Plans or Planes?

Beginning Readers

By: Alea Kent


Rationale: In order for children to become successful readers, they must learn to decode. The skills children need to decode include recognizing and understanding grapheme to phoneme correspondences. The goal of this lesson is to teach children the grapheme A or a and its corresponding phoneme a_e= /A/. They will do this by participating in several activities including listening to the phoneme a_e=/A/, saying the phoneme in a tongue twister, reading and spelling words with a_e=/A/ in a letter box lesson, and reading a decodable book, Jane and Babe.



-long strip of poster with tongue twister: Amy waves "AAAA!" to her friends while she bakes cakes all day to trade.

-bag for each student with Elkonin letter boxes and letters (a, t, e, c, g, s, k, p, l, r, m, b)

- copy of book, Jane and Babe, for each student

-worksheet for each student (attached)

- pieces of paper with letterbox lesson words written on them: at, ate, ace, age, ask, plate, grape, camp, blame, stare



1. Review a=/a/. "Can anyone tell me what sound short a makes? That's right, it makes the /a/ sound. Let's see if you can identify some words with the a=/a/ sound. Do you hear /a/ in cat or dog? Ask or tell? Rag or cloth? That or then? Slam or shut?


2. Great job! Now we are going learn another sound that the letter a can make. When the letter a is in a word followed by a consonant and e at the end, it says /A/. Can everyone say /A/ with me? It is almost like when people wave to each other and say 'AAAAA!' Can everyone wave to each other and say 'AAAA!'"


3. "Now we are going to do a tongue twister." Place strip with tongue twister on board so the children can read along as they say it. "Amy waves "AAAA!" to her friends while she bakes cakes all day to trade."  First, the teacher should say it once to the students. Once this is done, ask the students to say it aloud with you at normal speed. Once they say it at normal speed, make the /A/ sounds longer in each word.


4. Begin letterbox lesson. "Now we are going to practice reading and writing a few words with the letter a." Pass out bags with Elkonin letterboxes and letters. Model how to spell and read a word. "Now I am going to show you how to spell a word using our boxes. I am going to spell scrap. It has five sounds, so I will need five boxes; /s/ /c/ /r/ /a/ /p/, scrap. I put the first sound, /s/, in the first box. The next sound I hear is /c/, so I will put it in the next box. The next sound I hear is /r/, so it will go in the third box. The fourth sound I hear is /a/, so it goes in the fourth box. The last sound I hear is /p/, so it goes in the last box. Now I am going to spell scrape, it still just has five sounds so I will still need five boxes; /s/ /c/ /r/ /A/ /p/. I just put my e on the outside of the boxes because I know it takes an e to make the letter a say /A/. Now I am going to read two words." Write plan on the board. "This word says plan, /p/ /l/ /a/ /n/, plan. Now if I add an e to the end of the word, it changes how I say it. Now I say it /p/ /l/ /A/ /n/, plane. Now it is your turn to try."


5. The children will review some /a/ words as well as practice with the new phoneme /A/. "Now you may take out your letterboxes and letters. I will call out a word for you to spell. Then I will use the word in a sentence so you will understand the meaning of the word." Listed below is the list of words to ask the children to spell. As you are calling out the words, walk around the room observing the children and helping students who need it.

2: at, ate, ace, age

3: ask

4: plate, grape, camp, blame, stare


6. Once they are finished spelling the words, it is now time to read them. Have each letterbox word written on a piece of paper to hold up. Ask the children to read each word they have just spelled out loud as a group.


7. "Since you all have done so well learning that 'a' can sometimes say /A/, we are now going to read a book called Jane and Babe. In this book, Jane has a friend who is unlike most of her other friends. He is a lion named Babe. Babe lives in a cage, but because Babe is tame, Jane will often go into his cage to play with him. One day, Jane cannot wake Babe up. You'll have to read to find out if she finally wakes him up. I hope he isn't angry!" Place students in pairs for them to read to each other. Instruct them to help each other if they need it. If they still need help, they can raise their hand and you will assist them.


8. Once the children have finished reading, they may go back to their seats and begin the assessment worksheet. (see attached) "Now we are going to do one final activity for this lesson. I am going to pass out a worksheet that I want you to do your best on. On the worksheet are several pictures. Under each picture, I want you to write the word that describes what the picture is. Other times, there will be a word, and I want you to draw a picture of the word." Do the first picture on the worksheet as an example for them.



Cushman, Sheila, & Rona Kornblum. Jane and Babe. 1990. Educational Insights.

Kent, H.A. "Who Ate My Cake?" worksheet.

Murray, B.A. The Letterbox Lesson.

Pearman, Jeannie. Race to Say /A/!

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