Michelle Harris
Emergent Literacy

Crying Baby

Rationale:  Phonemic awareness is a pre-requisite for phonics, spelling development, and word recognition.  Children must learn to isolate phonemes before they learn to spell.  Short vowels are very tough for children to identify.  This lesson will help children identify /a/ (short a).  they will learn to listen for the /a/ sounds in familiar words.

Materials:  enough pictures of a crying baby for everyone in the class; a chart with pictures of things that have the /a/ sound: apple, cat, bat, hat, mat and some things that do not have the /a/ sound: bed, dog, phone, shirt; blank drawing paper and markers/crayons

1. I will explain to the students how often we hear words that have the /a/ sound.  I will give them examples of familiar words they hear that they may not even know have the /a/ sound such as “cat” and “hat”.
2. We are going to pay attention to the way our mouth moves when we make the /a/ sound.  Watch my mouth as I say /a/.
3. Now I will teach the children a good way to remember what the /a/ sound sounds like.  I will ask the students if they have ever heard a baby crying.  “Now let’s all pretend to be crying babies and say /a/.”
4. I will now let the children hear the /a/ sound in familiar words.  I will point to the pictures on the chart (cat, hat, etc.).  Some have the /a/ sound and some do not.  When I point to a picture that you think has the /a/ sound in it, hold up your picture of a crying baby.
5. “Good!”  We will now read a book that focuses on the /a/ sound.  Such as “The Cat In The Hat” by Dr. Seuss.
6. Now I will teach the students to write the letter a, the letter that makes the /a/ sound.  Start your pencil in the middle of the fence and the sidewalk.  Go all the way up to the fence and around touching the sidewalk and back where you started.  Then, bring your pencil back down to the sidewalk.  I will come around and look at your a’s while you make 5 more.
7. For assessment, I will ask the students to draw their own pictures of things that have the /a/ sound.  Each student will draw 3 pictures of things with the /a/ sound using the blank paper and markers/crayons.

Reference:  Eldredge, J.Lloyd.  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Prentice Hall, Inc, 1995. Chapter 3: Phonemic Awareness and the Alphabetic Principle, 23-34.

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