Allie the Rat

rat animation

Emergent Literacy Design

Tiffany Miller



            For children to become skillful readers they must acquire the alphabetic insight that enables them to recognize each letter of the alphabet and the sound that the letters make. Short vowels may be the hardest phonemes to recognize. By the end of this lesson the child will be able to identify a = /a/ (short a). Some studies have shown that the best predictors of reading success are letter recognition and phoneme awareness. So it makes it easier for a student to become a successful reader once they are able to recognize letters and their corresponding phonemes.



-Primary paper


-Pats Jam – Book for each student

-Poster board with tongue twister written out

-Allie the Rat paper bag puppet

-Picture assessment worksheet



  1. To begin the lesson it is important to explain to the student what they will be learning about in the lesson. Today we are going to learn about the first letter in the alphabet and the sound that it makes. We will focus on the short vowel /a/. We will also learn how to write the upper and lowercase A.
  2. To help grab the students’ attention and introduce the letter A, I will bring out a puppet of Allie the Rat. Class, this is Allie the Rat and she is going to help us learn about the letter A. Does anyone know what sounds that letter makes? Good job there are several sounds that it makes, but today we are going to focus on the short vowel sound /a/. Can everyone say /a/ with me one time? Great job! Allie is going to help us with that sound. 
  3. Ask the students: Have you ever heard a baby cry /a/? That is the sound and vocal gesture that we are looking for.  Lets’ pretend to be babies crying and say /a/. Babies often cry when they need something or want their parent’s attention. Sound your baby one more time: /a/
  4. Let’s try a tongue twister using the /a/ sound. (On poster board) “Alice asked if Allie the active rat likedl the apples”. Now let’s say that all together three times through. Good Job saying that all together! Now this time, let’s say it again slowly and stretch the /a/ out when you hear it in the words. “Aaalice aaasked if Aaallie the aaactive raaat liked the aaaples”. Great job! Can you hear the crying baby /a/ sound as you say the word?
  5.  (Have students take out primary paper and pencil) Now we are going to learn how to write the letter A upper and lowercase. I will first demonstrate to the students how to write an upper and lowercase A using primary paper lines. First, for an uppercase A start at the rooftop and slant left down all the way to the sidewalk. Next go back up to the rooftop and this time instead of slanting left slant right down to the sidewalk. Then pick up your pencil and connect the two slanted line at the fence line. Watch as I write it one more time. Okay now it’s your turn! Okay, now that you can write an uppercase A, let’s make a lowercase a. This time you are going to start at the fence curve down to the sidewalk just like a little c, pick up your pencil and bring it back to the fence and connect a straight line down to the sidewalk. Watch as I do it one more time. Okay, now it’s your turn!  Now that you are able to draw an upper and lowercase A, I want you to practice writing each 5 times through. I will walk around to make sure each student is following through the steps properly.
  6. Let me show you how to find /a/ in the word rat. I am going to stretch rat out in slow motion. Listen for the crying baby. R-a-a-a-t. There it is!! Do you hear the crying baby /a/ in rat?
  7. Now I am going to give each of you an Allie the rat puppet. We are going to read the book Pat’s Jam. As I read the book, every time you hear a word that begins with the /a/ sound, I want you to hold up your Allie puppet. The book Pat’s Jam is about a rat named Pat and hia pal Pam. Pat has some ham and Pam has some jam. The two of them get in Pat’s van, but there is no gas in the van. You’ll have to read the book to see what happens to Pat and Pam.
  8. To conclude the lesson pass out a worksheet to assess what they have learned. The worksheet has pictures of some objects that start with the letter a and some that don’t. Now I am going to give you a worksheet. Some of the pictures on here start with the /a/ sound and some do not. If you think the picture makes the /a/ sound then color the picture but if the picture does not, put an X on that picture.



 Adams, Marilyn. Beginning to Read:  Thinking and Learning about Print - A
                Summary. Champaign:  Center for the Study of Reading Research and Education Center, 1990.


 Phonics Reader Short Vowel Pat’s Jam. (1990). Carson, CA (USA), ST Albans, Herts.

               (UK): Educational Insights.

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