“Baaaaaaa!” Said the Lamb


Catherine Edwards

Emergent Literacy Design

Rationale:  Phoneme awareness is one of the keys to later reading success. It is important to focus on it in the classroom since it can predict the amount of phonemes a student understands. In this lesson students will learn the phoneme /a/. It is important for the student to be able to recognize the letter /a/ says, “ahh” even when after a letter like /b/. Through meaningful activities that are evidence-based, the students will master this phoneme in written and oral language.

Materials: Paper, pencil, cut out lamb heads with "bahhh" on one side, assessment worksheet, chart paper with a tongue twister written on it, and the book, "A Cat Nap.”


 1) Purpose: As an introduction, I will explain that it helps when you know what letters make what mouth moves, or sounds, and when they make them because our language can be quite confusing. “Today we are going to talk about the letter “a” and the sound it makes. We spell /a/ with letter a. A looks like a tall, pointed mountain, and when you look up at a tall pointed mountain you say, “ahhhh.”


2) I will ask the students, "Have you ever heard a lamb make a noise before? What noise does a lamb make?  Have you ever seen one? What noise would you hear if you drove past a field of lambs?” After listening to their answers, I will respond with a, “bahhh! I will cup my hands around my mouth to make the lamb noise. I will encourage the students to do this by finding the /a/ in lamb. “I’m going to stretch out lamb in super slow motion and listen for the “ahhh” saying, lll-a-a-amb. Slower: Lll-a-a-a-mmmbb. There it was! "Let's pretend we are lambs!"


3) I will walk over to chart paper with the tongue twister, “The fat cat smashed the mad rat” on it and read it aloud. After reading it to the students a few times, I will encourage them to recite it with me. When the students are able to say the tongue twister well, I will let them know that I am going to say the tongue twister a little different this time. I will say, “Students, this next time we say our tongue twister and you hear the /a/ sound come from your mouth, stretch it out longer than the other sounds you say. Then, I will encourage them to cup their hands around their mouths and say the /a/ again as they read. "The f/a/t c/a/t sm/a/shed the m/a/d r/a/t.”


4) To practice writing the letter /a/ in a word, I will ask them to take out a pen and paper. I will explain to the students to watch me write the words first and then they can try on their own. First, I am going to start at the fence and loop around and make an “o.” Then, I am going to give the “o” a tail to make it an “a.” I will say, “Now, students please practice writing the letter “a” on your paper.” I will have them write it several times over.


5) Next I will pass out the cut out lamb heads with "bahhhh" on one side. I will tell them that I will read out a few sets of words, and when they hear the /a/ sound in one of them to hold up their lamb head. A few examples of are: met/mat, back/bake, splash/sprint, and track/trike. Now, let’s see if you can spot the /a/ in some words. Cup your mouth to say /a/ if you hear /a/ in these words: The, an, ball, spot, apple, rat, doll, ham, him, did, dad.


6) I will then read "A Cat Nap" out loud, and ask the students to listen very carefully to the words. The book talk is: “Tab is a cat who likes to nap. One day she falls asleep in a bag and is accidentally carried to a baseball game in the bag. What will happen to Tab? Will his owner find him?” I will read the book a second time and ask my students to raise their lamb heads each time they hear the phoneme /a/. Which word in the title has the letter /a/? Can you think of other ways to write your word with the letter /a/ in its spelling?


7) As an assessment, I will pass out a worksheet with various illustrations on it. Some of illustrations will contain the /a/ phoneme in their pronunciation and some will not. They are supposed to draw a line to the pictures with the words that have /a/ in them.


Reference: Pennington, Mark. "How and When to Teach Phoneme Awareness." Education Articles. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2013. <http://www.edarticle.com/pdf/article-633.pdf>.


Assessment worksheet: http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/vowels/a-begins1.htm


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