Katie Mayo

Beginning Reading





Rationale:  To begin to learn how to read and spell words, the students must be able to recognize a vowel in the word.  Students need alphabetic lessons that teach them to understand that letters stand for phonemes and spellings show phonemes in spoken words.  Before they can achieve that, they have to be able to distinguish phonemes in spoken words.  Short vowels are usually what a beginning reader should begin with because they are the hardest to grasp.  This lesson will help children identify /a/ or short a.  They will be able to recognize /a/ in spoken words by learning a significant representation and a letter symbol, as well as practice finding /a/ in words.

 Materials:  Chart with "Matt sat by fat apples that ran from Pat"; drawing paper and crayons, A Cat Nap (Educational Insight); picture with at, bag, hat, sack, fat, class, fast, mask (Modern Curriculum Press Phonics, Level A), and letterbox materials.

1. Introduce the lesson by explaining the hard part to understand what letters stand for, and how the mouth moves as we say words.  Today we are going to work on spotting the mouth movement, /a/.  At first /a/ will be difficult to understand, but with practice and as you get to know it, you will be able to spot /a/ in all kind of words.

 2.  Ask students: Have you ever seen "Home Alone" where Kevin was left alone and scared?  When someone screams can you hear /a/?  That's the mouth movement we are looking for in words.  Let's pretend we are scared and make the sound /a/.  (Put your hands to your face and look scared, and make the sound /a/.)  We scream when we are scared. Pretend you are scared: /a/.

 3. Let's try a tongue twister (on chart).  "Matt sat by fat apples that ran from Pat."  Everybody say it three times together.  Now say it again, and this time stretch the /a/ sound.  "Maaaattt saaat by faaaat aaaaples thaaaat raaaan from Paaaat."  Try it again, and this time break up the word: "M/a/tt s/a/t by f/a/t a/pples th/a/t r/a/n from P/a/t." You guys are doing great!

 4.  Next I will have a large letter bow lesson with the entire class.  I will model how to use the letter box by spelling a review word.  I will also review other short vowels to make sure students still remember them.  2-at, 3-sit, mat, lack, bag, 4-stick, stack, bags, 5-stamp, slept.  As the students do this exercise I will walk around the classroom watching the students work and see how they do.  If they have trouble with a word I will remind them to use their cover-ups.  If they are still having a hard time I will slightly help them, so that they do not become extremely frustrated and give up.  When they have completed all the words I will collect the letterboxes and the letters.

 5.  Let me show you how to find /a/ in the word fast.  I am going to stretch fast out in super slow motion and listen for the scared scream.  F-f-f-fast.  F-f-f-a-a-as-s-s-st.  There it is! I do hear the scared scream /a/ in fast. 

 6.  Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /a/ in fast or slow?  Sat or sit? Ran or walk? Man or boy? (Pass out a card to each student)  say:  Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /a/ in some words.  Make a scared face if you hear /a/.  It, bat, sit, sack, fat, up, master, tall, lab.

 7.  Say: Tab is a very fat cat.  Tab naps a lot. Sam plays baseball, and finds something in his bag.  Then I will have the students get into small groups to read A Cat Nap.  Before they read, I will give a book talk.  "Tab is a very fat cat.  Tab naps a lot.  Sam plays baseball, and finds something in his bag.  You will have to read to find out what happens!"

 8.  Read it again, and have the students raise their hands when they hear the words with /a/.  List their words on the board.  Then have each student draw a submarine and write a message about it using invented spelling.  Then display their work. 

 Assessment:  For assessment, distribute a picture review sheet, where students look at a picture and have options as to what it is. They circle the correct answer, by reading all of the options. 

 References: Murray, Bruce.  How to Teach Letterbox Lessons (Reading Genie website)

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