Today is a May Day
Beginning Reader Design
Laura Meadors

Rationale:  In order for children who are beginning readers to move on to reading fluently, they must learn many different things.  One very helpful component of learning how to read is to know what a digraph is.  A digraph is what is made when 2 or more letters with individual sounds are combined in order to make a new, single sound.  This lesson will teach the ay = /A/ correspondence.  This simply means that the 2 graphemes ‘a’ and ‘y’ are put together to form the digraph ‘ay’ to make the /A/ phoneme.  After this lesson is over, the children should be able to hear and see words with the ay = /A/.

Materials:  Letters of the alphabet, Elkonin boxes, A Day with May, by Nat Gabriel (Reader’s Digest Children’s Publishing, Inc. 2000), primary paper, pencils, and chart paper.

1) Begin the lesson by making sure all the students know what a vowel is.  Then explain to the students that by taking two vowels such as ‘a’ and ‘y’ and combining them, it makes not two sounds anymore, but one!! “Today I am going to teach you what sound is made when the vowels ‘a’ and ‘y’ are put side by side.”
2) “When the letters ‘a’ and ‘y’ are beside each other, they make the ay = /A/ sound.  I want you all to look up here at the chart while I read the tongue twister on it.  Listen carefully for our ay = /A/ sound.  May plays with Jay and Kay once a day.  Now lets all say it together.  What words did we hear that had our ay = /A/ sound? Yes, that’s terrific!!! May, plays, Jay, Kay, and Day.”
3) “Hopefully by now you will all be able to know when someone says a word with the ay = /A/ sound when they are talking, but just for practice, I am going to read some sentences to you (one at a time) and when I am done, I want you to raise your hands and tell me how many words I said with the ay = /A/ sound in them.  Ok, here is the first sentence, second, third, forth, and fifth.
A) May I say that your house is gray? (3)
B) The play got better everyday.  (2)
C) The hen wants to lay her eggs.  (1)
D) Can Kay and Jay come over today? (3)
E) I must say, May days are best to play. (4)
Great Job!! You were all able to pick out the correct number of words just by listening to me!”
4) Now the class will do a letterbox lesson with ay = /A/ using Elkonin boxes and laminated letters of the alphabet.  The lesson will be thoroughly explained before the children start.  “Now that we all know how to do a letterbox lesson, let’s begin.  First I am only going to tell you to spell some words with only 2 letterboxes and then we will work our way up to 3 and 4 letterboxes. The first word I want you to spell is ‘say’.  Using 2 letterboxes, place the letters where they belong.  When you are all done, put your hands in your lap and I will show you my letterboxes so you can check and see if you got yours right.” If they got it right, we will move on to some more but if not, I will stop and explain why I put ‘s’ in the first letterbox and ‘ay’ in the second.  We will continue our letterbox lesson with the words: day, may, play, say, jay, lay, hay, and pay.  When the lesson is over, we will gather together the words we spelled and will place them in a column on a piece of chart paper then practice reading them before the children put away their letterbox materials.
5) “Now that you all seem to have a pretty good grasp on our new vowel correspondence, I am going to read you a book, and together we will try to see how many words we recognize that have the ay = /A/ in them.  Then we will do a fun activity with those words. In the book we are about to read called, A Day with May, there are 2 words in the title that make our sound because they have the letters ‘a’ and ‘y’ side by side.  Now listen carefully as I read the title one more time. By a show of hands, who can tell me what 2 words have the ay = /A/ sound? That’s right!! Day and May!! Very good!! Now here is a tricky question.  What word in the title has our sound, but doesn’t have the ‘ay’ in the word.  That’s right!! The word ‘A’.”  Now the book will be read to the children and together we will pick out the ay = /A/ words.  “You all did a fabulous job listening for our new sound in the book.  Now let’s add to our chart by placing our new list of words from the book to our list of words from our letterbox lesson.”
6) In order to assess the children, primary paper and pencils will be handed out for a writing activity.  “Okay children, I want you to look at the words on the chart we collected from our letterbox lesson and our book with the ay = /A/ sound.  Pick one of those words and write it down on your paper.  Once you are done doing that, write a message using your word with the ay = /A/ sound.  When you are done, one by one you can share your message with the rest of the class.”  The papers will be collected when the children are finished sharing and they will be displayed on our ay = /A/ wall in the hall so the rest of the school can see what the children learned about and can see how smart they are.

The Reading Genie Website:
I See A Bee!! by Jennifer O'Meara

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