Let's Skate With Abe and Kate!

Beginning Literacy

Erin Stephan


When learning to read, children must develop skills in order to decode words. In order to decode words successfully children must be able to distinguish between short and long vowel sounds. The goal of this lesson is for the students to learn the new correspondence a_e = /A/. Students will learn the new long A correspondence through explicit instruction, modeling, letterbox lesson, reading a decodable book, and reading pseudo words.

-Word cards (cap, mad, rat, cape, made, ate, up, late, save, babe, plate, drum, frame, scrape, snake)
-Chalk/ chalk board
-Elkonin boxes (for each child)
-Letter tiles: a, b (2), c, d, e, f, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, u, v (for each child)
-Book: Jane and Babe (enough copies for partners to read)
-Tongue twister on sentence strip: It is rare for Abe to share his skate with Kate
-Primary paper (for each child)
-Pencils (for each child)
-Picture worksheet (pictures: cake, cup, grape, mouse, gate, hat, and snake)
-Pseudo Word Cards: SABE, PAG, PLAVE, FLATE, PLAG.


           1. Introduce the lesson to the students by review the short a correspondence a=/a/. "Who can tell me what this word says?" Hold up a card that says cap and call on a child to answer. /c/ /a/ /p/. "Right that words is cap, like a baseball cap. Can anybody read these words for me?" Hold up a card with mad, and one with rat on it. Have students read the words aloud. "Good. You guys really understand that a says /a/. Today we are going to learn one way to make a says its name /A/."

            2. Hold up the card that says cape. "What do you think this word is?" Write a_e on the board. "When you see a word that has a letter sandwiched between a and e that a is going to say his name. This word is cape. P is sandwiched between a and e. The e is silent, and is only there to remind a to say his name! We just read this word as mad (hold up card), but if we added an e to the end (hold up card). The d is sandwiched between the a and e, and we know the e is there to remind a to say his name. This word must be /m/ /A/ /d/ (point to each phoneme as pronounced, but point to a and e at the same time)."

            3. Place the sentence strip with the tongue twister on the board. "Let's try to read some long A words in this tongue twister. I'll read it first, and then you can read it with me. It is rare for Abe to share his skate with Kate." Point to each word as it is read. Have the students read it with you twice. "This time let's stretch out the long A sound. It is raaaaaaare for AAAAAAAbe to shaaaaaare his skaaaaaate with Kaaaaaaaate. Fabulous! We could really hear a say his name!"

            4."Now we are going to spell long a words using our letter boxes." (Students will be familiar with letterbox lessons, and know how Elkonin boxes are used). Draw large Elkonin boxes on the board for teacher to model with. Pass out Elkonin boxes and letters to each student. "When spelling long a words using our boxes we are going to put the final e outside the boxes because it is silent. The e silently sits outside that boxes to remind a to say what? /A/ Right!"

            5. "I will show you an example first. I want to spell date, like today's date is October 18, 2007. What sounds do I hear? /d/ /A/ /t/. First, I hear /d/. So, I'll put the letter d in my first box." (Write in the letter d in the first box on the board) "/d/ /A/ - I hear that long a sound next, so I will put the letter a in the second box. /d/ /A/ /t/ - the last sound I hear is /t/, so I will put a t in the last box." (Fill in the letters on the board as each letter is sounded out). "Hmmm, but what am I missing? d-a-t says dat and I wanted to spell date. OH! I need my e to remind a to say his name!" (Write the letter e outside the boxes.)

            6. "Now it's your turn to spell some words. Listen carefully because I may throw in a few review words!" Say each words and have the children spell them using their letters and Elkonin boxes.

2 Phonemes: ate, up    ("Move out another box")
3 Phonemes: late, save, babe   ("Move out another box")
4 Phonemes: plate, drum, frame, snake   ("Move out another box") 
5 Phonemes:  scrape

            7. "You did a great job spelling the words now let's read some words." Hold up the card that says ate. "I will read this word. When I look at this word I see the e on the end, and that tells me that it's going to remind a to say his name. /A /t/ - This word is ate! Now I want all my friends to help me read these words." Hold up each card that has a word used in the letterbox lesson. Have the students read some words as a class, and call on students to read some words.

            8. "With you reading partner you're going to read Jane and Babe. This story is about a zoo keeper named Jane. She is friends with Babe the lion. She wants to play with Babe, but he won't wake up. To see is Babe will wake up to play with Jane we will have to read the book." Have students get with their partners and pass our copies of the book.

            9.  "Let's go back to our seats. I want my friends to write a message about your favorite zoo animal."

            10.  Pass work worksheets with clip art pictures of cake, cup, grape, mouse, gate, hat, and snake. Read the names of the pictures at the top of the worksheet with the students. "Friends, I want you to read each word and find the picture it goes with. Make sure your reading the entire word, not just looking at the first letter. Write the word under the picture it matches."

            11. While the students are completing the worksheet call them one by one to your desk. To assess the student's knowledge of the correspondence a - e = /A/ have them read the following pseudo words: SABE, PAG, PLAVE, FLATE, PLAG. (The pseudo words should be written on flask cards, and should use long and short a sounds).


Jane and Babe. Phonics Readers. California: Educational Insights. 1990.
Mosely, Meredith. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invent/mosleybr.html

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