AAAAlligator Open Wide!

Beginning to Read

Jennifer Redd

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It is essential that readers understand that letters are a map of the phonemes in spoken words. This lesson will teach students to spell, pronounce and recognize words that contain the a=/a/ correspondence. Students will learn this correspondence through meaningful representation, as well as through practice with both spoken and written words containing the=/a/ correspondence.


Picture of an alligator with his mouth wide open with a in the center of their mouth.

Alley the alligator and her pal smell an appetizing apple jam in an Alabama! (Tongue twister sentence strip)

Felt Board Elkonin Letter Box for the entire class (4, one for each group) (1 for the overhead)










Letters : c,r,a,b,l,m,p,s,n,k,d,f,t,t,

List of pseudo words: alf, add, taz, asp, , tad, vash

Book: Pat's Jam

Primary Paper



1. Display the picture of a alligator with the letter a in the mouth of the alligator. Now imagine an alligator opening wide. Yes that’s right say aaaaah. Now everyone said aaaaaaaaaaaahhhh. That’s right.

2. Now we know the letter a makes the /a/ sound as Alley and pal. I want you all to say this tongue twister with me and lets listen to all the /a/ sounds you make. An ape and her pal ate an appetizing apple jam in a Arizona. Let's say the tounge twister this time streaching the a sound. AAAAAAAAAllley the aaaaaaaaligator aaaaaaand her paaaaaaal smells aaaaaan aaaaaaaaaappetizing aaaaaaapple jaaaaam in AAAAAAAlabama. You guys thats faaaantastic!

3. Now we will begin our letter box lesson on the /a/ sound in our words. I will begin by modeling the use of the phoneme /a/  in a simple word. We are going to begin with the word pat. Lets sound out the letters that we hear in this word. ppp/aaaa/tttt. Lets construct our letter box now, thats right the first letter is P and then we hear aaaaaaaa. The next letter in the next box is A. The last letter we hear is tttttt which is a T. Now lets put all of our sounds together ppp/aaaa/ttttt and we get the word pat. Now we are going to work in groups to construct our own words. Give each group the words and have them construct their words. If a group of students create a word incorrectly then have them say the word and say the phonemes they hear in that word. Phonemes (4) crab, lamp, snap, crash (5)spank, draft, clamp, tract (6) strand.

4. After the students have successfully create their letter boxes then I will engage the students in a short book talk that is filled with /a/ sounds. "We are going to read a book entitled Pat's Jam. Pat picks up his pal Pam. Pat brings along ham for the picnic and Pam brings jam. They load up into the van but oh no they run out of gas! What do you think will happen next to the rats?" Then the students will begin reading the book among their group alternating pages as each student reads a page.

5. When the students are done with their reading, take up the student's books.

6. Ask the students to begin to write in their journal about their favorite dessert or food to eat. This exercise should be completely with pencils and primary paper.

7. I will have each child read a list of pseudo words and assess their understanding and pronounciation of the /a/ sound individualy while everyone else is engaged in their journal activity


Dr. Bruce Murray, The Reading Genie.

Valerie Loveless, Iiiicky, Iiiicky, Stiiicky!


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