Emergent Literacy
By Jenny Ames
Bless You

Rationale: Children have to recognize phonemes and the letter that corresponds to them. Once children can match these together, they are ready to spell and read. Recognizing short vowels is one of the hardest aspects of learning to read for young children. this lesson will help children identify /a/ short a, one of the short vowels. the children will learn how to recognize it in spoken language and also how to find it in words by learning the symbol.

Materials: Primary paper and pencils, The Cat Nap (Educational Insights), letter A pg from Dr. Suess’ ABC Book, crayons, worksheet with pictures of hat, cat ,bat, bag, drum and bird, memory game with rhyming /a/ words on one side and the other blank, tongue twister rhyme written on board: “Watch the cat act with his hat on the mat”, /a/ straws

1-Introduce the lesson by saying that we are learning another step to being able to break the reading code. Today we are going to learn about /a/. The mouth is open with your tongue laying gently on the floor of your mouth. /a/ is found in many words. As we go through the lesson, listen to what words we have that have /a/ in them and see if you can think of some more.

2-”Don’t you love to have a great big sneeze? When we sneeze we say, ‘achoo’. This is what A says. A says /a/. Let’s say it together, /a/. Once more /a/.

3-Let’s say our A sentence. I will say it first and you repeat after me. ‘Watch the cat act with his hat on the mat.’ Let’s say it again. Every time you hear the /a/ sound, say the word harder. ‘Watch the cat act with his hat on the mat.’

4-Get the students to take out paper and a pencil. “Let’s practice making short A. Start just below the fence, circle up to the fence, around back to the grass, connect to the starting point and then straight back to the grass. I am going to come around and see everyone’s A. Good now practice writing five more.! Good Job!

5-(pass out A sticks) “I am going to say some words that may or may not have the /a/ sound in them. If you hear the /a/ sound, hold up your stick. hat, pat, cat, mad, song, knock, fast. Good Job!

6-For a fun review game, tape the memory game to the board with the words face down. Divide the class into two teams and have each team take turns coming up to the board and turning over two cards to see if they match. Pass to teammate if able to get it right or switch teams if get it wrong. The team that makes the most matches wins.

7-Do a book talk and then read A Cat Nap to the class. Talk about the story with the class. Then have the students name the words that have /a/ in them while you write them on the board. You might need to read the story to them again going page by page.

8-For extra activities, pass out the A page from Dr. Suess’ ABC book for them to color. Have the students create an /a/ page for an alphabet book, writing all sorts of /a/ words that they can think of. (use inventive spelling)

9-Pass out the picture page of /a/ words and have the students color the pictures that have /a/ in them.

Cushman. Cat Nap. Educational Insights, Carson, 1990.
Dr. Suess’ ABC Book
Adams, Marilyn. Beginning to Read. University of Ill., 1990.

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