Clean up the Pacific Baaagging Pirates

Beginning Reader

Cindy Garrett


Rationale: The goal of this lesson is help beginning readers to learn and recognize the short a sound a= /a/.Beginning readers learn to read through phoneme awareness and letter recognition. Beginning readers must understand that each letter of the alphabet corresponds to a phoneme in speech.  After completing this lesson, students will be able to distinguish the phoneme in spoken word with corresponding gesture, recognize the grapheme in written text, practice a simple mouth movement, and complete a letter box lesson.



1. Primary paper and pencil


2. Tongue Twister on poster board "The badgers were a bad band of bandits."


3. Picture of crying baby crying


4. Word list: hat or sock, rat or dog, book or mat, pen or map, glove or bat


5. Elkonin Boxes for students and teacher (21)


6. Letter tiles for each child and teacher (a, b, d, g, f, l, n, m, s, h, p, k,


7. Band of Pirates book by Sonia Sander. Sander, Sonia. Band of Pirates. Broadway, NY.Scholastic INC., 2006


8. Smart Board


9. Letter Box lesson words: 2-at, 3-act, bag, ran, map, dash, mass, pack, 4- grab, flag, band, mast


10. Assessment worksheet: Short a Sound




Introduction: Explain to students that printed words have meaning and in order for us to read those words and understand their meaning, we must learn the letters and the sound that corresponds with those letters.

1. I will start the lesson by introducing the correspondence a=/a/ by writing it on the smart board. Then I will discuss the sound the letter "a" makes.

(Say) "Today class we are going to learn about the letter "a". Can anyone tell me what sound the letter "a" makes? That���s right! The letter "a" makes the /a/ sound. Now everyone say /a/ with me. When we say /a/ what does our mouth do? That���s correct! When we say /a/, our mouth is opened wide with our tongue at the bottom of our mouth. Now everyone make the /a/ sound again. Excellent!"


2. "Has anyone ever seen a Pirate movie where the hero grabs the bad guys and saves the day? When the hero grabs the pirate, the pirate cries like a baby. When a baby cries it sounds like/a/. (Show the class by gesturing a baby crying while rubbing your eyes and making the /a/ sound. Everyone notice how your mouth moves. (Model again). Now that you have seen me demonstrate it, I want you to try it. Let's pretend that you are a pirate and you were just grabbed, when I try to grab you make the /a/ sound. Good job!"


3. "Now that we've learned the /a/ sound, I'm going to read you a silly sentence that has the /a/ sound in it. I want you to pay close attention and tell me what word has the /a/ sound in it. Listen while I show you how to do it. (Demonstrate Tongue Twister). The badgers were a bad band of bandits. Let's see. I heard /a/ in badgers, bad, band, and bandits. Watch me as I say it again, and this time I���m going to cry as if someone's grabbing me. Cry like a baby while saying it. (Gesture while saying badgers, bad, band, and bandits). The baaaaadgers were a baaaaad baaaaaand of baaaaandits. Now you try it. When you hear the /a/ sound stretch it out while crying for your bottle. Way to go!"


4. "Now I'm going to say some words and I want you to listen for the /a/ sound .Let me show you. Listen for /a/ in bat or book. Baaat I heard it. Cry like a baby if you hear /a/ in bat. Good!  Boook? You all are doing great! Now it's your turn. Do you hear /a/ in hat or sock, rat or dog, book or mat, glove or bat?"


5. "Now we've talked about how our mouth looks when we make the /a/ sound, our gesture when making the sound and we've distinguished the words that have the /a/ sound in it. You have done an excellent job with all three! (Now take out your primary tablet and pencil) Let us review how to write the letter "a". (Remember we start at the fence curve half way around back up to the fence, making a "c" then stop at the fence, and go back down to the sidewalk. (Demonstrate on smart board) I' like everyone to make nine a's for me."


6. (Hand out letter boxes and letter tiles to each student.) "We are going to spell words inside these boxes. We will put one sound that you hear in each box. If I say spell the word hhhaaaatttt. Model how I would put the letter h in the first box, a in the second, and t in the third. (Remind students that they will only have the number of boxes for each phoneme in the word. Now you try!"


7. "Ask students to spell these words: 2-at, 3- act, bag, ran map, dash, pack, mass, 4- grab, flag, band, mast Letters needed: a, b, c, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, s, t. (Make sure to provide a sentence with each word and carefully enunciate each phoneme).  Model: Carry went to the store at 2:30. Walk around and make sure each student gets it before continuing on. If a student misspells a word, read the word they have spelled and see if they can correct their mistake. If they cannot the correct spelling should be given. If your student gives all the phonemes but misspells the word, make sure to say good try!" Then provide the correct spelling for the word.


8. After students have finished the Letter Boxes, take them up. Say: "Now we're going to read the words that we spelled. I'm going to put the words on the smart board and I'd like you to read them aloud. (Monitor and make sure students are pronouncing the words properly and you hear the phoneme.) Have students read them a couple of times. "Good job!"


9. Hand out the books Band of Pirates. Book talk: This book is about a pirate named Pablo who has gold and needs to bury and a captain named Tyrone who also has treasure and needs to bury his.  Where ever on band of pirate landed, the other band landed in the same spot trying to bury their treasure. "Can each set of pirates find a safe place to bury their treasure? Let's read with a buddy to find out." Each student will take turns with their buddy reading a page. Make sure to walk around monitor the students reading. (Model how to use critter if student is having problems reading a word and the proper steps if a student is stuck on a word. ). After everyone has finished reading, we will discuss the story as a class.


10. (Take up books and pass out writing paper.) "Now you are going to write about whatever you'd like. You can write about your last summer vacation, a trip to dentist, or your favorite movie. Whatever you like. I need you to write at least three sentences."


11. Assessment: When students finish writing their sentences, pass out Short a Sound Worksheet.

I will also have them read the words mat, tap, rack, band, and mash.





Sander, Sonia. Band of Pirates. Broadway, NY. Scholastic INC. 2006


Assessment Worksheet: Short a Sound.


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


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