The Rain in Spain Stays Mainly in the Plains
Beginning to Read Lesson Design

Tonya Hill

· Rational: In order for students to become proficient in reading they must build their sight vocabulary.   For this reason it is imperative that teachers explicitly teach a number of common correspondences to young children.  The goal of this lesson is to help students with the vowel correspondence ai.  Students will receive practice in pronouncing the /A/ phoneme when shown the graphemes ai, reading ai, and writing words that contain the ai correspondence.  It is my hope that after this lesson the students will: 1. be able to identify and correctly pronounce /A/ when they see ai, and 2. be able to read words that include the ai correspondence.

· Materials: Student copies of Jane and Babe and A Race on the Lake,  Elkonin Letterboxes drawn on Chalkboard and Magnetic Letters for the boxes,  Student Letterboxes and cutout letters,  Letterbox Lesson worksheet, /A/ Phoneme Worksheet, Chalkboard or Overhead, and Student Paper and Pencils.

· Procedures:
1. Begin by reviewing the a_e correspondence.  Students will individually reread A Race on the Lake. As students read circulate throughout the room, checking to make sure that students are reading independently and donít need any help.
2. After students have reread A Race on the Lake, spend a few minutes discussing it:  Who liked the book?  Did you notice anything new the second time you read it?  What did you learn from the book?  Did anyone have trouble reading the book?
3. After the book has been covered, discuss the /A/ phoneme.  Ask if anyone knows of any other words that have the /A/ sound in them.  Write the words on the chalkboard.  Hopefully, some of the words will have ai in them, if not be prepared to help them out with a few words ­ rain, main, wait. . .
4. Underline the graphemes in each of the words that create the /A/ phoneme.
5. Write this tongue twister on the board The Rain in Spain Stays Mainly in the Plains.   As a class say the tongue twister.  Make certain to enunciate the /A/.  Ask the students, How many times did we hear /A/ in this sentence? Wait for the correct answer. Which words have the /A/ sound?  As the students call out the words underline them.
6. Explain that ai works together to make the /A/ sound just like the a_e. Have students say the tongue twister again slowly, and then a bit faster, and then even faster.  This will help them with saying the /A/ sound, and it will be fun.
7. Now use the Elkonin Boxes that have been drawn on the board to do a class letterbox lesson.  (Murray)  Explain that you are going to do a letterbox lesson that reviews a_e and uses ai.  This will help us to see the difference in the two ways of saying /A/.
    a. Have students get out their letterboxes and letters.  They will need the following letters: a d e i l m n p r s t
    b. Have students pick out the letters and turn them all to the lower case sides.
    c. Ask students if they remember where the e goes in the words with a_e.  Then show them by using the Letterboxes and magnetic letters on the board.  (Put the    silent e outside of the last box.) Example word  save.  Wearing your seatbelt can save your life.
    d. Next, tell students that the letters ai work together to make the /A/ sound so they go in the same box.  Example word  stain. My mother was upset when I got a grass stain on pants.
    e. Now have students fill in the correct letters for the words below.  Instruct them to use their letterboxes and letters to spell the words. Give a sentence with each word.  Have the students spell the words, and then have a volunteer come up and spell the word on the board.   Make sure to inform them each time you add a letterbox.

aim  ate (2 letter boxes)
rain  paid (3 letter boxes)
slain  trade  train (4 letter boxes)
strain (5 letter boxes)

8. Assessment: Have students fill in the letterbox worksheet as you call out the following words.  Give a sentence with each word.  Remind them that ai goes in the same box and the silent e in a_e goes outside of the box.  Use grain as an example.  (Create a letter box worksheet by drawing boxes on a paper.  Put the number of boxes that will be needed for each word by the correct number.)

1. Aid    2. ape  (2 letter boxes)
3. Main    4. Wait    5. Cake    6. laid (3 letter boxes)
7. drain    8. State    9. braid    10. paint (4 letter boxes)

9. Now have students pair up and Buddy read Jane and Babe. You may want to pair the poor readers with advanced readers, so that the advanced readers can help with decoding.  Remind students that we donít tell the words immediately if we mess up,  we wait, read the sentence, and try cover ups.  Each student should read the book one time completely.  As they read, circulate about the room to make certain that they are on task and not having difficulty with any vocabulary.
10. Assessment:  Have students write a review of the book.  Tell them to answer the following questions in the review.  Did you notice anything new the second time you read it?  What did you learn from the book? What was your favorite part of the book?  What was your least favorite part of the book?
11. Enrichment/Assessment Activity:  Have students create a chart that describes the sound /A/.  Tell them to include pictures and words that have the /A/ sound.  They can cut pictures out of magazines or draw their own.  They must have at least 4 words for each spelling of /A/.  (See work sheet below).  This can be done in class or for homework.  If done in class, teacher may want to have magazines and newspapers on hand.

· Reference:
Murray, B. A., & Lesniak, T. (1999). The letterbox lesson: A hands-on approach to teaching decoding.  The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.

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A Phoneme Worksheet

Name _____________________________________________________

/A/ Chart

________ and _______ make the /A/ sound.

Directions: Find words that make the /A/ sound and put them in the correct column.  You can use pictures and words from magazines and newspapers or draw and write your own.  You need at least 4 words and 1 picture for each column.




a_e                                          ai