Cydney Dorsey, Beginning Reading

Rationale: For students to become successful readers, they must begin with explicit phonics instruction. The first step must be the ability to recognize the phonemic sounds in spoken words and how these phonemes correspond to the letters in written words. Starting with vowel correspondences makes good sense in setting students up to become good decoders. Students with strong decoding skills have higher success rates as fluent readers. This lesson will focus on teaching students the a=/a/ correspondence, through giving them auditory and visual experience with a=/a/.


-Large Primary Paper Teacher Tablet


-Tongue Twister Poster

-Large cut-outs of A/a

-Primary Paper Writing Tablets (per student)

-Pencils (per student)

-Letterboxes (for each student)

-Letter Tiles (for each student)

-A Cat Nap books (one for each student)

-Alphabet Journals (per student)


1. Introduce the lesson to the students.

Say: "Today, we are going to talk about a letter that makes a sound you are all probably familiar with. What do you usually say when you sneeze?"

[The students will probably respond with achoo!]

Say: "That's right! We usually say AAAAAAA-choo! when we sneeze. All the different letters we have make different sounds when we say them, and they make our mouths move in different ways. Today, we are going to learn about the letter A."

[Show the students a large "A/a" on board.]

Say: "The letter 'a' makes that AAAAAA sound that we say in AAAAA-choo! See how my mouth moves? Listen and watch me practice – AaaaaAaa-choo! Can you all practice the sneezing sound with me?"

[Practice with students.]

Say: "Good job! You’ve already got the hang of it!"


2. Introduce the tongue twister chart.

An awesome ant asked Ann for an apple.

Read the sentence to the students once, normally. Have them repeat 3 times. Then, read the sentence to the students, accentuating and exaggerating the a=/a/ sound in each word.

(Aaaaan aaaawesome aaaant aaaasked Aaaan for aaaaan aaaaapple.)

Have the students repeat the tongue twister this way along with you three times.

Give positive praise and recognition.


3. LetterBox Lesson.

Now, have the students take out their individual letterboxes and letter tiles.

Say: "I am going to say some words for you all, and I would like to you all to spell them out in your letterboxes."

[Students should already be familiar with the concept of the letterboxes.] Say: "Remember, that each letter box is for a sound you hear in a word, not necessarily just one letter. Watch me do it once."

[Model the word glad in your letterboxes before the whole class.]

Say: "Now, it is your turn to give it a try."

Have students spell out the words {at, nap, and, hat, crab, ask, smash, trap, last}. Teacher should walk around the room during this activity, checking for students’ correct completion, and helping students who are having trouble.

Once finished, go over each word as a whole class, and then put the words up on the board and have the students read them aloud.


4. Letter Writing.

Now, the teacher will instruct the students on writing the upper-and lower-case A/a.

Say: "When writing the upper-case A, start at the roof, slide down to the sidewalk, and again the other way…then cross where the fence is."

[Model on the board. Have students practice upper-case A’s 6 times. Walk around and help those who are having trouble.]

Say: "When writing the lower-case a, start just below the fence, wrap around until you touch the sidewalk and back to where you started…finish by coming straight down from the fence to the sidewalk."

[Model on the board. Have students practice writing lower-case a’s 6 times. Walk around and help those who are having trouble.]


5. Buddy Reading

Introduce the book, A Cat Nap.

Say: "This book is about a boy named Sam who has a cat named Tab. Tab likes to take naps, especially in Sam's baseball bag. One day, Tab gets in Sam's bag right before he has to go play a game. Get with your reading buddy to read A Cat Nap to see what happens to Tab and Sam."

Students should buddy read A Cat Nap with their reading buddy. Teacher should circulate around the room while students read, observing for miscues, and helping students when needed. Teacher will lead a whole class discussion to check for comprehension after reading.


6. Alphabet Journal

Say: After you have finished reading your stories, you and your reading buddy should return to your desks and take out your alphabet journals. Make an entry for today and write using some of the words we talked about today, or some other words that have our target phoneme in them. AAaaaaaa-chooo!




Goodwin, Candace. Aaaa-Aaaa-Choo!


Rape, Tabetha.  Aaaaaa! Watch out for that crazy cat!


A Cat Nap. Educational Insights, Carson, CA. 1990.



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