Jan or Jane?

By: Margaret Ann Hinshaw

Rationale: Children need to understand that letters can have more than one sound. Once students begin to comprehend this, they will have a better insight into the world of reading. They will become better decoders and will in turn gain the confidence they need to become fluent readers. This lesson is designed to help students learn a_e=/A/. Through meaningful representation and decodable text they will be able to decipher between the different sounds of the letter A.

Materials: Paper, pencils, die cuts of the alphabet, the decodable text Jane and Babe published by Educational Insights, and note cards with the following pseudowords: frate, pag, mac, shate, tate, lak, snate, and plat.

1)  “Last week we learned a little bit about the letter A.” “Can anyone remind me of what sound we hear when we see A….. /a/ is correct!” “Well today we are going to talk about another sound that the letter A can make.” This is the sound we here when A says its own name.” “Let’s say A’s name all together….. A, A, A, A, A” “Great!” “Well we’re going to see that this sound can be heard when we see the letter A in a word, followed by a consonant, and then the letter e.” “Let’s try this word together…. c/a/n/e.” “Let’s make the sounds together…. /c/, /A/, /n/, /e/.” “Very good!!”
2)  “I am going to write a few words on the board.” “We will pronounce them together and then I want you to stand up when you hear the /A/ sound.” “Bat, mat, late (stand up), map, state (stand up), tag, date (stand up), plate (stand up). Very good!!”  Be sure to point to each individual sound as they are made.
3)  The students will get out their copies of Jane and Babe and read them silently to themselves. They will make a list of the a_e=/A/ words from the text.
4)  When they are done there will be consonant cut outs in a chart pocket from the story. The students will be given “A” and “E” cutouts to make a word from the story with those two consonants. For example, one pocket will have a “B” and a “B”. So the student would add an “A” and “E” and make the word “Babe.” Another pocket will have a “J” and an “N” they will make the word “Jane.”

Assessment:  Call students up individually for the pseudoword test. Show them the flash cards and record the data, to be sure that they have a good understanding of a=/a/ and a=/A/ sounds.


Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classroom. Prentice Hall, Inc., 1995. Ch.7 pg.91, Ch.9, pg.133.

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