Students should begin learning to read through an explicit phonics
lesson. They need to learn the correspondence between letters and
phonemes. Vowels are the most difficult for students to learn because
there is not a one to one correspondence between the letter and its
phoneme. This lesson is designed to help students learn short a.
Class set of A Cat Nap
poster for tongue twister
Letterbox for teacher
Individual letterboxes for students
Letters: a, b, c, d, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, t, v
List of words for Letterbox Lesson
List of words for assessment
Today we are going to talk about the letter a. When we say the letter
a, we hear /a/. Can everyone say /a/? Lets say it together: /a/.
Exactly. It sounds like when you scream on a roller coaster:
/a/a/a/a/a/a/a/. Do you make that sound when you ride a roller coaster?
Lets all say it together: /a/a/a/a/a/a/a/a/a/a/a/a/a/! Great Job!
2. Tongue Twister:
Ally the alligator asks for an apple.
I am going to read the tongue twister on the poster. Now I want
everyone to read it together. Great. Now, lets say it one more time.
This time, lets really find the /a/ sound. Stretch out the /a/ when you
hear it. Good!
3. Letterbox Lesson:
What is the letter we have been working with today? Right, a. What
sound does a make? /a/. Now we are going to practice spelling and
reading words with our /a/ sound. Take out your letterboxes and the
letters a, b, c, d, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, t, v and line them up on the
I am going to spell the word hat on my letterbox on the overhead. I
start with /s/, oh that is an s; /a/ /a/, oh that is the /a/ so I am
going to put an a; /t/ /t/ that is a t. There it is /s/ /a/ /t/: sat.
Now I am going to say a word and you have to spell the word and put it
on your letterbox. When you have the word spelled, raise your hand and
I will come check it.
Once all of the words are spelled, I will write the words they spelled
on the board and the students will read them.
4. A Cat Nap:
In this story, Tab the cat loves to nap in weird places. Also, his
owner Sam loves to play baseball. What do you think will happen when
Tab falls asleep in another one of his weird places? You can read this
story either by yourself or with a partner.
5. Writing Workshop
When you finish reading about Tab, write a story about your pet, a
family member’s pet, or your friends pet. Tell me about something silly
the pet did or something fun you did with the pet.
While the students are working on their writing workshop I will call
them over to my desk one at a time to read me the words off of a
prepared list. There will be a combination of words from the letterbox
lesson and pseudo words.
Checklist for Teachers:
Can the students identify /a/ in written and spoken words?
Can the students spell the word lists correctly using the letterboxes?
Can the students decode the /a/ sound in their pseudo test?
Liles, Sarah Frances
Return to the
Letterbox Word List:
Assessment: /a/ word list