The Cat in the Hat

Carlie Larson

Emergent Literacy


Rationale:  In order for children to learn how to read and spell words, they must first be able to understand phonemic awareness.  This should help children to decipher the written and spoken phonemes in words.  Before children begin to correlate phonemes to letters, it is most important that the children can identify the phonemes in spoken words.  Since overall children have a difficult time with short vowels, this lesson will help children identify /a/ (short a). 



Chart with “Callie and Abby ate apples at Addison’s one afternoon.”

Primary Paper and Pencils for each child

Handout with pictures of an apple, a cat, a bat, a man, a bed, a map, a lake, and a bag.

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA. 1985.)



  1. Begin by telling the children the correspondent you will be reviewing with them today, a=/a/.  Then ask the children to say the /a/ sound aloud with you.  Now ask the children to place their hands on their chin and see what happens when they say the /a/ sound.  The children should feel their hand move in a downward position on their face.  Once the children feel comfortable with the movement of their mouth saying the /a/ sound, then proceed to the next step.


  1. Now show the children a picture of a boy/girl with their mouth open and their hands on their face to imply they are screaming /a/.  Ask the children if they can recall some time when they would scream /a/.  Then give the children examples such as if someone throws you a surprise party you might scream /a/ or you are riding a roller coaster you might scream /a/.  Now tell the children to pretend like they have just been surprised and that when they scream /a/ they should put their hands on their cheeks when they say it.  Do this a few times.


  1. Next, introduce the tongue twister:  “Callie and Abby ate apples at Addison’s one afternoon.”  Once the teacher has said the tongue twister aloud, have the students repeat it back at least two more times.  Now we are going to stretch out the /a/ sound in the tongue twister.  Have the students echo the following the first time:  Caaaalie and Aaaaaby ate aaaaaples aaaat Aaaaadison’s one aaaaafternoon.  Once the students have done this successfully, have the students do it on their own a few times.


  1. Have students take out primary paper and pencil. We can use letter a to spell /a/. Let's write it. Start at the fence. Draw a circle downward to the sidewalk and back up to the fence. Now, without lifting your pencil, draw a line straight down to the sidewalk. I want to see everybody's a. After I look at everyone’s a, I want you to make five more just like it. When you see letter a all by itself in a word, that's the signal to say /a/.


  1. Now let me show you how to find the /a/ in splash.  I’m going to start by stretching splash out really slowly so try to listen and find the /a/ sound.  Sp-sp-spl-a-sh.  Sp-spl-a-a….  There it is! I do hear the /a/ in splash.  Now let me show you how to spell this word in our letterbox.  (Read the word back to the student once the letters are in the letterbox.


  1. Ask students if they hear the /a/ sound in a list of words such as:  Do you hear the /a/ sound in sat or sun, tap or tea, boat or bag, mate or mat, axe or ape?


  1. Say:  This is the Cat in the Hat and one rainy day he decides to come to this little boy and little girl’s house to play with them.  It looks like the Cat in the Hat may cause some trouble, so let’s read this book to see what kind of trouble he gets in.  Now read the book “The Cat in the Hat,” and talk about the story with the children.  Then reread the book and have children raise their hand when they hear words with the /a/ sound.  List their words on the board.  Then have the children write a message about their favorite animal using invented spelling.


  1. For assessment, give the children the handout with the pictures of words that have an /a/ sound and words that do not.  Then have the children circle only the words that have an /a/ sound in them.




Tew, Melanie.  Adam’s Apples


Seuss, Dr.  The Cat in the Cat(Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA. 1985.)

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