Kelly Terrana
Emergent LiteracyDesign

Bobbing for Apples

Rationale:  In order for children to be able to read and write, they must be able to distinguish the individual sounds in words.  These sounds are called phonemes.  ãPhonemes are the basic vocal gestures from which the spoken words of a language are constructed (Murray).ä  Children must be given opportunities to work with these sounds and be able to distinguish separate phonemes in words.  This lesson works on the phoneme /a/ (short a).  Children will complete an activity in which they hear the phoneme /a/ repeatedly, and use tongue twisters to reiterate the sound.

Materials:  apple shapes cut out of red construction paper; markers to write the given words on their apples:  bat, cat, hop, flap, fad, last, bird, apple, lid, and rub;  Poster board with a barrel drawn on it big enough to hold all of the apples in it; book, The Cat Nap. Velcro pieces attached to the back of the apples and also in the barrel; chalk; chalk board.  Assessment activity:  worksheet with various pictures drawn on it representing the short a sound.


1. The teacher will introduce the lesson by explaining to the students that words are made up of letters that represent different sounds.  The key to learning to read is knowing what sounds the letters stand for.  We must also be able to identify the sounds in words.  Today we are going to work on learning the short a=/a/ sound.  Once we learn the sound we can find the sound in lots of words when we are reading.

2. ãFirst, lets make the short /a/ sound.  The short /a/ sound is like a baby crying.  It sounds like this: /aaaaaaaa/.  Letâs all say /a/ together.ä (class responds).  Teacher holds up an apple.  ãNow letâs say the word, apple, but say the /a/ sound slowly; listen to me first, then weâll say it together.  ãAaaaapple.ä  Now together:  ãAaaaappleä  Great.ä

3. Have the students repeat the following tongue twister:  (written on the board)  ãAdam and Ashley asked Andrew if his animals were angry anymore.ä  ãEverybody say it together.  Now this time letâs all say the tongue twister together but stretch out the short /a/ sound.ä  ãAaaadam aaand Aaaashley aaaasked Aaaandrew if his aaanimals were aaangry aaanymore.ä

4. ãNow we are going to focus on our activity.  I have apples with different words written on them in the barrel.  Some words have the short /a/ sound in them and others do not.  We are going to go bobbing for the apples that have the short /a/ sound in them.  I will point to an apple and together we will say the word.  If you hear the short /a/ sound raise your hand and weâll take that apple out of the barrel.  If you donât hear the short /a/ sound then donât raise your hands, and weâll leave it in the barrel.  Remember, we only want to raise our hands when we hear the short /a/ sound.ä

5. Class starts the activity.  When children hear the short /a/ sound in the words they are saying, they will raise their hand, and when they do not hear the short /a/ sound, they will keep their hands down.

6. ãNow that we have learned our short /a/ sound, letâs read the book, A Cat Nap.  We can practice listening for the short /a/ sound.ä  Teacher gives a short book talk that gives a brief summary about the book.  ãWe are going to read the book two times.  The first time I will read the book to you and I want you to listen for the short /a/ sounds.  The second time I will read the book slowly, and I want you to raise your hands when you hear the short /a/ sounds.ä

7. For assessment:  The teacher will have a worksheet with various pictures drawn on it.  Some will have the short a sound, and others will not.  The student should be instructed to circle the pictures that have the short a sound in them.  Examples are pictures of a cat, a hat, a dog, a house, and a bag.  The student should circle the cat, hat, and bag.

Branon, Hilary.  Emergent Literacy Lesson.
Murray, Bruce A.  (1998).  Gaining Alphabetic Insight:  Is Phonemic Manipulation Skill or Identity Knowledge Causal?  Journal Of Educational Psychology, 90, 461-475.

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