Abby Alligator

Emergent Literacy

Lindsey Mizzell 

Rationale:  First, students must be aware that spoken words are composed of phonemes, and then, understand the relationship existing between these units of sound and the alphabetic letters (graphemes) representing them.  Before students can match letters to phonemes, they have to recognize the phonemes in spoken words.  When children become aware that spoken words are comprised of phonemes we say that they have phonemic awareness (Eldredge, 23).  For children, short vowels are hard to recognize.  This lesson will help students identify /a/.  To help students remember /a/ we will look at the letter symbol, make a meaningful representation, and finally practice finding the /a/ in spoken words.


Materials:  Pencil, index cards, primary paper, sentence strip (“Abby the alligator asks the apple farmer for some apple pie”).



1.  Begin lesson by explaining that some sounds of words are hard to identify or “tricky.”  Today we will practice making /a/ with our mouths.  Let’s begin by making the /a/ sound.  /a/ is in many words. Help students recognize the mouth movements required to make /a/. Let’s identify some of those words with /a/.  Cat, rat, tap, hat, brag, at, map, etc.  Sometimes recognizing /a/ in spoken words is tricky.  As we practice you will begin to recognize /a/ httmore quickly.  Let’s practice so we can become /a/ experts!


2.  Ask:  Have you ever been scared so badly that you said /a/!!!  Let’s pretend that as we are walking down the hallway someone jumps out of the bathroom and scares us.  (Have students stand by their desks and walk in place to act out the scene).  Now a 4th grader has jumped out in front of us.  What do we scream?  /a/!!!


3.  Now we are going to repeat a tongue twister.  (Located on sentence strip).  Abby the alligator asks the apple farmer for some apple pie.  Now let’s say this twister four times together.  Next:  Now every time you hear the /a/ I want you to use your arms to illustrate a talking alligator.  Aaaby, the aaaligator aasks the aaapple farmer for some aapple pie.  Let’s repeat this tongue twister one more time and remember to make Abby alligator talk with your arms when you hear /a/. 


4.  (Students need their primary paper and a pencil)  Now that we have practiced making the /a/ sound we will practice writing the letter a.  Let’s write it! 


  Start under the fence.  Go up and touch the fence, then around and touch the sidewalk, around and straight down.  Now everyone hold up you’re a.  I am going to walk around as you practice making ten more letter a’s.  Remember, when you see letter a all by itself in a word, that’s the signal to say /a/.


5.  Do you hear /a/ in cap or cup?  Have students explain their answers.  Tad or Tod?  Last or List?  (Pass out cards that have /a/ and a question mark).  Say:  If you hear /a/ show me the side of the card with the letter a printed on it.  If you do not hear /a/ show me the question mark.  (Give words one at a time).  Abby the alligator asked the apple farmer for some apple pie.


6.  Read  A Cap Nap and talk briefly about the story.  Reread A Cap Nap and have students hold up their index cards when they hear /a/.  Write the words on the board and then have students write a message, poem, or story using the words.  Display their work on the classroom bulletin board.


7.  For assessment, show students various pictures and ask them to identify which ones have /a/.



     Eldredge, Lloyd.  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Prentice Hall, Inc., 1995.
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