"Ayyyyy" Fonzie
Beginning Reading Lesson Design

Meagan Spradlin

Rationale:  “The long sound of a vowel is signaled by relatively complex but only semi-reliable spelling cues.” (Adams 77)  This lesson will help children identify ay =/A/.  They will learn to recognize /A/ in spoken words by learning a representation, letter symbols, and practice finding /A/ in words.


            Chalkboard and chalk
            Primary paper and pencil
            Drawing paper and crayons
           James and the Good Day (Educational Insights)
List of words for assessment: way, up, tray, stay, way, boy, play, jump, boat, stray
            Chart paper for tongue twister


  1. Introduce lesson by explaining that many words contain secret messages and that to decode these messages we must learn what the letters stand for.  “Today we’re going to work on spotting ay in words.  When you see ay in a word it makes the /A/ sound.”  Explain difference in /a/ and /A/.  Review /a/.

  1. “Who knows what the Fonz says?  That’s right- ayyyyy.  Let’s pretend we’re Fonzie and hold your thumb up and say ayyyyy.  (Imitate Fonzie).  Each time we hear /A/ in a word we will become the Fonz.”

  1. “Let’s try that using our tongue twister. " (Use chart paper to write tongue twister as you say it:)  "Clay stays in the day to play by the bay."  (Model this for students by saying tongue twister two times and become the Fonz each time the /A/ is heard.)  "Now let’s say it three times together and become the Fonz each time we hear the /A/.  This time when we say it stretch out the /A/ in each word.  Claaaayyyyy staaaayyyyys in the daaayyy to plaaayyy by the baaayyy.  This time instead of stretching out the /A/ we will break it off:   Cla /A/ st /A/s in the d/a/ to pl/A/ by the b/A/.”

  1. “We already know how to write an a and a y but today we will practice writing them together.” (Have students take out primary paper and pencil and explain that ay is one way to represent /A/.)  Let's review: "For 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.  Now right next to a, we will write a y.  Go down on a slant, pick up your pencil, slant down, touch, and on into the ditch.  Everyone hold up your ay.  Practice writing this 5 more times.  Remember when you see ay in a word it says /A/.

  1. “I hear /A/ in day not girl.  I hear /A/ in play not goat."  Ask students:  "Do you hear /A/ in way or cup?   Bowl or spray?  Tray or pot?    Now if you hear /A/ in a word I want you to stand up, if you don’t hear it then sit down:  (give words one by one) Clay, stays, in, the, day, to, play, by, the, bay."

  1. Have students read James and the Good Day and talk about the story.  Read it aloud this time, page by page, and have students raise their hands when they hear the /A/ sound.  List the words they raised their hands to on the board.  Have students draw a picture of something from the story and write a message about their picture.

  1. For assessment, quiz students individually about which words contain /A/ as they work on their picture and message.  Mix pseudowords with real words for the assessment.  Words:  way, up, tray, stay, boy, play, jump, boat, stray, fim, sen,


            Adams, Marilyn Jager.  (1990).  Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print- A Summary.  Center for the Study of Reading and The Reading Research and Education Center.  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  77.

            Cushman, Sheila and Rona Kornblum. (1990). Phonics Readers: Long Vowels- Book 1 Long a.  Educational Insights.  Carson, CA.

            Dickinson, Sue.  Spell, Read, and Write.  How to Print Letters (handout).

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