Aaaaaaa!  You Scared Me!

By: Kristin Herren

Emergent Literacy Lesson


Rationale: Knowledge of phonemes is an important concept for children to master in order to be better at reading, writing, and spelling. Children need to know how to recognize phonemes in relation to spoken words as well as in written form. Short vowels are especially important and often difficult concepts for students to understand. This lesson will focus on a=/a/ or the short a phoneme.  Students will learn to associated the phoneme with the written letter a and learn how the short a phoneme is spoken and practice it by finding the phoneme in words.



1. Introduce the lesson by telling the students that words are like puzzles.  We have to put together the puzzle by learning how our mouth moves to make our words.  “Today we are going to work on the mouth move for a=/a/.  At first you may need to look really hard for a, but as we practice, it will be easier to find.”

2. “Has anyone ever jumped from a closet or dark place and scared you? What did you do?  That’s right you yelled or screamed.  It sounds like Aaaaa!  Let me hear you quietly make that sound.  Good.  Today when we make this sound we will hold our hands on our cheeks like on the movie Home Alone.” 

3. “Now lets try the tongue twister on the chart, 'Aunt Ashley asked if alligators can plant grass.' Let’s say it three times together as a class.  Ready.  Good.  Now lets put our hands on our cheeks when we hear a.  Great.  Now, stretch the a sound when you hear it.”

4. “Now get out your pencil and paper.  We are going to write the letter that represents the /a/ sound. To make uppercase A, you need to first start at the rooftop, go down the slide to the sidewalk, then down the slide the other way, and cross at the fence. For lowercase a, don't start at the fence. Start under the fence. Go up and touch the fence, then around and touch the sidewalk, around and straight down.  I am going to walk around and see that you are writing your a correctly.  If I put a star on your paper, write it nine more time for practice.  When you see the letter a all by itself in a word, that's the signal to say /a/."

5. Call on students randomly to answer the question and tell how they know the answer. “Do you hear a in cat or dog? Grass or tree? Good or bad? Sit or stand? Good.  Now take out your a/X cards.  If you hear a in the word, show me the a side.  If you do not, show me the X.  Ready.  Aunt, Ashley, asked, if, alligators, can, plant, and grass.”

6. Read Pat’s Jam.  “This story is about a rat that goes to the grocery store.  What will she buy?  We will have to read and find out.”  Read the story again.  Have students clap when they hear the phoneme.  After re-reading the story, write the short a words on the board.

7.  For assessment, pass out the picture page and help the class name the items on the page.  Then tell them to circle the pictures with the short a sound in the word.  Then they can color the pictures. 



Anna Ludlum, Don’t Make the Baby Cry  Back  to Guidelines