Aaaaaaaaaaaa!! You Scared me!

scared_kitty.jpg image by MaryF13

Beginning Reading

Melissa Thompson

Rationale: The most difficult subject students' face at an early age is learning how to read, especially when learning to read short vowels. This lesson will enable students to make connections between the sound a=/a/ makes, how to read /a/, and how it looks when written.


Chart with the tongue twister "Alie the angry cat ate all of my apple sauce!"

Individual letterboxes for the students0

Individual letter tiles for the students (a,m,b,d,c,t,s,r,l,s,n,g,f,k.)

Letter tiles and boxes for the teacher

Smart board or overhead projector

Transparencies and/or program for smart board.

Individual copies of A Cat Nap

Primary paper and pencils

A copy of the worksheet for each student and a copy for the teacher to model with either on the smart board or overhead projector


1. Introduce the lesson by telling the students that the written language is like a secret code that we have to figure out in order to read. Also, explain to the students that all letters make different sounds and we move our mouth a certain way to make those sounds. "Today class we are going to learn about the /a/ sound.

2.Show the students the picture of the scared kitty, and asked them "Has anyone ever scared you so bad that you screamed and probably looked like this little kitten in the picture?" Well if you said Aaaaaaaaaa when you screamed then you made the short a sound.  Did your face look like the kittens face when you screamed Aaaaaaaaaaa? I want everybody to put their hands on their cheeks and say Aaaaaaaaaa! Great job! That is the correct mouth move we want to see when you make the Aaaaaaaa sound. "

3."Now, I would like for everyone to look at our tongue twister--lets say it altogether, Alie the angry cat ate all of my apple sauce, very good! Lets say it altogether one more time but this time when you hear the /a sound hold up your hand (the students will repeat the tongue twister). This time when we say it lets stretch out the /a/ sound as we say them Aaaaaalie the aaaaangry caaaat aaaaate aaaaall of my aaaaapple sauce. Great job!"

4. "I would like for everyone to please take out your letterboxes and letter tiles so we can spell some words with /a/. Remember, we are spelling the words based on the sounds we hear." The letterbox lesson will include the following words: 2 phonemes-am, 3- bad, cat, 4- crab, class, snag, flag, 5- blank, and stand. The letters the students will need are: a,m,b,d,c,t,s,r,l,s,n,g,f,k.  I will first model a word and then have the students try it themselves. "I want everyone to watch closely how I spell the word stand with my letterboxes and letter tiles." Have transparencies for the overhead or have it set up for smart board use, so it is easier to model for the students. "As I say the words I want everyone to try to spell them using your tiles and letter boxes." As the students work it is important to walk around the classroom making sure each student is on task, understands the task, and understands the concept. Allow enough time for the students to spell the words. After enough time has passed model the word for the class and continue to do so after the students attempt to spell each word.

5. After all of the words have been spelled, have transparencies of each word or a smart board program prepared and ask the students to read each word as they appear on the screen. If a student is having difficulty then the teacher should scaffold or model how he or she would read the word.

6. The students will then read A Cat Nap and let the students know that this book is specially made for the /a/ sound and to pay close attention while reading for the sound of /a/. Give a short book talk. "Tab is the cat owned by Sam, and Tab likes to sleep in Sam's baseball bag, does Tab go to the baseball game with Sam? You have to read the book to find out."

7. As the students read, walk around the room and observe their reading.

8. Next, ask the students to take out their primary paper and pencils. "We are going to practice writing /a/ on our primary paper. Start at the fence, make a circle only going as far as the ground, and then draw a straight line from the fence down to the ground (model for the students).  I would like each of you to practice writing this letter several times on your paper."

9.       Finally, pass out the /a/ worksheet and have them complete the worksheet on their own. This will also be their assessment for the lesson.


 The assessment will be the worksheet the student will complete at the end of the lesson. Have the students turn them in at the end and grade each based on accurateness.





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

Book: A Cat Nap. Educational Insights, 1990.

Return to realizations index