Aaaaaa it's a snake!!!

Emergent Literacy

Katie DeFoor


Rationale:  Children need to have an understanding of the alphabet and the phonemes that letters make to be able to read.  When one develops this understanding they are able to recognize the letters and sounds in print and can read them.  Beginning with short vowel sounds is the first step to teaching phonemes.  This lesson will help children recognize a=/a/. 



"Lad and the Fat Cat" by Geri Murray (Powerpoint from Reading Genie site)

Tongue Twister: "Andrew and Alice asked if Annie's active animals were angry."

Primary Paper


Pictures of different things that have /a/ sound in them (cat, bat, bag, crab, alligator)

Picture of a snake



  1. Begin the lesson by explaining why it is important to understand the letters in our language and what sounds the letters make.  Explain that understanding letters and sounds helps us to read and how important reading is.  Then explain that it is very important to focus on how our mouth moves when we make certain sounds.
  2. Ask the students if they have ever seen a snake and said "Aaaaa!"?  Ask, "What does your mouth do when you make that sound?"  Explain that that is the mouth movement we are looking for in this lesson.  Point at a picture of a snake and say, "Aaaa!"  Have the students do the same.
  3. Next try the tongue twister, "Andrew and Alice asked if Annie's active animals were angry."  Have the students say it with you.  Now let's try it again by stretching out the /a/ in the words.  "Aaaandrew aaaaand Aaaaalice aaasked if Aaaanie's aaaacitve aaaanimals were aaaangry."  Great job!  Now let's say it by breaking off the /a/.  "/a/ndrew /a/nd /a/lice /a/sked if /a/nnie's /a/ctive /a/nimals were /a/ngy."
  4. Next get out the primary paper and pencils for the students to practice writing.  We need to practice writing a.  We need to start just below the fence, go up and touch the fence, down to the sidewalk, around and straight down.  Now you practice.  I am going to put a snake on your paper and I want you to write ten a’s. 
  5. Now tell the students to signal that they saw a snake each time they see the letter a by itself in a word.  Have them yell /a/.  Ask the students if they hear /a/ in good or bad?  Tell them that you hear /a/ in baaaad.  Then ask the students which word they hear /a/ in.  Bag or purse?  Dog or cat?  Bat or glove?
  6. Begin with a book talk about "Lad and the Fat Cat."  Lad is a dog and Scat is a cat.  Lad is mad because Scat has his mat.  Lad is mad because Scat can't get up.  Why do you think Scat can't get up?  To find out you'll have to read "Lad and the Fat Cat."  Each time they hear /a/ tell them to act scared like when they see a snake.  Have the students write a short message using a word with /a/ in it.  Assess by using a running record as they read.
  7. Assess again by giving them picture cards with things with /a/ in them and other cards that don’t.  Have them mark or color the ones that have /a/ in them.



Brittany Williams "Aaaaa!  There's a spider!"

"Lad and the Fat Cat" by Geri Murray

Reading Genie Site

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