Do you hear that crying baby?
Melinda McDonald


In order for children to understand phonemes or what a phoneme is they need to have letter recognition.  After they can do this then they can understand that letters stand for phonemes and phoneme sequence.  A phoneme is a meaning of a letter or digraph, the "mouth move" signaled by a letter.  This lesson will help students understand the short /a/ sound.  Students will be able to recognize the vowel in spoken sense, remember it by a meaningful exercise, and practice finding /a/ in written words.


Primary paper and pencil; chart with "Andrew and Alice asked if Annie's active animals were angry", the book A Cat Nap


1. Lesson will start off with explaining about phonemes.  When we say words our mouth moves in the way we speak words.  Today we are going to learn what motions our mouth makes when we say /a/.  The /a/ sound is the short a.  After today you will be able to pick the /a/ sound out of everyday words.

2. Ask students:  Have you ever heard a crying baby before?  Pick someone who responded.  Ask them what it sounded like.  Then explain that is sounds like /a/.  Explain that is sound we will look for today.  I will show you how to listen for it and recognize it.  If I say apple, aaaple.  Aaaple…. Did you hear it?  I said /a/ in apple.

3. On this chart we have a tongue twister.  "Andrew and Alice asked if Annies's active animals were angry."  Let's try saying it together.  "Andrew and Alice asked if Annie's active animals were angry."  If I say /a/ndrew is the say as Andrew?  Ask students about this and help them understand.  Try whole twister.  Great Job, Awesome!

4. [Get out primary paper and pencil]  We can say/a/ but we need a letter to represent it.  We you say /a/ the letter a represents it.  [Model writing the letter on board]  To write the letter a, you must start under the fence.  Go up and touch the fence then around and touch the side walk.  Around and straight down.  Well, let's see if everyone can do it.  After you are done raise your hand so I can see it.  After I have seen your paper, try to do a whole row of them.  After you are done raise your hand so I can see your work and let you receive a sticker for great work.

5. Ask students if they hear /a/ in certain words.  Do you hear /a/ in apple or plum?  Can or jug?  Back or leg?  Tell students you need their cooperation to do a fun activity.  We will do a little song activity.  It goes by the beat of "Skip to my Lou."  I will sing the song and you listen to the words of the song.  I need you to raise your hand if you know the answer.  "Who has a word that has an /a/?  Has, has, has a /a/?  Who has a word that has a /a/?  Skip to the Lou my darling.  For example, if a child says apple then fill in the word apple to the song and resing it.  Encourage students to join if they know the words.  Do it about four times.

6. Read A Cat Nap and talk about story while reading.  After the story is done explain to them that you are going to do a chart on the board.  Then you will reread it and tell them when they hear /a/ raise their hand and I will write it down.  After the book is finished talk about the words.  Example, cat it has the /a/ caaat.  Erase the board when done.

7. For assessment, they will be asked to think about /a/ and what sound it makes.  To list some words that have that sound and write a message using them.


Eldredge, J. Lloyd.  (1995). Developing Phonemic Awareness through stories, games, and songs.  Pgs, 50-70.
The reading genie website:
Zanier-Bloser handout for creating letters

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