“Quack Attack”


Emergent Literacy Design

 Ashley Higginbotham


Rational:  In order for children to learn to read and spell words, they need the alphabetic insight that letters stand for phonemes and that spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words.  Before children can match letters to phonemes, they have to recognize the phonemes.  This lesson will help children to identify /a/.  They will learn to recognize /a/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and the letter symbol, and then practice applying /a/.



·        A cat Nap, Carson CA: Educational Insights, 1990.

·        Primary paper & pencils.

·        Duck Stickers

·        Index cards with a picture of a duck and /a/ on them.

·        Worksheets with various pictures of /a/ sounding objects: cat, tack, bat, crab, flat, grass, etc.



1.  Introduce the lesson by explaining that words are made up of individual sounds.  “Each word is made up of many different sounds and when we combine the different sounds they make different words.  Today we are going to work on sounding out words with /a/ and making words with /a/.”


  1. Tell students: “Think about taking a trip to a farm and imagine all the sounds animals make.  Think again about the /a/ sound that we are learning about.  Can anyone think of an animal that lives on a farm and makes the /a/ sound?”  (Ex. lamb or duck)  “Today, we will use the duck as an example.  This sound is what the /a/ sounds like.  Let’s pretend we are ducks and say Quaaaack, Quaaaack, Quaaaack!  Good job everyone!”


  1. “Let’s try a tongue twister.  “After eating apples in Africa, the animals ate apples in the alley.  Everyone say it together.  Now let’s try it again and stretch out the /a/ sound.  Aaaafter eating aaaapples in AAAAfrica, the aaaanimals ate aaaapples in the aaaalley.  Good job.  One more time!”


  1. “Now take out a piece of primary paper and your pencil.  We can use the letter to spell /a/.  Let’s practice writing /a/.  Place your pencil halfway between the sidewalk and fence, go around to the sidewalk and curve back up to where you started.  Without picking up your pencil, draw a straight line back down to the sidewalk.  I want to see everyone’s a.  After I place a duck sticker on it, make a row of a’s just like the first one.”


  1. “We are going to listen for /a/ in some words that I am about to say.”  (Pass out index cards with duck pictures on them.)  “When I say a word and you hear /a/ I want everyone to hold up their duck card.  If you don’t hear /a/ then be sure to keep your cards down.”  Use the words cat, ham, get, apple, ant, cup, can, fish, nap, rat, bet, has, and hot.


  1. Read “ A Cat Nap.”  Tell the students to hold up their duck card every time a word with /a/ is read.


  1. For assessment, distribute the picture page and help students name each picture.  Students will then circle the pictures with the /a/ in their names.




Eldridge, J. Lloyd (1995).  “Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.”  New Jersey: Merrill, 1995, pp.50-70.

 “A Cat Nap”.  Carson, CA: Educational Insights, 1990.

 Questions?  Email me!

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