some words with your letterboxes. Let's start out with an easy word like ape. An ape is a primate or a monkey, "I went and saw the movie Planet of the Apes and it was all about really smart monkeys." What do you think goes in the first box? (Respond to the answer or answers given). How about the second box? How about our special friend the silent e? Did you remember to put him outside the boxes? I'll be checking your letterboxes as I walk around the room. Great job everyone. Ok for the next word we will need three letterboxes. Listen for the beginning sound and put it in the first box. Then listen for that /A/ and don't forget to put our silent e friend outside the boxes.  Ok your word is take; I like to take banana pudding with me on a picnic. (Allow time for children to complete the rest of the words: chase, frame, blade while you walk around and observe).

5. Say: Now let's practice reading the words you have just spelled. Let's read them together first and then we will take turns reading a word. (Make sure everyone reads at least one word).

6. Say: You all have done a wonderful job with reading and spelling our new words for /A/: a_e. Now we are going to read a fun book called Race for Cake. This story is about a boy named Ben and a girl named Jess. Their mom is making a cake and it smells really yummy. They decide to have a race to see who can get to the cake first. Then something happens to Ben. Let's read on to see what happened to Ben and to see who gets to the cake first. I want you to get with a partner and take turns reading the book. I'll be walking around listening to you read. After everyone is finished we will reread the book and talk about what happens as a class.

7. Say: You each have done a great job with your reading a spelling of /A/: a_e. We are going to do a worksheet. Here we have some words and I want you to color the words that have the /A/ blue and on words that you don't hear the /A/ I want you to color those words pink.  Remember that the /A/ goes with a_e. Read all the words first and then make your decision. (After all worksheet are complete collect them and evaluate their progress).  



Murray, G. (2006) Race for Cake. Reading Genie:

Noie Yancey, Oh, Oh, My Knee Hurts:

Assessment Worksheet:


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