Blair Brewer
                                                              Astonishing A!
                                                           Beginning Reading

Rationale: Children learn about spoken language by learning to read and write.  Phonemic awareness helps children grasp this concept.  Short vowels are sometimes hard for children to understand.  This is designed to help children identify and understand /a/, one of the short vowel phonemes they need when learning to read and spell words.

Materials: Elkonin boxes; letter manipulatives for f, a, t, b, s, r; a big book; A Cat Nap, containing words with /a/; chalk; and black board.

1. Introduce the lesson by explaining good readers need to not only know the letter, but the sound the letter makes.  Some sounds are harder to spot, but once you know what sound it makes it will be easier to spot.
2. Tell the students the sound we will look for today is /a/.  Has anyone heard a baby cry?  What sound does a baby make when it cries?  It sounds like /a/, /a/, /a/.  We have a letter that makes the /a/ sound and it looks like this (draw an ‘a’ on the board).
3. (Pass out 3-cell Elkonin boxes.)  Let’s take out our box and the letters f, a, t, s, b, and r and spell some words using /a/.  First spell the word fat.  Has any one seen a fat cat?  (I will walk around to every child and help anyone who needs it.) Now change the word fat to rat (note misspellings).  Spell bat.  What kind of bat is that?  Now spell sat. Who sat on that shirt?
4. I am going to write some words on the board.  When I point to them, I want you to tell me what it is.  (Have the children read the words fat, rat, bat, and sat.)
5. Get the big book A Cat Nap out.  Have the children sit on the floor in the front of the room.  Say to them: We are going to read A Cat Nap.  Have you ever seen a cat nap?  Well, the problem with this cat is that he naps in bad places.  To find out where he naps, we must read the book.  Tell the children you need their help to read this book.  I will point to the words and I will call on somebody to read a line in the book.  We will read the whole book twice so everybody has a chance to read a line.

Reference:  Eldredge, J. Lloyd (1995).  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.   Columbus, Ohio: Prentice Hall (p. 27) (Ch. 3).

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