AAAAAA!!! Open Wide, Says the Doctor!!


Emergent Literacy Design 
Lara Wiggins


Phonemic Awareness basically focuses on children’s understanding of the nature of spoken words. Phonemic Awareness has been discovered to be one of the main criteria when determining a child’s ability to read and write. Vowels seem to be some of the most difficult phonemes for children to identify. This lesson will help children learn to recognize the phoneme /a/, also known as the short a.


-Primary paper and pencil

-Pat’s Jam by Sheila Cushman

-Set of note cards with pictures and words on them,(containing the short a). (van, jam, rat, ham, cap, sad, pals)

-Drawing paper and crayons

-Picture Page


1). Introduce the lesson by explaining to the students that they will be learning about the vowel sound /a/ today. Tell the students that we will be doing a number of activities to become more familiar with the short a sound.

2). Ask the students--- “Have you ever gone to the doctor?” Well, if you have you know that there comes that dreadful moment where the doctor comes at you with that wooden, looks like a lollipop stick! He usually says, “AAAA, open wide, so I can see down your throat!” Oh, what a terrible feeling having something stuck down your throat! That “AAAA” sound that you make for the doctor is just the sound we are going to be studying about today!

3). Next, show the students the cards with the pictures and words on them containing the vowel /a/. Maybe, go through the cards first, just to let the students see them and then the second time let them try and identify what is on each card.

4). Then, take out the pencil and primary paper and have the students practice writing the letter “a”. I would say to the student “let’s begin a little bit below the fence, curve to the left coming up to the fence line, and back down around like the letter “c”; now let’s come back to the top of the fence line and close the “c” off with a straight line from the fence to the sidewalk to make the letter an “a”. “Now practice making this letter until you feel like it is perfect and you would like to show it to me!”

5). Read Pat’s Jam and discuss what happens in the story. After the students read the book, say to the students, “Now I will read the story again and I want you all to come up with some kind of motion for every time you hear the sound /a/.” “An example may be for you to open your mouth and stick out your tongue every time you hear the sound /a/.”

6). Next, hand out some primary paper and pencils and have each child write something or draw a picture about the story.

7). For assessment, give the children each a picture page with lines containing pictures of things containing the /a/ sound in them and some that do not. Have the children identify which pictures contain the /a/ sound.


J Lloyd Eldredge(1995)Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classroom..Englewood Cliffs, NJ: (pp.25-27).
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