In order for children to be able to read, it is important for them to
first learn how to decode the letters in a word by knowing what
phonemes are represented. This lesson will help students in
grasping a better understanding of the short vowel a. Students will learn the
phoneme with a picture, a gesture, and many practices at identifying
*poster with "Allie the alligator acts aggravated"
*A Cat Nap (AU, Phonics
Readers by Educational
*picture page with hat, apple, dog, bag, flag, glasses, flower, and
1. Begin by explaining to the
students that we are going to work together to better understand a
sound of the alphabet. First we are going to see how our mouth
moves when we make the sound for the short a.
2. Ask students: Has anyone
ever seen the movie Home Alone? What do we do when we are
scared? We might say "AAAA". When you make that sound, pay
attention to how your mouth moves. Every
time you say the short a, your mouth will make that same
movement. Let's practice and everyone make the sound together and
make a face like you're scared and home alone.
3. Now we are going to do a tongue
twister. "Allie the alligator acts aggravated." Everyone
say the tongue twister together three times. Now lets do it again
but we are going to stretch out that /a/ sound at the beginning of the
"Aaallie the aaalligator aaacts aaagravated." Let's say it one
more time but this time every time you hear that short a, make the home alone face.
4. We can also learn how to write
this sound by using the letter a.
Watch how I write it, start a little under the fence, go up and touch
the fence, then around and touch the sidewalk, around and straight
down. Now I want you to
try and write the letter a 9
times on your own. Every time you see the letter a, you'll know that it's the home
5. When we are trying to find the
letter a in a word, we can
stretch out the sounds we hear and if we hear that home alone sound, we
will know there is a letter a
in the word. Listen to how I find a letter a in the word flag. F-f-f-f
l-l-l-l a-a-a-a...did you hear it? So I know that
flag has that
short a in it.
6. Each of you are going to get a
card with two pictures on it. I want you to decide which picture
is shown for a word that has
the short a sound in
it. Call on students and ask them to tell their two pictures
tell why they picked the picture that
7. Say: Tab is a little
kitty. She likes to take naps pretty much anywhere. But one
day, she takes a nap in a weird place and something strange
happens. Listen and find out what happens. Read A Cat Nap and ask questions as
reading. Now I'm going to read it again and every time you hear
our home alone /a/, I want you to make our scared face.
8. Have students draw a picture of
a cat taking a nap in a strange place and have them write a story to
explain what is happening in their picture.
9. In order to assess the students
learning, hand out the picture page and as a class, name each
picture. Then have them only color those pictures whose names
Murray, B.A., & Lesniak, T. (1999). The Letterbox
Lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher, 644-650
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