“Kate Makes a Cake”




by Hope McClanahan

Beginning Reading Lesson



            In order for children to read and spell words, it is essential that they learn that letters stand for phonemes and that spellings of words map out the phonemes that we hear in spoken words.  They also must understand that these correspondences, or letters that stand for phonemes, can appear differently in different words.  Once children have learned that a=/a/, the short vowel correspondence for a, they need to learn that this letter also can “say its name”, or represent a long vowel sound.  This lesson will cover a review of a=/a/, and then teach the correspondence a_e=/A/.  The lesson will help children to be able to recognize the /A/ sound in spoken and written words in connection with the letter representation of a_e.





  1. Begin by writing the letter a on the board.  Ask the children, “Who remembers what sound our mouths make when we see this letter?”  Hopefully, the children will remember the “crying baby” /a/ sound.  If they need scaffolding, do the “crying baby” motion for them, to help them remember the sound.  “Who can think of a word that has this sound in it?”  Talk with the children about some a=/a/ words.
  2. Now say, “We know about the /a/ sound that this letter can make.  But sometimes, this letter actually just says its own name, /A/.  Can you all say its name with me? /A/ Good!  Now when this letter says its name, it is spelled differently than when it makes the “crying baby” sound /a/.  When the a says its own name, we sometimes show this with an a, then a consonant, and then an e, like this.”  Write a­_e on the board.  “So if I add the /k/ sound to the beginning of this word (write a c in front of the a), and then I put the /k/ sound in the blank between the a and the e, I know that the a says its name.  I can sound out the word…/k/-/A/-/k/.”
  3. Tell the children, “Now it is your turn to try to spell some of these words where a says its name.  Take out your letterboxes that we use to spell words.  I am going to give you each a baggie of letters.  Take out all the letters and we are going to start with three boxes.”
  4. Begin the letterbox lesson by modeling.  Say, “The first word I want to spell is date.   The first sound I hear is /d/-/d/…that sounds like d. I will put a d in my first box.  /d/-/A/… I hear the /A/ sound, so I am going to put an a in this box, and I know that there is an e on the end, because this is how I make the letter a is say its name.  Since the e is silent, I’m not going to put it in a box; I’ll just put it outside the last box.  Then I hear /d/-/A/-/t/…/t/, that’s a t, so I’ll put it in the third box.  Now I have /d/-/A/-/t/…date.  Okay, it’s time for you to try to spell some words like this.”  (Give the children the following list of 3-phoneme words: bake, case, hat, late, ran.  Then ask them to use 4 letterboxes to spell these words: plate, brake, clap, skate.)
  5. After the children have spelled all the words, say, “Now class, I want us to all read the words as I spell them.”  (Use an overhead to spell the words without the letterboxes, scaffolding by placing the a_e letters down first, and then adding the consonants.  Have the children read the words.)
  6. Pass out copies of Jane and Babe to every two children.  Tell the children, “Read this story with your partner, and make a list of the words that have the /A/ sound in them.  When you are finished, we will talk about the words.”
  7. For assessment, give each student a worksheet with the following pictures on it: tape, snake, plane, grape, rat, cap.  The worksheet also has a word bank that has these words and pseudo words in it: tape, tap, snake, snak, plane, plan, grape, grap, rate, rat, cape, cap.  Say to the students, “Now it’s time for you to show me that you know that a says /a/ when it’s by itself in a word, but it says its name, /A/ when there is an e on the end of the word.  Look at the words in the word bank, and write the correct spelling of each picture underneath it.”  This will be a great indicator of how well the children understand the different sound correspondences of the letter a.




Locklier, Amy.  Mike Likes Kites.



Jane and Babe. Educational Insights, Carson CA., 1990.

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