Aaaa, Let’s Ride the Rollercoaster

Anna Benson

Beginning Reading


In order for beginning readers to become successful in reading and writing,  it is important that they understand that each letter in the alphabet has a different sound. By learning about phonemes and letter correspondences, beginning readers can become fluent readers. This lesson will focus on the short vowel sounds a=/a/ because many times students struggle with short vowels. They will learn the /a/ correspondence through an interactive activity. They will also be learning to spell and read words with the /a/ sound through a letterbox lesson and through a decodable book.


Elkonin letter boxes (class set)

letter cut outs including the letters b, a, t (x2),s ,p ,c ,k ,h ,r

Class set of Pat’s Jam. Cushman, S (1990).  Carson , CA : Educational Insights

word lists for assessment


1. Today we are going to learn about a special sound /a/.  Does anyone know what sound the letter makes the /a/ sound? A. Good job everyone!  We are going to learn how to spell and read words with the /a/ sound in them, let’s get started!

2. Does anyone know of something that makes the /a/ sound?  When I think of that sound I think of screaming on a rollercoaster, ahhhh. So for today, whenever we hear that /a/ sound that the letter a makes we are going to put our hands straight up in the air like we are riding a roller coaster.

3. Now as a class we are going to try this tongue twister. Anna asked Alice if the ant was in the attic. Now let’s say it together. Making the /a/ sound longer than the other sounds that we hear. I would also like for you to ride the rollercoaster whenever you hear the /a/ sound. AAAAnna aaaaasked AAAAlice if the aaaant was in the aaattic. Very good! I love the way all of you were on the roller coaster!

4. Call on students to answer each and tell how they know.  Do you hear /a/ in cat or kit?  Clap or bent?  Snack or spill?   pat or pit ? Cast or cost?

5. Next instruct the class with a letterbox lesson.  Pass out material for each student, Elkonin boxes, letters: b, a, t (x2),s ,p ,c ,k ,h ,r. Use a document camera for modeling.  We're going to use these boxes to spell out a few words.  First let's say I have to spell the word slack.  Ok what I'm going to do is stretch the word out to hear all the different sounds.  /s/, /l/, /a/, /p/.  First I hear /s/.  I know that the letter s makes that sound.  I'm going to put a s in the first box.  /s/, /l/.  Ok now I hear the /l/ sound.  That's the letter l..  /s/, /l/, /a/.  There's that /a/ like I am on a rollercoaster, so I know that's an a.  Almost done.  Only one box left.  /s/, /l/, /a/, /p/.  I hear the /p/ sound, and I know that's a p  /s/, /l/, /a/, /p/.  Now I have spelled slap.  I'm going to ask you all to spell a few words.  Tell the students to spell the following words, one by one:  [bat, sat] 3: [pack, that], and 4: [trash].  As they are spelling walk around the room in order to check their work and progress, and helping any students who need help.  When every student is done with each word, explain the correct way to spell the word. 

6. Write a list of words on the board.  Include the words, back, trash, that, black, lag, and slag.  Call on students to read each word.

7. Now we are going to read a book called Pat’s Jam.   Whenever you hear our special sound, what is our special sound can you all make it for me? Wow! That’s right!  ahhhh  Whenever you hear that sound I want you to ride your rollercoaster like we have been practicing. Pat and Pam are very hungry so they have to go to the grocery store to get something to eat.  There is so much food so it's hard to decide, but they finally get some jam and ham.  They get back in their van, but they see they're out of gas.  What are they going to do? Let’s find out! Here we go! Students will read the book individually.

8. For the assessment the teacher will have an individual word list for each student that will consist of words to assess their understanding of the /a/ sound.


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