play ball
Play Ball Ya’ll!

Beginning Reading: Lessons for teaching decoding with consonant digraphs and other chunks

By: Kristie Fitzgerald

Rationale: To learn to read and spell words children must first learn phonemes and letter correspondences. Sometime phoneme are represented by two letters that go together to make one sound such as _all= /awl/. This is what we call a digraph. Digraphs are very common in the English language. This lesson will help children understand that when they see a and ll together it makes the /awl/ sound. The lesson will develop the student’s awareness of _all =/awl/, by giving them instruction and practice on how to form the /awl/ move, as well as, practice reading decodable text containing the _all  correspondence. The students will receive instruction in the decoding the _all move in words, as well as, practice spelling the words themselves.

Materials:  - Primary paper
                   - Pencils
                   - Board to write words on
                   - Assessment page: Page of pictures that represent words which contain the _all correspondence. (Pictures: ball, tall boy, picture of fall, picture of                     someone calling somebody, picture of the mall, picture of a hall, picture of a wall. Pictures that are not _all: chair, brain, train, fair (carnival),                             trail, and a sprained ankle.
                   - Letterboxes and letters for the group.
                    -Letters needed for this lesson:   b, a, l, l, t, p, m, d, o, h, y, f, u, w, s, c, i, y, n, f.                   -
                    -Group set of the story: Fleagle, Gail, Marilyn Henry, illus. Play Balll! Richard C. Owen Publishers, Inc.
Katonah, New York, 1998. 8pgs.



1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that we use letters to write down words, and that these letters represent different sounds.  To become good readers, we need to learn how to match the letters to their sounds. I know you know how to make the /awl/ sound because when you see something cute you saw aww. So the /awl/ sound is aww plus l which equals /awl/. You saw aww and then your tongue goes on the back on your front teeth. Let’s practice that together, just to make sure everyone remembers. (The whole class together says /awl/) Very good!  So when we see words like ball, the letters all says /awl/.  Now that we all know the /awl/ sound, today we are going to learn how to make the /awl/ mouth move. You know when somebody needs you to pull something heavy they say give your all and pulllll. So we are going to say all pull. You say aww and then  you push your tongue on the back of your front teeth. Well we are going to pretend we are pulling something heavy and practice saying /awl/. That is what the sound the letters _all (phonograms) makes. 

2. "As you get to know what the _all mouth move creates, you will be able to read and spell many words.  Let’s say awl’s name all together…..a-w-l-l-, a-w-l-l, a-w-l-l, a-w-l-l, a-w-l-l, and a-w-l-l. Great! Well we're going to see if this sound can be heard when we see the letters all in a word. Let’s try this word together…. ball.  Let’s make the mouth moves together…. /b/, /a/, /ll/. Very good, does everyone hear the all saying its name?"

3. Lets read the tongue twister and have fun with it, "Good golly ya’ll! Miss Molly is jolly!"  Now let's read it together, but this time every time you hear a word with the /awl/ mouth move, I want you to say and pretend to pull a rope. "Good, (pull rope) golly (pull rope) ya’ll (pull rope)! Miss Molly (pull rope) is jolly (pull rope)."  Good job!   Can anyone tell me a word they heard with the /awl/ mouth move in it?  Very good.  Let's practice recognizing the /awl/ mouth move in some spoken words.  Ask the students the following questions and call on them to answer.  Do you hear /awl/ in ball or tale, tune or mall, line or call, tall or sing?

 4.   Ask the students to take out primary paper and a pencil.  Think of words with the /awl/ sound and make a rhyme or a little poem. The teacher can also model while students are writing. Walk around and observe everyone's letters.

 5. Each child will now receive an Elkonin letterbox as well as the appropriate letter tiles. "Now we will practice using our knowledge of the /awl/ sound to spell words.  This is how I would spell the word "hall."  First I am going to unfold three of my boxes because "hall" has three mouth moves, /h/ /a/ /ll/. Hall does have four letters, but the ll on the end goes together to make the same sound. I am going to start with the first mouth move I make h-h-h-all.  I hear /h/.  I will place the letter h in the first letterbox. The next mouth move I make is /a/ like aw. I am going to place the letter a in the second letterbox, because it is the second mouth move I make. To finish I need to find the last mouth move.  Ha-ll.  I make the /awl/ mouth move, which means I will place the letters ll in the last letterbox.

 6. All of you have your own letterboxes and the letters: b, a, l, l, t, p, m, d, o, h, y, f, u, w, s, c, i, y, n, f.  I want you to try to spell some words the same way that I just did.  We will first open our letterboxes to only three boxes meaning that each word we spell contains three mouth moves.  I will ask the children to spell ball, tall, call, mall, fall. We will continue on in this manner spelling 4 phoneme words such as: trail, brain, faint, spray. 5 phonemes words such as: sprain, strain.  Lastly, I will write each word, one at a time on the board (ball, tall, call, mall, fall, brain, faint, trail, spray, sprain, strain) and call on students individually to read them out loud to the group.

7. Now, I want everyone to read a new book with your reading buddies. Every time you recognize an "_all" word I want you to point it out to your buddy.  Distribute class copies of (Play Ball!)   When we are done we will talk about the story.
Book talk: There is this Ox who loves to play ball everywhere. But is what he plays with really a ball? You will have to read the story to find out!

8. When everyone is finished reading.  The class will go back to their desk and I will ask for volunteers to tell me some words they recognized in the book that contain _all.  As I write the words on the board, the children will use the same hand writing paper, where they practiced writing the letters, to write down the words I write on the board.

Assessment: The teacher will hand out a worksheet with pictures on it.  For an individual assessment I will ask each student to read two or three pseudo words independently, containing the _awl correspondence, such as: gall, kail, jall.

Reference: Traci Leech, Summer 2004.

Decodable book: Fleagle, Gail, Marilyn Henry, illus. Play Balll! Richard C. Owen Publishers, Inc. Katonah, New York, 1998. 8pgs.

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