All About Short A

Emergent Literacy
Megan Duncan

Rationale:  Children who are first learning to read must be able to recognize as well as write and pronounce the sounds for each letter.  This lesson on a = /a/ is meant to help students learn to write as well as identify the short /a/ sound in written and spoken words.  By practicing forming the letter and pronouncing its sound students will gain the knowledge necessary to recognize both written and spoken /a/.


List of words to be read by the teacher

Primary paper

Pencil for each child

A Cat Nap

Chart paper with upper and lower case A written on it

Pictures of a cat, dog, apple, ant, and frog for each student

Tongue twister: "Annie's apples were almost ripe" on chart paper


1. I will begin the lesson by telling students that we will be learning about the letter A.  I will tell them that it is the first letter of the alphabet.

2. I will then show them the letter a (upper case and lower case) on a piece of chart paper and then model how to correctly write each one.  As I write the uppercase A I will tell them to "start at the top line and slant to the left.  Then go back to the top and slant to the right.  You have made a teepee.  Now connect the two sides of the teepee with a line across the middle to hold them together.  Congratulations! You have made and uppercase A.  Now make a row of them using your pencil and paper.  Each time you make one repeat the directions quietly to yourself."  I will model how to create the letter as I talk through the directions.  I will also model creating two more uppercase A's on the chart paper as I repeat the directions.  "Now we are going to learn how to make a lower case a it is smaller than the uppercase A and has a different shape.  To make a lower case a, you start a little below the middle line and curve up to the middle line then bounce down to the bottom line, like a c.   Now make a line from the middle to the bottom to close off the c.  Very good! Now make a row of lower case a's.  Remember to repeat the directions as you make each a!

3. "Now that we have learned what A looks like. Let's learn what it sounds like too.  Have you ever been really scared?  Scared like you would feel if you were swimming and you saw a shark!  I bet you would scream and it would sound like this, aaa!  That sound is also one of the sounds that the letter A can make.  Everyone turn to the person sitting next to you and make the sound just like I did.  Watch your partner's mouth as they make the sound.  See how their mouth is open and round as they make the sound."

4. "Now we are going to learn a tongue twister to help us practice saying /a/.  Everyone say /a/.  Now repeat after me: Annie's apples were almost ripe.  Now we're going to stretch the /a/ sound like we did earlier.  Now let's say it one more time and break the /a/ sound away from the rest of the words."

5. "Now we are going to search for the sound /a/ in a few words. I will say two words and you tell me which word you hear /a/ in.  When we are searching for a sound we can stretch the word out like this: (model: baaag).  Now you try it."

6. "Now I am going to let you stretch the words and find the /a/ sound on your own.  Do you hear /a/ in: hat/here, bag/big, apple/fruit, ham/pig, bat/dig, sat/bed"

7. I will then read A Cat Nap to the students.  As we read I will tell the students to listen for the /a/ sound.  I will stretch out the sound as it occurs in the book so the students can hear it. 

Assessment:  To assess the student's learning of the letter A I will have them write a both an upper case and lower case a on a piece of primary paper.  To assess their learning of the phoneme /a/ I will test the students individually by giving the students pictures of a cat, dog, apple, ant, and frog.  The students will say the names of the items on the picture to me so that I know that they understand the object in the picture.  They will then show me which of the items have the /a/ sound in it.


Tyler, Emily.  The Cat in the Hat.

Return to Sightings Home Page