Sara Knight
Emergent Literacy Design

Rationale: It is important for children to understand the alphabetic principle so that they can learn to read and spell words.  Children need to understand that letters stand for phonemes and spellings serve as a map for the phonemes.  This lesson is aimed at helping childrenâs understanding of the vowel ãaä and identifying /a/ in spoken and written words.

Materials: Primary paper and pencil; chart with ãAbby asked Allen about animals and applesä; class set of cards with a on one side and ? on the other; picture page with illustrations of apple, bat, cap, fan, bag, bib, bed, sock, and bus; book- Cat Chat.

    1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that writing is a secret code.  The tricky part is learning what letters stand for- the mouth moves we make as we say words.  Today weâre going to work on spotting the mouth move /a/.  At first /a/ may seem hidden in words, but as you get to know it, youâll be able to spot /a/ in all kinds of words.
    2. Ask students:  What kind of sound do you make when you sneeze?  A-a-aachoo!  That is right!  That is the sound we are looking for in words.  Letâs say that sound together. A-a-aachoo!  Iâll show you how to spot /a/ in a word.  Stretch it out, and see if you say /a/, like when you are beginning to sneeze.  Iâll try bat, bbba-a-a-a-at.  Ba-a-a·.There!  I said the beginning sound of a sneeze.
    3. Letâs try a tongue twister(on chart).  ãAbby asked Allen about animals and apples.ä  Everybody say it together.  Now we are going to say it again, but this time, stretch the /a/ at the beginning of the words.  ãAaabby aaasked Aaallen about aaanimals aaand aaapples.ä  Try it again, and this time break /a/ off each word: ã/a/bby /a/sked /a/llen about /a/nimals /a/nd /a/pples.ä  Good Job!
     4. (Students need primary paper and pencil)  Everyone get out your paper and pencil.  We are going to practice making the letter a to spell /a/.  Start at the ground and move your pencil to the roof in a slanted position like this. (model)  Then go from the roof back down to the ground in an opposite slant.  Next, go to the fence and make a line connecting the two slanted lines.  While everybody is trying to make the letter, I will come around and look. (walk around, check and allow those who did it correctly to make a full line of aâs)
    5. Now we are going to pick out the /a/ sound out of words.  Do you hear /a/ in cap or cut?  Mad or Mom?  Glass or cup?  (Pass out u/? cards to students)  Letâs see if you can spot the mouth move /a/ in some words.  Show me a if you hear /a/ and question mark if you donât. (give words one at a time)  Apple, bus, bat, sock, cap, fan, bag, and bib.
    6. Read Cat Chat and talk about the story.  Read it again and have the students hold up their a cards when they hear words with /a/.  List their words on the board.
    7. For assessment, distribute the picture page and help students name each picture.  Ask each student to circle the pictures whose names have /a/.

Eldredge, J.L. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  New Jersey, Prentice Hall, Inc. (1995)

Click here to return to Inroads.