Ally’s Apples

Beginning Reading Design

Allyson Houlton


For children to achieve phonics, reading and spelling, they must first understand the different phonemes. Children need to learn to recognize the phoneme sounds by matching the 26 letters in our alphabet to the vocal gestures we speak. This lesson will help students identify /a/, which is represented by the letter a. After this lesson, children will be able to recognize /a/ in spoken words through repetition, a catchy tongue twister, and then will be evaluated through assessment, where students will be able to make their own silly sentence using/a/. After reading “Sam the Ant”, students will become more aware of the /a/ in more spoken words.


1. Primary Paper

2. Pencils

3. “Ally’s apples sat on Abby’s mat” written on chart paper with a picture of apples.

4. Letter Boxes

5. Letter Tiles (a, t, h, e, n, p, j, m, s, d, b)

6. Copies of the book Sam the Ant, by Eleanor McDavid, for each student

7.  Card of the letter a written on a picture of an apple, “Ally’s Apple”



1. Explain to the students that every letter has a sound. “Our mouth moves differently as we say different letters. Today, we will learn how to make the sound that represents the letter a. Show students the letter a written on an apple.”

2. Ask students: “Have you ever opened your mouth wide to take a bite out of an apple? Apple says /a/. When we stretch out the beginning of the word apple we say ‘aaaaa’. Everyone try it together.”

3. (Take out chart with tongue twister): “Now let’s look at our tongue twister. Ally’s apples sat on Abby’s mat. Now everyone say it together two times. This time, while we read it aloud, we will put emphasis on the /a/ and stretch it out. Say it like this, Aaally’s aaaples saaat on Aaaby’s maaat. Good, now let’s try it again and this time we will break the /a/ off from the rest of the words. /a/lly’s /a/pples s/a/t on /a/bby’s m/a/t. Great job!”

4. Next, we will see if the students can recognize /a/ in spoken words. “Now, I am going to give you two words and you tell me which one has the /a/ sound in it. I’ll give you an example. Do we hear /a/ in bat or pit? We hear /a/ in bat! Now you try. Do you hear /a/ in vet or cat? Cat, correct! Do you hear /a/ in class or nice? Class, correct! Do you hear /a/ in bolt or ax? Ax, correct!”

5. Next, we will begin the letterbox lesson. Explain the rules of letterboxes and how each phoneme has a box. Say a word aloud and have the students break it into phonemes using the boxes. Model the spelling and decoding of the first word, crab. “So, when we hear the word crab, how many phonemes do we hear? C-R-A-B, great, so we hear 4 phonemes. This means we will need 4 letter boxes laid out. Each letter will go into its own box, like this!” Now you will try! Show the students the letterboxes with the letters in them on the document camera. Then, have them try the words at, nap, jam, sam, then, band, and mad. Walk around room to make sure everyone understands, and review each word’s spelling on the document camera, as well as reading the word aloud 2 times each and discussing the pronunciation of each word once all students have finished.

6. Introduce the book Sam the Ant. “This is Sam. He is an ant. Let’s find out all of his duties throughout the day and how he helps his family.” Read Sam the Ant on their own. Have a discussion about the story and the /a/ sound. Read the story again, this time as a group, and have the students open their mouths wide as if biting an apple when they hear the /a/. Write the words on the chart paper at the end of the book and read each aloud.

7. For practice, ask the students to think of some more /a/ words that have not been mentioned yet. Have them make a silly sentence like the one we read earlier made up of 3 to 5 /a/ words. Have the students present to the class if they wish. Then for assessment, teacher will call out words of her choice to the students and have them write on a piece of notebook paper “yes” or “no”, as to whether they feel that they can hear the /a/ sound in the words.


-Foukal, Jenilee. Itsy Bitsy Indian.

- Sam the Ant, by Eleanor McDavid

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