Aaaaaaaaa choo-choo! I sneezed!

Mary Elizabeth Sandlin




Rationale: As a beginner, reader it is very important for students to understand letters and sounds. Short vowels are very hard to learn so therefore; it is important for the students to have explicit instruction and lots of practice working with short vowels. In this lesson, it will help students become familiar and have practice with a = /a/. The students will learn the correspondences a = /a/ by making the sound in written and spoken words.

1.     Chart with tongue twister- "Alan always works after Alice"

2.     Individual letterboxes for student

3.     Individual letters (a, t, n, d, c, h, g, l, d, r, s, )

4.     Primary writing paper and pencil

5.     The Book "A Cat Nap" for each student

6.     Chart to model writing the letter a= /a/

7.     Cards with letterbox words

8.     Handout with pictures of  /a/ words:

Such as: A handout will be given to students with pictures that start with the letter /a/ for example: apple, and there will be pictures that do not start with the letter /a/. Each student will circle with the picture that starts with the letter /a/.


1.     Introduce the lesson, by explaining to students that there are many letters in the alphabet. Today we will be learning the= /a/.


2. Ask the students: Have you ever sneezed and it went everywhere? When you sneezed what does it sound like? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa choo-choo. Well that is how the letter /a/ sounds. We are going to remember how to say the letter /a/ by pretending we are sneezing when we see the letter /a/. 


3. I have a tongue twister that we are going to say as a group. Every time you see the bers to pretend like you are sneezing. "Alan always works after Alice" Do you hear the letter /a/? Now let's practice saying it together. "Alan always works after Alice" Good job! Next let's say the twister and stretching the letter /a/ out. "Aaaaalan aaaalways works aaaaafter Aaaalice" Great Job!


4. Now we are going to spell some words with the letter /a/ using our letterboxes and letter tiles. Remember that each box represents a sound. I want everyone to watch me as I show you what we are going to do. (Teacher will use the letters and spell the word "black") Now what word did I spell? Teacher goes back and explains and sounds out the word for students to understand. Next pass out the letterboxes and letters tiles for each student. Now I want everyone to spell the words I am going to say by using your boxes and letters. *Make sure you give enough time for each student to spell the words. If student has trouble, pronounce how the spelled it and have them try to fix it.  Do the same thing for each word.  Our word list: at, and, cat, hat, glad, trash.


5. After spelling the words, have students read the words to you. Hold up the cards with the words on them and have each student read the words.


6. Now that we know what sound the letter /a/ makes we are going to practice by writing the letter /a/. First I am going to show you have to write the letter /a/. You begin at the fence of your paper and draw a circle, and then you make a straight line on the right side. Have students practice writing all the way across their paper as you begin assessment


7. Tell the class we are going to read a book that has lots of /a/ words. Tell the students that every time we hear the letter /a/ we will pretend we are sneezing.(Hand out copy of book "The Cat Nap") Give a short book talk. Today we are going to read a book about Tab. Tab is a cat. Tab loves to take long naps. To find out how long we take naps you will have to read the book.

Have student begin to read the book. Walk around the room and observed while reading.


Assessment: Have a handout with pictures that start with the letter /a/. Have each student circle all the pictures that contain the letter /a/. Teacher will access the students by their ability to identify words with /a/. If a student is having trouble with the assessment, the teacher will model again by working with the letter /a/. The teacher also will have each child read The Cat Nap for a minute.




The Cat Nap. Educational Insights. 1990.


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


Emily Young. "Aaaaaaa You Scared Me"

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