“Aaaaa… cries the baby”
As a beginning reader, it is important for students to learn the
correspondences between letters and sounds. Vowels are very important
in learning to read because they are found in every word. Because short
vowels can be hard to learn, it is important for students to have
explicit instruction and practice. This lesson will help students learn
to recognize and read the correspondence a=/a/. The students will learn
the correspondence a=/a/ by making a memorable connection to the
correspondence in written and spoken words.
Chart with tongue twister
Book: The Cat in the Hat
Letter tiles-a, c, t, b, k, p, l, g, r, s
1. I will begin the lesson by introducing the phoneme sound /a/. Also
by asking, “Have you ever heard a baby cry?” Well, today the phoneme
that we are going to working on makes the sound of a baby crying.
“Aaa.” It may also help the student to explain what the mouth movements
for this sound look like. “Watch my mouth as I make the /a/ phoneme.
Notice my jaw and tongue are down.” I can also show them to make the
movement of rubbing their fists by their eyes like they are crying
while saying /a/ to help them remember the sound better. “Now I want
you to try making the /a/ sound and movement”.
2. At this point I will show my student the letter Aa. I will write it
on the board so they can see it easily. As I am writing it I will
reemphasize that this letter makes the “Aaa” sound.
3. I will now have my student practice the “Aaa” sound by teaching them
a tongue twister that focuses on words with the /a/ phoneme in it.
“Abby asked Alice about astronauts after adding apples.” I will have my
student listen to me say it and then have them repeat it several times
by their self.
4. Now I have my student practice writing the grapheme Aa. I will give
my student primary writing paper and a pencil and will first model to
them how they will write it. I will explain, “to make a capital
letter A start at the rooftop and slide down toward the sidewalk in
both directions. Now draw a line connecting the two along the fence. To
make a lowercase letter a start slightly below the fence line, curve up
to the fence line, around to the left all the way to the sidewalk and
back up halfway to the fence. Then draw a line from the fence to the
sidewalk closing off the letter. After my student watches me write the
letters they should practice writing at least five of each on their
5. At this point I will do an exercise with my students in which they
will have the opportunity to distinguish the /a/ phoneme in spoken
words. I will tell the children to making the movements of a baby
crying if they hear that sound in the following words. Do you hear the
/a/ sound in alligator or elephant? Do you hear the /a/ sound in crab
or dog? Do you hear the /a/ sound in activity or lesson?
6. Now I will tell my student they will are going to practice what
we’ve been learning by having them spell some words. I will explain
that they will be working with letterboxes and letter tiles. I will
have a list of words ready with the phoneme /a/ in them along with some
review words from previous lessons if applicable. Some possible
examples for /a/ words include: (3) act, back, pal (4) grass,
past (5) strap. I will model how the students should segment the words
by demonstrating with the word blast.
7. I will now have my student read The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. I
will introduce the story with a short book talk. For example. This is
the cat in the hat and one rainy day he decides to come to this little
boy and little girl’s house to play with them. As soon as he gets there
he begins doing all sorts of crazy things like juggling their
possessions. Do you think he’s going to break their things or get them
in trouble when their parents come back? Let’s keep reading to find out
what all the cat does. After the student has read the story I will ask
if they can tell me some words from the story that have the /a/
phoneme. I will make a list of the words my student says on the
For an assessment I will give my students a worksheet that will give
them more practice with the /a/ phoneme. The worksheet will have
pictures of words of common words with the /a/ phoneme. Below each
picture will be blank letterbox squares with the appropriate number of
boxes corresponding to the amount needed for the word. My student will
try to fill in as many of the letterboxes as they can. For example, if
there is a picture of a cat the student should place c-a-t in the three
empty boxes below.
Dr. Seuss. The Cat in the Hat. Random House 1957.
Murray, B.A., & Lesnialk, T. (1999). The letterbox lesson: A
hands-on approach for teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher, 52,
Aaa! It's a Rat!! by Elanor McDavid
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