The Cat and the Hat

Emergent Literacy

By Morgan Warner




The phoneme /a/ is seen very often in the English Language. It is important students know they must master this awareness in order to become fluent readers, and especially if they like candy or riding in taxi cabs. This lesson will go in depth to what the letter a has to offer in regards to reading and in relation to other words as well. We will pronounce the letter, spell words using it, and master how to write it through this lesson.



-         Picture of a baby crying (makes the /a/ sound)

-         Tongue Twister (Say “The Cat and The Hat”)

-         Letter Boxes and tiles (have out the letters)

-         12 Note Cards with the words at, pot, cat, hat, back, flat, plaque

-         Marker for writing words on note cards

-         Lined paper

-         2 Pencils

-         Copy of the a matching worksheet

-         The book The Cat and the Hat by Dr. Seuss



1.     Introduction: introduce the lesson by showing the student a picture of a baby crying. Explain, “We will be talking about the letter a today. Have you ever heard a baby crying? Do you have a little brother or sister? Say aaaaaaa with me. Aaaaaaaa. In order to make this sound, we will open our lips, pull our tongue down in the front, and pronounce it from the back of our throats.” Try it a few times until the student repeats it properly.

2.     Show the front of the book, “The Cat in the Hat” and use it as a small tongue twister. Read it first, and then have the child read it back to you a few times until he or she gets a hang of the word. “I will read ccccccaaaaaaaaaatttttttt and the hhhhhhaaaaaaaaattttttt. Do you hear the long aaaaaaaaaaaa sound as I read? Now you try.”

3.     Just aloud, and in order to assess progression in phoneme awareness, have the student think of words that he or she knows that start with or have the /a/ phoneme. Conform that they do or do not when the child comes up with different words. Then move on to the letter box lesson.

4.     Have note cards with different words on them, and have the student spell each word using the letter boxes. After spelling all of them, then hold up the cards and have the student read off each word. Help the student when he or she gets the word incorrect and review other sounds as well such as the short /o/ in pot. Use the /ck/ in back to show the student what it is that he or she will learn the next week.

5.     Use lined paper to draw a few of the ‘a’ letters, lowercase and uppercase, 12 times. As you write, tell the student, “Ok, now in order to make an ‘a’, we are going to start below the fence, go around to the sidewalk and back up and then straight again.” The explain how to make the capital letters by exclaiming, “Start at the roof, slide down the sidewalk, then back up and slide down the other way, and then cross at the fence.”

6.     After making the letters, include a time for the student to free write a message. Since this a free write, he or she can write about pretty much anything. This is to give them a time to express their ideas and really reveal the peak of their knowledge of writing.

7.     Have the student explore more using the matching worksheet where he or she will fill in and match the letters that corresponds to the word and the word that corresponds with the particular picture. Make sure they are correct when making the connections and that each picture corresponds to a different word. This worksheet will be used as the assessment for the students understanding.

8.     Book Talk, “The Cat and the Hat is a story about a cat and a hat. Look at the pictures, have you ever seen an animal that looks like this? They are very silly. Well the Cat and the hat go on an adventure together. Let's see what happens when these characters come together in the story." Have the student read orally the book, “The Cat and the Hat.” Check that all correspondences in regards to /a/ are made correctly.



For the Picture of a baby-

For the information on how to make letters-


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