Abe the Ape

Beginning Reading

Aubrey Etheredge



Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence a_e = /A/. In order to learn to read successfully, children must learn to recognize the spellings that map word pronunciations. In this lesson, children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling a_e. They will learn a meaningful representation (Abe the Ape), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence a_e = /A/.



-Abe the Ape image

-Cover-up critter

-Whiteboard/Smartboard Elkonin boxes

-Individual Elkonin boxes (per student)

-Letter manipulatives (per student)

-Magnetic/Smartboard letters for teacher: a, t, e, b, s, m, f, n, r, k, p, l, c, h

-List of spelling words on poster/whiteboard to read: ate, base, mate, fan, rake, place, chase

-Decodable Text: The Race for Cake

-Assessment Worksheet



1. In order to become expert readers, we have to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. We have already learned to read short vowel words with a, like mat, and today we are going to learn about long A and the silent e signal that is used to make A say its name, /A/. When I say /A/, I think of an ape at the zoo…in particular, an Ape named Abe! [show graphic image].


2. Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /A/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I listen for /A/ in words, I hear a say its name /A/- my tongue touches the bottom of my mouth, and my throat pushes air out through my lips. [Make vocal gesture for /A/.] I'll show you first: ate. I heard a say its name and I felt my tongue touch the bottom of my mouth. There is a long A in ate. Now I'm going to see if it's in fan. I didn't hear a say its name, and my mouth didn't make the same motions as when it says a. Now you try. If you hear /A/, say, "Abe the Ape." If you don't hear /A/, say, "I didn't hear it." Is it in late, show, tent, face, age, pan? [Have children point to their mouth when they hear /A/.]


 3. Say: Now let's look at the spelling of /A/ that we'll learn today. One way to spell /A/ is with the letter a and a bossy e at the end of the word to tell me to say A's name. [Write a_e on the board.]  This blank line here means there is a consonant after a, and at the end of the word there is a little silent e. That silent, bossy e makes the a say its name. What if I want to spell the word chase? "I chase my brother around the house." Chase means to run after, in this sentence. To spell chase in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word. I stretch it out and count: /ch//A//s/. I need 3 boxes. I heard that /A/ just before the /s/ so I'm going to put an a in the 2nd box and the silent e signal outside the last box. The word starts with /ch/; I need a c and an h to make that sound. I have one empty box now. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /ch//A//s/]. The missing one is /s/.


4. Say: Now I'm going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You'll start out easy with two boxes for ate. "I ate a banana for breakfast." What should go in the first box? [Respond to children's answers]. What goes in the second box? What about silent e, did you remember to put it outside the boxes? I'll check your spelling while I walk around the room. [Observe progress.] You'll need three letterboxes for the next word. Listen for the beginning sound that goes in the first box. Then listen for /A/ and don't forget to put the signal silent e at the end, outside the boxes.  Here's the word: base, The legs are the base of the table, base. [Allow children to spell words.]  Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: b - a - s - e and see if you've spelled it the same way. Try another with three boxes: mate; In Australia, they call a friend a mate; mate. [Have volunteer spell it in the letterbox on the front board for children to check their work. Repeat this step for each new word.] Next word. Listen to see if this word has /A/ in it before you spell it: fan; I turn on the fan when I'm hot; fan. Did you need a silent e? Why not? Right, because we don't hear a say its name. We spell it with our short vowel a.  [Volunteer spells it on the front board.] Now let's try 4 phonemes: place; Find your place in your book; place. One more then we're done with spelling, and this time you need five boxes: scrape; I got a scrape on my knee when I fell; scrape. Remember to stretch it out to get this tough word.


5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you've spelled, but first I'll show you how I would read a tough word. [Display poster with scrape on the top and model reading the word.]  First I see there's a silent, bossy e on the end; that's my signal that the vowel will say its name. There's the vowel a. It must say /A/. I'm going to use a cover-up to get the first part. [Uncover and blend sequentially before the vowel, then blend with the vowel.] /s//c/ = /sc/ + /r/ = /scr/. Now I'm going to blend that with /A/ = /scrA/. Now all I need is the end, /p/ = /scrAp/.  Scrape; that's it. Now it's your turn, everyone together.  [Have children read words in unison. Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.]


6. Say: You've done a great job and reading words with our new spelling for /A/: a_e. Now we are going to read a book called The Race for Cake. This is a story of a brother and sister named Ben and Jess. Their mom makes a cake, and Ben and Jess both want to taste it first. Let's pair up and take turns reading The Race for Cake to find out who will have the first taste of cake. [Children pair up and take turns reading alternate pages each while teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads The Race for Cake aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]


7. Say: I liked that story. What happened when Ben and Jess raced to the cake? Right, Ben fell and got a scrape. Who got to the cake first? Right, no one- the cake fell on the ground before anyone could taste it.  Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /A/ = a_e, I want to make sure you recognize long /A/. On this worksheet, there are short /a/ words and long /A/ words. Your job is to color the words with a long /A/ sound blue, and the words with a short /a/ sound gray. Say the words in your head to make sure you color them the right color. [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.]



·                    Geri Murray, Oh, I didn't know:


·                    Murray, G. The Race for Cake. Reading Genie:


·                    Phonics Worksheet


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