“ ‘Aaaarrr!’ said the Pirate”

Annette Lombardi

A Design in Emergent Literacy


RationaleSince phoneme awareness is a predictor and one of the keys to later reading success, it is important to focus on it in the classroom.  In this lesson the                         students will learn the phoneme /ar/.  This correspondence is a little different when /a/ and /r/ are by themselves, so it is important for the student to be                      able to recognize the letters when combined together. The students will master this phoneme in written and oral language through meaningful activities.

Materials: chart paper with the tongue twister written on it, paper, pencil, cut out gold coins with "ar" on one side, a sheet with illustrations on it, and "Arlene                                Sardine" written by Christopher Raschka and published by Orchard Books in 1998.


 1)  Introduce the lesson by stating that our language can be quite confusing, but it helps when you know what letters make what mouth moves, or sounds, and when       they make them.  Today we are going to talk about the letters a and r and the special sound they make when they are beside each other becoming friends.

2)  Ask your students, "Has any one ever dressed up as a pirate for Halloween before?  What do you say when you were a pirate?  Have you ever seen one?  What      would he or she say when they met you?".  Wait to hear some answers and then reply back with an "Aaaaarrrr!"  You can include an arm movement in front of         you-complete with your hand closed except for your pointer finger serving as your hook!  Encourage the students to do this with you.  "Let's pretend we are             pirates!"

3)  Then move to the chart paper with the tongue twister "Clark the movie star parked his car" on it and read it to the students a few times, and encourage them to          recite it with you.  When the students have the tongue twister down, say that you are going to say the tongue twister a little different this time, when you hear the      /ar/ sound come from your mouth, stretch it out longer than the other sounds you say.  Even encourage them to do the hand movements.  "Cl/ar/k the movie st/ar/     p/ar/ked his c/ar/".

4)  Then ask your students to take out their paper and pencil.  We are going to practice writing and recognizing the letters "ar" together.  Watch me write them first         and then you try.  First, I am going to start at the fence and loop around and make an o.  Then I am going to give the o a tail to make it an a.  Then right beside it         we are going to write it's friend r.  Let’s start at the fence again and write a line straight down to the ground.  Then let's start at the line we just made and give it a         hump like a camel. Now everyone let's try to write the friends "ar" together.  Have them write it several times over.  When "ar" are friends, that is how we know         that we make the special /ar/ sound with our mouths. 

5)  Next pass out the cut out gold pirate coins with "ar" on one side.  Explain that you are going to read out a few sets of words, and when they hear the /ar/ sound in      one of them to hold up their gold coin.  A few examples of are: circle/star, bark/meow, van/car, and drive/park. 

6)  Next read "Arlene Sardine" out loud, and ask the students to listen very carefully.  Then read the book again and ask your students to raise their golden coins each      time they hear the ar correspondence.

7)  To asses the students, pass out the worksheet with various illustrations on it.  Some of the illustrations will contain the /ar/ phoneme in their pronunciation and           some will not.  Ask your students to circle the ones with the /ar/ sound.  

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