Appetizing Apples


Laci Rickard

 Beginning Reader Lesson Design


Rationale:  Students need to understand that spellings are a map of a series of phonemes that represent spoken words.  This lesson will focus on learning the correspondence a=/a/. We will do this by paying close attention to the mouth moves when the /a/ phoneme is said, learning a meaningful representation of the /a/ sound, by recognizing it in spoken words, by spelling words with /a/ in them in a letterbox lesson, and by recognizing /a/ words in the text A Cat Nap.



- sentence strip with tongue twister (Adam asks Abby to eat appetizing apples after acting like ants) on it

- primary writing paper for every student

- pencil for every student

- letterboxes (1 set per student)

- ziploc bag of needed letter tiles for each student (l,a,p,s,t,g,c,r,b,n,k,d,f)

- white board and marker

- a copy of “A Cat Nap” by Sheila Cushman for each student

- handout for assessment, has 5 pairs of pictures (in each pair one will have the /a/ sound and the other will not.  (bag/bucket, dog/cat, cap/cup, bat/broom,  map/bug))




1.  Today we are going to be learning about the letter a and how it makes the sound /a/.  In order to be able to pronounce the phoneme a=/a/.  Now let’s say the phoneme a=/a/ together and pay attention to the way our mouth moves.  Everyone turn and watch your neighbor as we say it.  Did you see how your neighbor’s jaw dropped and stayed open as you made the /a/ sound? 


2.  Ask students what their favorite fruit is.  Well, I really like apples.  When I go to the store I buy a bag of apples.  Can everyone say “appetizing apples” with me and as you say it rub your tummy because appetizing means they taste really good.  Ok together, “Appetizing apples” (rubbing tummy).  Now let us find the /a/ sound in the words “appetizing” and “apples.”


3.  Now let’s try a tongue twister together.  Look at the words on the sentence strip as I say them first.  “Adam asks Abby to eat appetizing apples after acting like ants.”  Now let’s say it slowly together and listen for the /a/ sound.  Now let’s say it together again and this time stretch out the /a/ sound every time we hear it.  Let me show you… “Aaaaadam aaaaasks Aaaaaaby to eat aaaapetizing aaaaaaples aaaaafter aaaaacting like aaaaaants.”  Now let’s do it together.   


4.  Ok, now we are going to spell some words with the /a/ sound in them.  Please get out your letterboxes and your bag of tiles for today’s lesson.  I will go first and spell the word glad.  Ok, glad that has four phonemes or sounds.  The first is /g/ ok the letter g goes in the first box.  Next I hear /l/, I believe the letter l should go there.  Now I hear the same sound in appetizing apples, the /a/ sound, so I need the letter a.  Last I hear the /d/ sound, so the letter d will go there.  Now I have the word glad.  Now it’s your turn to practice.  (I will start with 3 phonemes, then do four and five phoneme words, walking around and making sure each student has each word spelled correctly before I move on to the next).  3 phonemes – [lap, sat, tag, pal], 4 phonemes – [crab, snag, snack], 5 phonemes – [draft, clasp].


5.  Now I am going to spell the words on the board (white board) and I want you to read them for me.  Let me show you.  (I will write the word lap on the board). /l/ /a/ /la/ /p/ /lap/ oh lap!  Now you try it.  (I will write each word spelled with the letterboxes). 


6.  Does anyone in here have a cat?  Well we are going to read a book together about a cat named Tab.  One day Tab takes a nap in a bag.  Sam picks up the bag while Tab is sleeping.  To see where he takes Tab we will have to read A Cat Nap.”  (I will pass out a copy of the book for each student and we will read the book completely through once)  Now we are going to read the book again and every time you hear the /a/ sound I want you to rub your tummy like you are thinking about appetizing apples (we will read the book again and have students do gesture to show /a/ sound).


7. In order to assess I will pass out handout that has 5 pairs of pictures. In each pair one will have the /a/ sound and the other will not.  (bag/bucket, dog/cat, cap/cup, bat/broom,  map/bug).  The students will circle which picture has the /a/ sound  with a red crayon and then write the word the picture represents under it.  If invented spellings are used it is ok as long as phonemes are present.  



Frey, Katheryn.  “Abigail Ant.”

Murray, Bruce. Reading Genie Website – “The Letterbox Lesson.”

Wyatt, Jillian.  “Adam’s Apples.”

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