Cry Like a Baby


By: Lauren Dooley


Rationale: Students must become aware of the correspondences between a grapheme, the written letter, and a phoneme, the vocal gesture of that letter. As beginning readers, it is important to give the students ways to connect the grapheme to the phoneme. Students will learn the correspondence a= /a/in this lesson. They will be able to recognize a in written words when reading a book and /a/ in spoken words when doing the tongue twister.


                - Primary paper (per student)

                - Pencil (per student)

                -Chart with tongue twister: "Andrew asked Alice about the animals."

                -Apple card (per student)

                -Book-Pat's Jam Auburn University. Carson, Educational Insights, 1990.

                -letter box set(one per student)

                -Letter tiles (a,c,t,g,m,j,f,l,r,b) (per student)


1) Introduce the grapheme a. Explain to students that this letter tells your mouth to say something. It tells you to say the /a/ sound.

2) Ask students questions like:

                a) Have you ever heard a baby cry?

                b) Who can show me how a baby cries?

                c) Do you hear the /a/ sound when you cry like a baby?

Explain that this is the sound they will be working with today. The letter a tells them to make a crying baby sound. Ask them to all make the crying baby sound and rub their eyes like they are a crying baby to practice.

3) Show students how to find the /a/ sound in a word. Give them an example like this:

                "I want to find the /a/ sound in the word man. To find the sound I am looking for I will say the word super slow and stretch out all of the sounds. M/m/m/m/a/a/a/a/a/n/n/n/n. Did you hear the /a/ sound in man?" Introduce the chart with the tongue twister for them to practice finding the /a/ sound. The tongue twister should say, "Andrew asked Alice about the animals." Say it once through, and then allow students to join in the next time. Tell them, "Now, let's say it again and every time we hear the crying baby sound let's stretch it out and rub our eyes like a crying baby to remember the sound." All together they should say, "A/a/a/a/ndrew a/a/a/asked A/a/a/alice a/a/a/a/bout the a/a/a/animals."

4) Each student will now need his/her primary paper and a pencil. Students will now practice writing their letter a to help connect the /a/ sound they have learned today. Students can be told, "To make an a we will start right below the fence, curve up, touch the fence, curve around and down to the sidewalk. After you get to the sidewalk go straight up to the fence, back down and give is a curl on the sidewalk."Allow students to practice writing it and making the sound each time they write an a.

5) Students will now be asked to practice finding /a/ in spoken words. Tell students, "I  am going to call out a pair of words. I want you to tell me which of the words has the /a/ sound in it. I will show you before we start. Is /a/ in man or girl? I am going to stretch both words out to see if I can find the /a/ sound. M/m/m/a/a/a/n/n/n. I hear it in man, but let me say girl slowly just to be sure. G/g/g/i/i/i/r/r/l/l/l. No, I did not hear it in girl, but I did in man. Now I will let you do it."Continue calling out each pair of words and allow students to respond. Pairs of words can be: apple/lemon, jam/jelly, bag/house, cat/dog, mouse/rat.

6) Instruct students to get out their letter boxes and plastic tiles. Give them a model before they try like the following:

                "Let me show you how to spell a word using the letter boxes. I am going to spell flag. Each box represents a sound in the word. So, I will say it slow to find all of the sounds. F/f/f/l/l/l/a/a/a/g/g/g.  (Place letters in the correct box as it is sounded out.) I spelled flag. "


Allow students to spell the following words for practice: bag, mat, jam, cat, flag, crab

After spelling all of the words in their letter boxes, give the students a list of the words to practice reading the words that they have spelled. Give an example of how to read the word like the one below:

                "I am going to read this word, f-l-a-t. I see the /a/ sound. Let me look to see what comes before it. F/f/f/l/l/l/a/a/a. Then, the last sound is /t/. So it says f/l/a/t- flat."

7) Give an engaging book talk on Pat's Jam. Allow them to read the book aloud in small groups, taking turns. As they are listening to it let them hold up their apple card anytime they hear a word with the /a/ sound. Someone in the small group should record the words with the a sound in it that they find, so there can be a record of what words they recognized the /a/ sound in.

8) Students will be assessed during their reading time. A record will be kept of the words they have found with the /a/ sound in them. The teacher should walk around and listen to the students as they take turns reading taking special note on them reading words with the /a/ sound in them.


Auburn University, Pat's Jam. Carson, Educational Insights, 1990.

Wood, Jennifer. "The Crying Baby Says Waa! Waa!"

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