Brandi Shirley
Beginning Reading

Waaa, Feed Me!

Rationale: Children need to understand the alphabetic principle that spellings map the phoneme sequence of spoken words. Learning to spell words before learning to read them is a clear demonstration of this principle. Transferring this sounding-out strategy from spelling the words to reading the words helps the children learn words thoroughly enough to remember them as sight words. This lesson will help children identify the correspondence a=/a/. They will learn the sound a makes by learning a meaningful representation, and they will learn how to better recognize /a/ in spoken words. They will also learn to spell and read words with the /a/ sound through the letterbox lesson and by reading a new book.
Materials: Chalkboard and chalk; overhead projector; transparent letterboxes; transparent letters (a, t, n, b, f, m, p, sh, s, d, c, l, r); letterbox set for each child; laminated lower case letters(above); chart with the following words: on, ant, bat, fan, map, ash, sand, clap, lamp, strap; student copy of A Cat Nap for the whole class; and the correct number of letterboxes below the picture to spell the words(I will print the pictures and worksheets on the computer).
Procedures: 1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that we use letters to write down words, and that these letters represent different sounds. In order to become good readers, we need to learn how to match the letters to their sounds. Today, we are going to learn that the letter a stands for the /a/ sound. As you get to know the sound little a makes, you will be able to read and spell many words.
2. Write the letter a on the board. This letter makes the /a/ sound when it is by itself in a word. Letâs all make the /a/ sound. /a/. Have you ever heard a baby crying? Well, they are making the /a/ sound when they cry. Letâs all pretend we are babies crying and make the /a/ sound. /a/, feed me.
3. Letâs practice spotting the /a/ sound in some spoken words. (Ask students the following questions and call on them to answer.) Do you hear /a/ in cat or dog? Bad or good? Pan or pet? Back or front?
4. Demonstrate how to spell words using the overhead projector and the transparent letterboxes and letters. Say: Students, we are now going to practice spelling words with the /a/ sound. Each box stands for one sound. I am going to spell the word at. Listen as I say the two sounds in the word at. /a/ /t/. It helps to say the two sounds in the word to yourself. Aaattt, aaattt. I hear the /a/ sound at the beginning, so I will place the a in the first box. I hear the /t/ sound at the end of the word, so I will place the t in the last box. Aaattt. I spelled all the sounds in at. Now, letâs see if you all can spell some words using the /a/ sound.
5. (Pass out letterboxes and laminated letters to each student). Say: Are you guys ready to practice spelling some words with the /a/ sound? Great! See if you can spell an. When you are finished, raise your hand and I will come and check to see if you did it correctly. After everyone has finished, choose a student who correctly spelled the word to put it up on the projector. Continue the lesson with the following words: ant, bat, fan, map, ash, sand, clap, lamp, strap (Tell students how many boxes they will need for each word).
6. Show the class a chart with all the words previously spelled on it. Point to the word an and have them say the word aloud. Continue doing this with the following words: ant, bat, fan, map, ash, sand, clap, strap, and lamp.
7. (Give each student a copy of A Cat Nap). Say: How many of you have cats at home? Do they seem to sleep most of the time? Well, today we are going to read about a cat named Tab who loves to nap. Letâs read A Cat Nap and spend a day with our friend Tab. (Have students read the book on their own. Then ask the students if they remember any words from the story that have the /a/ sound. Write these words on the board as the children say them).
8. For assessment, give each student a picture page with the correct number of letterboxes to spell the word underneath the picture. As a class, we will name the first picture and then I will have them spell the word in the letterboxes below the picture. Remind the children that each box has only one sound. We will do this with each picture.

Reference: Murray, B.A., & Lesniak, T. (1999). The letterbox Lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher, 644-650.

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