Bobby Owen
“Baby Cry Sound”
crying baby
Emergent Reading

Rationale: In order to be able to read and spell words children need to comprehend that more letters make different sounds. They need to understand that a certain letter may make more than one sound. It is important that children be able to recognize phonemes and match letters to phonemes. The vowels are some of the most important phonemes to recognize. In addition, distinguishing between a short and long vowel is of critical importance as well. The first sound I will work on is the /a/ (short a). They will learn to recognize /a/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and practice finding /a/ in words.

Materials: Primary paper and pencil, “A Cat Nap”, markers, color crayons, a worksheet with a picture of a apple, cherry, cap, dog, man, rug, cloth, bat, bag, bus, and book on it.

Procedure:
1. Start by telling them that in everything we write is a complex code. That in order to write we need to know what letters stand for the many different sounds we make. “Today we will work on /a/. We will notice it in spoken words, at first it may seem hard to find, but with practice this will become easier.”
2. I will explain how in some instance A is long and says its name, but how other times it makes an /a/ sound. And that is what we call short a. I will then ask them to make a short a sound.
3. “Do you know what I sometimes call this sound?” “I call it the baby cry sound, because it sounds the same as a little baby when it is crying.” Model for them /a/ like I am crying. Then point out what position the mouth is in when that sound is made.
4. We are now going to try a hard tongue twister. It is, Aaron ate apples as Annie’s airplane accelerated. “You try saying it now. Very good, now try to say it two times together very fast. Did you notice that every one of those words had an /a/ sound in it. Now I want you to try to say it stretching out the /a/ sound at the beginning of each word.” Model this for the children.
5. “Now lets work on writing the word in the correct manner. Lets get out our paper and pencil and see if we can do it. Start below the fence line, make a circle to the sidewalk, and then back up to the fence line, then straight down to the sidewalk. I want you to practice by doing this nine more times. Once you are done I will put a check on your paper.”
6. Do you remember how a babies cry sound makes the /a/ sound. I am going to call out some words, if you hear the /a/ sound then make the baby cry noise, if you do not hear the sound do not make any noise. I will call out a list of words with about half the words having the /a/ sound while the other half not. I will then ask for student volunteers if they hear the /a/ sound in one word or another. For example, do you hear /a/ in apples or cherries?
7. Read “A Cat Nap” and discuss the story. This book is meant to work on the short a sound. I will then read it again and have them raise their hands when they hear an /a/ sound. I will then let each student draw and color a picture of a cat and write a message about it using invented spelling.
8. For assessment, hand out picture worksheet. Call out each picture, and have them circle each picture with a marker that they think has an /a/ sound.

Reference: Eldredge, J. Lloyd (1995) Teaching decoding in a holistic classroom. New Jersey, Prentice Hall Inc. (pps. 41-44, 148-149)

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