Lindsey Moore
Emergent Literacy

 "AAAAAAAAA!" we scream on the roller coaster

Rationale: Children need to be able to recognize phonemes first before they can join letters and phonemes.  Phonemes are the smallest unit of sounds in our language.  Short vowels are some of the hardest phonemes to identify.  In this lesson children will learn to recognize /a/ in spoken words by learning an insightful representation and a letter symbol.

Materials:  Letterboxes and letter manipulative for the words at, am, cat, ham, rag, mat, hand, and flash {a, c, d, f, g, h, l, m, n, r, t}, the book A Cat Nap, a poster with a tongue twister, a poster with things that have the /a/ sound, paper, and crayons.

1. I will introduce the lesson by telling the students that ãwe often hear words that have the /a/ sound.ä  ãWhen letter Îaâ says /a/, we call this short a.ä  I will give the children examples of words that have the /a/ sound such as ãcatä and ãmap.ä  ãCan you say these words by really stressing the /a/ sound?ä  ãGood!ä

2. Ask students: ãHave you ever screamed on a scary ride at a theme park?ä  ãDid your scream sound like AAAAAAAA?ä Thatâs the mouth movement we are looking for in words with short ãaä.  ãNow, letâs all pretend to be riding a roller coaster and say the /a/ sound.ä  ãGood job!ä

3. (Display poster with tongue twister)  ãLetâs try a tongue twister.ä  ãAlex always has animals for Ashley.ä  ãLetâs all say it together several times.ä  ãNow, letâs try it again; this time I want you to raise your hand every time you hear the /a/ sound in them.ä  ãWay to go!ä

4. (Show poster with words that have /a/ sound.)  ãI want everyone to look at this poster.  Raise your hand if you can tell me which pictures have the/a/ sound.ä ãGreat!ä

5. ãAll right class, now we will use our letterboxes to spell some words. Please get out your boxes and these letters Îaâ, Îcâ, Îdâ, Îfâ, Îgâ, Îhâ, Îlâ, Îmâ, Înâ, Îrâ, Îtâ.  Letâs spell Îatâ·,Îamâ·, Îcatâ·, Îhamâ·, Îragâ·, Îmatâ·, Îhandâ·, and Îflagâ.ä  I will correct spelling before moving on to the next word.

6. ãRead A Cat Nap and discuss the story.  As you read, see how many words you can find with /a/ sound.ä

7. For assessment, I will ask the students to draw pictures of things that have the /a/ sound.  Each student will draw three pictures of things that have the /a/ sound using paper and crayons.  Display their work.

Reference:  Murray, B.A. & Lesniak, T. (1999).  The Letterbox Lesson:  A Hands on Approach for Teaching Decoding:  The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.

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