Aaaaa!! Watch out for that crazy Cat!

Tabetha Rape

Beginning Reading


Rationale:       In order for beginning readers to become successful, it is important for students to be able to learn letter and sound correspondences. Short vowels are harder for students to learn and that is why it is vital that children are taught explicit instruction and practice with short vowels. The lesson will assist students in learning to recognize the correspondence a = /a/. The students will learn the correspondence a = /a/ by hearing and seeing the correspondence through spoken and written words.



-Primary Paper


-Picture Cards (containing pictures of a cat, cow, bag, hat, dog, crab)

-Letter boxes (enough for each student)

-Letter tiles (enough for each student and including letters; c, a, t, g, r, b, l, d, s, p, n, k)

-Copies of the text, A Cat Nap. (Enough for each student)

-Overhead projector

-Overhead transparency of primary paper (for modeling the letter a)

-Overhead transparency containing the tongue twister (Ally added apples and got a bad batch)

-Letterbox for modeling on the overhead (for the teacher)

-Letter tiles for modeling on the overhead (for the teacher)


1. Introduce the lesson to the students by explaining to them that each letter has a special sound and mouth movement. Tell the students that today, we will be learning the special sound and mouth movement for a = /a/.

2. I will start by asking the students, "What would you do if a crazy cat was chasing you?" Tell the students that they would probably scream "aaaaa!!" I will explain to the students that the letter /a/ makes the sound "aaaaa" just like if you were running from a crazy cat. I will tell the students that when we here the /a/ sound we are going to throw our hands up, just like we are scared.

3. I will tell the students that I have a very tricky tongue twister for them to say with the new "aaa" sound we have now learned. First, I am going to say it to you and I want you to listen for the "aaaa" sound we talked about. "Ally added apples and got a bad batch". I will ask the students if they were able to hear the sound that we had talked about. Then I will tell the students that we are going to say it together. "Ally added apples and got a bad batch". Good job! Now let's stretch out the /a/ sound. "Aaaaally aaaadded aaaapples aaaand got a baaaaad baaaaatch". Great job!

4. I will explain to the students, "Now, we are going use our letter boxes to spell some words using the /a/ sound that we have all learned. I want everyone to watch me closely as I spell the word glad". I will model on the overhead projector for the students how to spell the word glad using a letter box. I will also model how to say each sound as well. I will tell the students to watch as I spell another word, the word smash. I will use the overhead again to model using the vowel-coda-method to read the word. I will then pass out individual letter boxes and letter tiles to the students. I will ask the students to spell the letters that I say to them in their letterbox. I will remind the student that their boxes are for the sounds of the word not for the actual letters. I will give students an appropriate time limit in order to spell the words I call out. I will be walking around and observing the students work. If a student happens to spell a word incorrectly, I will say the word as they have spelled and not ask questions. After I have seen that the students were able to correctly spell the word, I will model it on the overhead. I will model each word after the students have correctly spelled it in order for them to see how the word is used correctly. The word list for the lesson is 3- [cat] 4 phonemes- [grab, crab, glad, slap, trap] 5- [blank].

5. After I have had the students spell the word, I will have them read the words to me. I will use the overhead spell the words in order for the students to be able to see them. If I see that a student is having difficulty in spelling the words I will be sure to help the student in using body-coda to split the word.

6. I will introduce the students to a book called, A Cat Nap, which contains various words with the a = /a/ correspondence that the students have just learned. Each student will receive a copy of the text to read. I will introduce the book with a book talk about including the pictures. I will tell the students that the book is about a guy named Sam who has a cat named Tab. Tab likes to sleep in Sam's baseball bag. One day Sam doesn't know it but Tab is fast asleep in the baseball bag right before Sam plays. What do you think will happen? I will be observing the students as they read while I am walking around the room.

7.  After reading the text, I will tell the students that it is time to write the new sound that we have just learned. In order to make the letter a, don't start at the fence. Start under the fence. Go up and touch the fence, then around and touch the sidewalk, around and straight down.

8. The students will receive picture cards with the picture of a cat, crab, bag, hat, cow, and dog. I will tell the students to look at the picture on the card. I will have the students identify each picture by writing underneath card what each picture is. I will be observing around the room while the students are working to see if they are getting the correct answers.



I will assess the students by checking their work form their picture cards. I will focus on the letter that they have written in the word on the card. If I notice that a student has trouble with correctly writing the letter a or any problems with identifying the picture and the concept of the word containing the letter a, I will work with that student individually for help.



A Cat Nap. Educational Insights, Carson, CA. 1990.


Alvarez, Melanie. "Scary Scary‰¥ÏAhhhh!" <>.


Murray, Bruce A. and Theresa Lesniak (1999). "Teaching Reading. The Letterbox lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding." The Reading Teacher. Vol. 52. No.6. pp.644-650.

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