Aaaaaaaa!!! Scaredy A!

Maria Sanders
Beginner Lesson Plan 


Rationale: It is important for beginning readers to become aware of phonemes in words because they need to know the sounds each letter makes. Identifying phonemes in words can be very difficult for children.  Phonemes are the vocal gestures in spoken words and vowels have proven to be the most complicated. Therefore the goal of this lesson will be for children to identify short /a/.  They will achieve recognition of short /a/ through a hang gesture, tongue twister, writing methods and a worksheet.


A copy of A Cat Nap

Letter boxes for each student and teacher

Letters f, s, t, l, n, d, c, r, b, p, m, h, a.

Primary paper and pencils for each student

 Picture of a ghost

Poster of upper and lower case a

This lesson plan including the words: Fast, Land, Crab, Sand, Last, Bad, Pat, Nap, Cat, Lad, Tab, Mat, Ham, Sad.

Worksheets for all students


1.      I will hold up a picture of a ghost and ask do you know what this is?  That’s right a ghost! Ghosts can be scary! What would you do if you saw a ghost? Then I would allow time for a few responses before interjecting with my own. Those are all great ideas! You know what I would do if I saw a ghost? I would throw my hands up in the air and yell/a/! I bet some of you would do the same thing, lets all do that together.  Raise both hands in the air like this and say/a/! Good job! Then I would allow for a minute to settle down before continuing on. Do you hear the /a/ sound when we are scared by our ghost?! I do too.  You know what letter always is scared of ghosts?  The letter /a/ is, so it says /a/ just like we would if we saw a ghost!

2.      Does everyone know what the letter a looks like? I would have a picture of both upper and lower case a’s. That’s right it looks like this.  Now we are going to write our little /a/ because it is probably the most scared of ghosts! Pass out primary paper and pencils and then model how to write an/a/ on the board while saying each step. First we are going to start a little below our fence then go up and barely touch the fence, go all the way down to the sidewalk and back up to the fence.  It’s kind of like a c or making an o except now we are going to give it a walking stick and draw a line straight down from the fence to the sidewalk like this. Good.  Ok now you all try.  It is going to take a couple of times so write 5 little scared a’s.

3.      Let’s see if we hear our /a/ sound in this tongue twister. Listen to me first and then we will all say it together ok? Make sure you are listening for our scarey cat /a/!  Pam the crab loves apples and ham! Did you hear our /a/ sound? You did? I did too! Now let’s say it all together Paaam the craaab loves aaapples and haaam! Good!

4.      Great job! Now we are going to have to listen extra hard and I am going to say some words and you listen for our scared /a/ ok.

Do you hear our /a/ sound in:

o   Crab or Hot? Crab

o   Bad or Good? bad

o   Turkey or Ham? Ham

o   Happy or Sad? Sad

o   Cat or dog? Cat

o   Summer or Mad? Mad

Good job!

5.      Alright since we are such great listeners and can hear our scared /a/ in those words let’s see if we can hear it and make the words ourselves! I am going to use the letters out of my letter bag to make the word sad.  So, first I am going to put out all my letters in a line like this so that I can see them all.  Then I am going to get out my letter box and fold it so that I have 3 boxes because all of our words are only going to need 3.  Now I am ready to begin, my first word is glad. Ggllllaaaaad. Do you hear our /a/ sound? I think I do too. Ok, so I hear the /gl/ sound first, then the aaaa sound. Place the gl and a in the correct boxes. Now I have glllaaaa and then dddd I think my d goes here.  Let’s say it together glllaaaaaaadddd.  That’s right.  Ok now it’s your turn. Go ahead and get out your letters and boxes and line them up like I did so that you can see them and when we are all ready I will start with our words.

o   Nap

o   Cat

o   Lad

o   Bad

o   Tab

o   Mat

o   Ham

o   Bad

o   Pat

Good, I think that you have it down. Go ahead and make 4 boxes and we will try a couple more words.

o   Fast

o   Land

o   Crab

o   Sand

o   Last

I will walk around during the letterbox lesson and help each student and take notes on what students may need additional help. Ok, good now everyone put their letters back in your letter bag and put your letterboxes away and move to the carpet.

6.  Then we will move on to our book, A Cat Nap. This book is about a cat named Tab and Tab is a very sleepy cat. How many of you like to take naps?  Well Tab does too, but one day he falls asleep in someone’s bag and gets carried away! So let’s see what happens to Tab!  Then I will read the story. Then as an assessment I would have the students return to their desks and pass out a worksheet that deals with our story and our /a/ sound. (Worksheet attached.  They should get at least 8/12 of the /a/ sound.  The first section is to identify their comprehension of the text.)


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

Murray, B.A., & Lesniak, T. (1999). The Letterbox Lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650

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