Nikki Montgomery
Emergent Literacy

                                                                Go Fish

Rationale:  Before children learn to read and write, they need to learn first, that letters of the alphabet stand for phonemes, and spelling words map out phonemes in spoken words.  Of all of the phonemes, short vowels are the hardest to identify.  This lesson will teach children to identify /a/ (short a), and how to recognize /a/ in spoken words.  This teaches children a meaningful representation of a letter symbol, and then it will give them practice on finding /a/ in different words.

Materials:  primary paper and pencil; chart with pockets on it; class set of cards with a and ? on opposite sides; drawing paper and crayons; fishbowl; cut-out fish to go in bowls; fishing stick with magnet hanging from it; My Cap book; concentration game cards with short /a/ words on them; magazine pictures; worksheet.

Procedures:  1.  Introduce lesson and explain to students that our written language is like a secret code.  But the tricky part is learning what sound stands for what letter.  Today class, we are going to work on trying to spot the /a/ mouth move.  At first, /a/ will be kind of hard to spot in works, but as we keep practicing this, it will get easier to see /a/ in words.
2. Ask students:  “Has anyone ever gone fishing?  Well, at each group table, I have a fish bowl.  In each fish bowl, are little fish and three sharks.  But, on each fish are some words with the short /a/ sound and each person is to use your fishing pole and stick the magnet in the bowl to get a fish.  If you pull out a shark, everyone puts all of his or her words back in the fish bowl, but you get to keep the shark out.  Do this for the two remaining sharks, and the person with the most fish at the end of the game wins.”
3. Have class get out their primary writing tablets and a pencil.  Say to students, “Boys and girls, we can use the letter “a” to spell /a/.  Let’s try to write it.  Start at the middle line, and draw a circle to the left hit the bottom line and circle back up to where you started.  Then draw a straight line down to the bottom line.  I am going to walk around and look at everyone’s a.  So remember, we are practicing the short /a/, and if you see ‘a’ in a word, this is the signal for the short /a/ sound.”
4. Divide class into pairs.  Demonstrate with one student, and teach class to play concentration.  Have short /a/ words written down on each card.  Turn cards face down and each student will take a turn and turn over two cards.  If the words on the two cards rhyme, then you put those cards aside and go again.  If the next two cards do not rhyme, the next person gets to take a turn.
5. Read My Cap to the class and discuss story.  Read it again and have students raise their hands when they hear the /a/ sound in words.  List these words on the board, and then have each child draw their favorite cap and write a message of why they like it, using inventive spelling.  Each child will then show their work to the class.
6. For assessment, have entire class come back to middle of room, and call on one child at a time and ask the students if /a/ is in the words I say to them.  “Do you hear /a/ in bark or beak?  Walk or run? Banana or peach? Apple or fruit?  Cup or glass? Tangerine or pineapple?”  Now, pass out cards to every student.  The cards have “a” on one side, and “?” on the other side.  Tell the children to hold up the “a” side if they hear /a/ in the word given, or hold “?” if they do not hear the /a/ in the word.  Give words one by one, such as ask, after, Auburn, hot, night, tomato, his, up, air, tap, desk.

Reference:  Shealey, De (gave me idea on pocket chart and concentration game).
Murray, Bruce A. (ed.) Haiden Pierce and others.  Successful Strategies for Teaching Children to Read.  Fall 1996.

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