Abracadabra /a/ /a/ /a/

Emergent Literacy Design

By, Rebecca Creecy

Rationale:  Children need to understand that letters represent phonemes in order for them to learn to read and spell words.  The first step in their understanding is recognizing phonemes.  The short vowels are a great place to start.  This lesson will help the children to understand short a = /a/, as well as identify it in spoken and written words. 

Materials:  Primary paper and pencils; chart with "Abracadabra Abby Adams pulled a rabbit out of her hat."; A Cat Nap; Paper with pictures (apple, cat, bed, rabbit, jacket, bike, frog, etc.); cookie sheet and magnetic letters


1.    Introduce the lesson by explaining that writing is a secret code.  "Each letter has its own sound.  We are going to use magic to figure out the sounds that the letters represent.  Today we will focus on the letter a, which makes the /a/ sound.  We will learn to listen and look for it in spoken and written words." 

2.   "Do any of you know what a magician is?  Well, before they do their trick they wave their wand and say a magic word.  Can you guess the word?  (students) Abracadabra.  That's right.  When they say abracadabra they are making the /a/ sound.  Now let's pretend to have our own wand by using our pointer finger and arm.  When I count to three, we are all going to wave our wands and say abracadabra.  Ready, 1-2-3. (altogether) Abracadabra.  Great Job!  Now let's do it one more time emphasizing the /a/ sound.  Ready, 1-2-3.  (altogether) Aaaaaabracadaaaaabra.  Fantastic!  So, now when we see the short vowel a, we know to think like a magician."

3.    "Okay, now we are going to try a tongue twister. (on chart)  Abracadabra, Abby Adams pulled a rabbit out of her hat.  Let's all say it three times together.  Great job!  Now, get your wands ready.  We are going to say it again and stretch the /a/ sound.  Every time you hear the /a/ sound, wave your wand in the air.  Ready 1-2-3.  (altogether) Aaaaaabracadaaaaabra, Aaaaabby Aaaaadams pulled a raaaaabbit out of her haaaaat.  Wonderful!  You should all become magicians."

4.    "Now that you all know the short a sound, we are going to practice writing it.  Everyone needs a piece of paper and a pencil.  Let's write it together.  We will start under the fence.  Go up and touch the fence, then around and touch the sidewalk, around and straight down.  Now, I want to see everyone's a.  When I come to you and say abracadabra, I want you to make nine more a's the same way.  So, every time you see the letter a, you know to make the /a/ sound."

5.    "You are all doing such a great job!  I want you to pull out your wands again.  I am going to ask you some questions and if you know the answer raise your "wand" and tell me how you knew the answer.  Do you hear /a/ in cat or mouse?  Apple or orange?  Rabbit or frog?  You are all experts!" 

6.    I will provide a book talk and then read A Cat Nap.  Then I will read it again and have the students wave their wands when they hear the /a/ sound in a word.  I will list the words on the board.  Then I will have the students write a brief message about their favorite animal, using invented spelling.

7.    Assessment:  I will pass out the picture page to all of the children.  Then we will identify the pictures together to make sure that we all agree on the pictures.  Then the children will circle the pictures whose names have the /a/ sound.  After that, I will have the students pick a word from the page with the /a/ sound and spell it on the cookie sheet using the magnetic letters.  We will talk about the word and see what would happen if we changed the first or last letter.  (ex. cat, pat, sat, can, etc.)  We would go through the words to see if they all still had the /a/ sound.


A Cat Nap.  California.  Educational Insights, 1990. 

Eldredge, J.L.  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  New Jersey.  Prentice Hall,             

            Inc.  1995.  pgs. 50 - 70.

http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/inroads/lewisel.html  (Abra-kadabra-kazam /a/ /a/ /a/, POOF!  Lauren Lewis)

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