All in for A!!!


Beginning Literacy Design

Mery McMillan

Rationale: This lesson will help children identify the /a/ sound in spoken words.  The /a/ sound is the phoneme represented by the letter a.  Students will be able to recognize and understand how the mouth moves when sounding out the /a/ sound. Students will also gain more experience hearing the /a/ sound in spoken words by participating in the tongue twister, the /a/ word cards and the letterbox lesson.  Lastly, students will be given an assessment to test their knowledge on the /a/ sound in spoken words.


Primary paper and pencil; /a/ tongue twister sheet “Alice and Annie ate an apple pie at Annie’s apartment”; Word cards with: APPLE, LAP, BAT, FALL, CAT: Letterboxes and Letter tiles (letters needed: h, a, m, g, n, p, t, c, l, p, g, b, s, k, r, o, w); Pat's Jam Educational Insights book.


1.  Say: “Today we are going to learn how to say the short /a/ sound in the letter a.  This sound can be found in many words.  For instance, this is the sound you make whenever you scream, ‘Ahhhh’. Can you try making the /a/ sound with me when we scream? (Teacher will demonstrate the ‘Ahhhh’ sound).  Great!  See how your mouth stretches really wide whenever you make this sound?


2.  Say:  “Now lets try a super fun and silly tongue twister: “Alice and Annie ate an apple pie at Annie’s house”.  Now it’s your turn! I want you to try stretching out the /a/ sound (the teacher will model first and then students will attempt), “Aaaaaaalice aaaaaaaand Aaaaaanie aaaaaate aaaaan aaaaaaaaple pie aaaaaat Aaaaaanie’s house”.  Awesome job!


3.  Say:  “To make sure that you understand the /a/ sound in spoken words, I want you to point out which words has the /a/ sound on the word cards. Do you hear the /a/ sound in apple or plum? (apple) Do you hear the /a/ sound in late or lap? (lap) Bite or bat? (bat) Fall or fell? (Fall) Cat or kitten? (Cat)


4.  Say: “Now we are going to try a letterbox lesson (the teacher will model an example first).  Remember that to place each individual phoneme (sound) in each letterbox.  I am going to show you how to spell the word: Sat. The first sound is /s/, so you place an s in the first letterbox. The next sound you hear is the /a/ in sat, so you place an a in the second letterbox.  The last sound you hear is the /t/ sound in the word sat, so you place a t in the third letterbox.  Marvelous!  Now you have spelled the word Sat”. Next, the teacher will ask the student to spell the words: 2 phonemes- at, all, ate, 3 phonemes- ham, bag, hat, man, pan, ant; 4 phonemes- clap, grab, hand, mask, arrow (letters needed: h, a, m, g, n, p, t, c, l, p, g, b, s, k, r, o, w). The teacher will say each word slowly and will stretch out the /a/ sound so that students can distinguish how many phonemes to place in each individual box.


5.  Say:  “For our last activity, I want you to read Pat’s Jam.  This book is about two rats named Pat and Pam.  Pat has ham and Pam has jam.  However, both cannot leave the grocery store since their van is out of gas.  What do you think Pat and Pam will do? You will have to read Pat's Jam in order to find out!”  An engaging booktalk like this one will help the student to be more eager to read the story.


Assessment: The teacher will pass out an assessment worksheet that has a picture and scrambled letters on the side students will be asked to unscramble the letters and correctly spell the letters next to the picture.  All of the words will have the /a/ sound.




Cushman, Sheila. Pat's Jam. Ed. Pat Millie. Carson, CA.: Educational Insights, 1990. Print.


Lauren Emily Shipman, “Abby’s Apple”:

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