What a Fat Cat!

Kristan Whitman

Emergent Literacy

Rationale:  An important step in learning to read is the recognition of phonemes.  For reading and spelling, children need to grasp the understanding that letters stand for phonemes and that spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words.  Short vowels are often difficult to recognize, so this lesson has been planned to help children identify that a=/a/.  The children will learn to recognize /a/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol.  They will also practice finding /a/ in a variety of words.  Finally, we will stretch this lesson to the actual reading of a book as we read a book that focuses on the /a/ sound.

Materials:  Chart with the tongue twister "Adam the fat cat sat on his hat and made it flat"; primary paper and a pencil; A Cat Nap (Phonics Readers Short Vowels, Educational Insights, 1990.) copies of picture page with the following pictures on it: apple, cat, dog, duck, dad, mom, bag and a hat; a hat per child; stamp with a cat on it or stickers.

Procedures: 1. Introduce the lesson to the children by saying: "Writing is a secret code.  The way to break the code is to learn what our letters stand for.  They all make a special sound.  Today we are going to learn about the letter a and its sound /a/.  This is like the sound you make when you see a bug on the ground and it scares you.  It sounds like this:  /a/ (model sound for children).  Can everyone practice that with me, please? ( Have children practice 2 or 3 times making sure each student is making the correct sound). Today I want to  see how many of you can break the code and find /a/ in a lot of  different words!"


2. Identify the mouth moves while saying /a/.  "Ok, great job of practicing /a/.  What is your mouth and tongue doing when you say /a/?  Lets try saying /a/ and think really hard about what our mouth is doing.   My mouth is open and my tongue is down at the bottom of my mouth.  What is your mouth doing?"  Discuss what each of the student's mouth and tongue is doing while they say /a/.

3. Practice stretching out /a/ in various words:  "Now that I know all of you can say /a/, I want to practice it in some words.  Let's say these words together and remember to listen for the /a/ sound.  Let's say cat.c-aaaaaaa-t.Did everyone hear me say /a/?  Let's all try it."  Continue this process with other words such as:  apple, bag, fat, flat, and hat.  Emphasize that /a/ is the first sound in "apple" and the middle sound in "bag" to help the children understand that /a/ can come in different places in a word.

3. Read the tongue twister chart with the children:  "Good! Now that we have listened to the /a/ sounds in some words, let's read a tongue twister!  Everybody say it together as I point to the words (read together).  Now let's read it again, but stretch out the /a/ sounds when you say the words (read again emphasizing /a/).  Good, now let's do it one more time, but I want you to break the /a/ off each word like this '/a/ dam the f /a/ t ..' (read a third time breaking off /a/).  Good work boys and girls!"

4. Drawing the letter a:  "Boys and girls, let's take out our primary paper and pencil and practice making the letter a.  The letter a is what we use to spell /a/.  Start at the fence and make a little c.  Then draw a straight line from the fence to the sidewalk to close the c.  Now you have the letter a.  I want you to practice drawing the letter a all the way down the line on your paper.  When you have finished, I will stamp your work with my cat stamp.  Then keep practicing them on the next line until I have stamped everyone's work (or sticker if a stamp is not available)."

5. Listening for /a/ in spoken words:  "Now we are going to listen for /a/ in some words as I say them out loud.  If you hear the /a/ sound in the word I say, put your newspaper hat on your head.  If you do not hear the /a/ sound, you will take your hat off.  Everyone ready?  Cat (hat on), dog (hat off), apple (hat on), plum (hat off), fat (hat on), big (hat off), snack (hat on), sat (hat on), dad (hat on), bag (hat on).  Good work, now let's read a story!

6. Activity:  "Who here has ever seen a cat?  What was the cat doing?  Well this story is about a really lazy, fat cat called Tab.  He likes to eat a lot and sleep a lot.  Tab likes to sleep in some really silly places.  One day he falls asleep in his owner's baseball bag.  His owner Sam is running late to his baseball game, and he grabs his bag and he runs out of the door and doesn't realize Tab is in his bag!  What do you think is going to happen to sleeping Tab?  Read A Cat Nap and discuss the story and where the children heard the /a/ sound, go back through the test and point out words (if possible) that have a=/a/ in them.  After story, the students will draw a picture and write a message with invented spelling of a funny place they think a cat could hide and take a nap.

7. Assessment: For assessment, I will provide the children with a picture page and ask them to circle the pictures whose names have /a/ in them.  The pictures on the page will be an apple, cat, dog, duck, dad, mom, bag and a hat



Allred, Katie.  The Fat Cat!    www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/inroads/allredel.html