Laugh at the Cat!
Emergent Literacy Design
Lindsay Bailey

Rationale: It is important for students to understand that letters stand for phonemes so that we are able to speak written words. It is also important that children recognize phonemes in words. This lesson will help students learn to identify /a/ in spoken words. They will also learn the letter symbol for /a/. Students will practice finding /a/ in words.

Materials: primary paper, pencil, poster with "Abby laughed at the cat as he napped" written on it, picture flash cards with pictures of a bat, cat, bug, egg, sun, hat, dad, pan, dog, and a map, concentration game cards with pictures of a bat, cat, map, cap, dad, sad, pan, and can on them, white copy paper, and crayons

Procedure:
1. I will introduce the lesson by explaining to the children that in order for us to read and write we must first understand that when we say each letter our mouth moves in different ways. " Today we are going to learn how our mouth moves when we say /a/. You will be surprised how many words you say that you will hear /a/ in!"
2. "First I am going to show you how to pick out /a/ in a word. You take a word and stretch it out. As you stretch it out, see if you say /a/. I'll go first. Bbbba-a-a-a-at. Bba-a-a. There, I said it. Did you spot it?"
3. "I came up with a little tongue twister to help you remember /a/. "Abby laughed at the cat as he napped." Now I want everyone to say it with me. Now say it again, but this time stretch out the words like we did with bat and look for /a/. Could you spot it?"
4. "Can anyone show me what letter spells /a/? I want you to come up and write it on the board for me. Very Good!" I will then have students take out their primary paper and pencils. "We are all going to make the letter a. I want you to start by putting your pencil just below the window. Begin curving up until you touch the window. Then continue the curve down towards the floor and back up to the window. To finish the letter, draw a line straight down from the window to the floor. When you have made the letter a, raise your hand so that I can come see it." Once I have seen the children's letters I will have them continue practicing on the rest of the line. "When you see the letter a in a word, all by itself, that means you say /a/."
5. "Now I am going to say some words. I want you to tell me if you hear /a/ in them. Do you hear /a/ in cat or dog? Mom or Dad? Clap or yell? Bat or glove?"
6. "Since we all have done so well learning /a/, we are going to play a game called concentration. Each group of students will get a deck of cards that have pictures on them (see materials). Each card should be placed face down on the table. One at a time, each player will turn over two cards trying to make a match. In order to make a match, the names of the pictures on the cards must rhyme.
7. We will read Cat Traps by Molly Coxe and discuss what is happening in the story. As we read it again, I will have students listen for words with /a/ in them. I will then allow them to share with the class.
8. For our writing activity, I am going to have the children draw a picture of the cat in our story and some of the snacks he caught. They will then use invented spelling to write a message about the cat and his snacks.

Assessment: In order to assess my students I will have them number one to ten on a piece of paper. I will hold up picture flash cards and the children will have to say what the picture is and look for /a/ in the word. If they find it they will write the letter next to that number on their paper. If they do not find it they will leave that number blank.

Reference: Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Prentice Hall: New Jersey, 1995. p.169.

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