Knap Sack Snap

Beginning to Read

Rachel Bowman




In order to develop a child's phonemic awareness, children must have an understanding of short vowel sounds. They must understand that letters represent a specific sound, thus building phonemic awareness. For students to be successful fluent readers, they must accomplish decoding skills for unfamiliar words. In this lesson, students will learn the short a sound a = /a/. By using tongue twisters, buddy reading, and print concepts students will learn to read and write short vowel /a/ words.




Primary paper



Elkonin boxes for students (up to 6 boxes)

Plastic letters for each student ( a, b, c, d, f, h, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, t )

Pseudoword sheet with gaf, han, tam, lat, wap

A Cat Nap by Shelia Cushman




1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that sounds of letters combine to make words.  'We are going to concentrate on one sound today. Can you say 'aaaaaa' Like a crying baby? The 'aaaa' sound is the short /a/. Let's work with the letter that goes with our aaaa sound, that's right the short vowel /a/.'


2. Let's try listening to some words to see if we can hear the 'aaaa' sound.  I want you to twist your fists at your eyes when you hear a word with the 'aaaa' sound.  Here we, go, ran, sand, jump, top, man, rat, kick, bag, nap. Nice!'


3. Have each child read A Cat Nap by Shelia Cushman.  Have the students pick out words that contain the short a=/a/. Review list as class, all words that contain /a/ in A Cat Nap.


4. 'Lets pull out our letters and letter boxes. Can we start by spelling 'map'. We need three boxes. Do we hear the 'aaaa' sound?' Continue the letterbox lesson by using words at, cab, fad, rag, ham, and hand.




For each child I will give them a new /a/ word and have them read it.  Some will be actual words and some will be pseudo words. I will do this individually with each student.





Murray, B.A., and Lesniak, T. (1999) 'The Letterbox Lesson'  A
 hands-on approach for teaching decoding.'  The Reading Teacher, March 1999.  pp. 644-650


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