AYE, I get it!

A Beginning Reading Lesson

Grace Langhout


Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence a_e = /A/. In order to be able to read, 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 (a man having an “aha” moment), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book, The Race for Cake, that focuses on the correspondence a_e = /A/.

Materials: Graphic image of a man having an “aha” moment, white board, dry erase marker, cover-up critter, letter boxes, letter tiles (a, p, e, d, t, s, c, r, n, k, f, l, m, g), list of spelling words (ape, date, space, trade, snake, flame, plane, grape, and scrape), decodable text The Race for Cake, and assessment worksheet (see attached).


1. Say: In order to become expert readers we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. We have already learned short vowel words with a, like cat, and today we are going to learn about long A and the silent e that is used to make A say its name, /A/.  Show the students the picture of a man having an “aha” moment. Say, have you ever had a moment where you figured something out all of a sudden? I have had many moments like this (Model your hands going up in the air when you say aaaaye I get it). Now everyone say “Aye” with me while you throw your hands in the air. 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 signal 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 signal.

2. Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /A/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I listen for /A/ words, I hear a say its name /A/ and my lips make a circular shape like this. (Make the vocal gesture for /A/.) I’ll show you first: ate. I heard a say its name and I felt my lips make a circular shape (make a circle motion around your lips). There is a long A in ate. Now I’m going to see if it’s in bad. Hmm, I didn’t hear a say its name and my mouth was more of an oval than a circle. Now you try. If you hear /A/ say, “Aye, I get it.” If you don’t hear /A/ say, “That’s not it.” Is it in brace, cab, trash, grade, state, grab? (Have children make a circle motion around their lips when they say the long A sound in a word.)

3. Say: What if I want to spell the word snake? “I do not like snakes, they scare me.” A snake is a reptile. To spell snake in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /s//n//A//k/. I need 4 boxes. I heard /A/ just before the /k/ so I’m going to put an a in the 3rd box and the silent e signal outside the last box. The word starts with /s/ so that is easy. Now it gets a little harder, so I’m going to say it slowly, /s//n//A//k/. I think I heard /n/ so I will put that right after the s. I have one empty box. The missing one is /k/. Now I will show you how to read a tough word. Put the word rake on the board. I’m going to start with the a_e; that part says /A/. I’m going to put the beginning letter with it: r-a_e, /rA/. Now I’ll put that chunk together with the last sound, /rA-k/. Oh, rake, like “I will rake the yard tomorrow with Robert.”

4. Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some word in letterboxes. You’ll start out easy with two boxes for ape. An ape is an animal that lives in the jungle, “We saw an ape at the zoo.” What about silent e, did you remember to put in 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 to spell in the first box. Then listen or /A/ and don’t forget to put the signal silent e at the end, outside the boxes. Here’s the word: date, I am going on a date tonight; date. (Allow students to spell remaining words, giving sentences for each word: space, trade, flame, plane, grape, scrape.) Sentence examples: Astronauts travel to space. I want to trade baseball cards with you. The flame of the fire went out finally. We flew on a plane to California. My sister always eats one grape at a time. I have a huge scrape on my knee from my bike accident.

5. Say: Now I’m going to let you read the words you’ve spelled. (Show the words, ape, date, space, trade, snake, flame, plane, grape, and scrape. Have them read the words in unison. Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.)

6. Say: You all have done such a great job reading words with our new spellings for /A/: a_e. Now we are going to read a book called The Race for Cake. This book is about Ben and Jess who have been swimming at the lake. As they are heading back to the house, they can smell their Mom baking a cake. They then decide to race home. Who wins the race, do they both get cake, and was their Mom even baking a cake? Let’s pair up and take turns reading The Race for Cake to find out what happens. (Students pair up and take turns reading alternate pages each while the teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads The Race for Cake chorally, stopping between page turns to discuss the story.)

7. Say: Before we finish up our lesson about one way to spell /A/ = a_e, I want to see how you can solve a reading problem. On this worksheet, I have 5 sentences, each with a missing word, and 5 words in a word bank. Your job is to fill in the blank with the correct word. (Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress).


Noie Yancey, Oh, Oh, My Knee Hurts: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invitations/yanceybr.htm

Geri Murray, Oh, I didn’t know!


Murray, G. (2006) The Race for Cake. Reading Genie: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html




Beginning Reading Design Assessment


Directions: Fill in the blank using the words in the word list.

Word List: flake, spare, brace, scare, stage.


He wore a ­­__________ on his knee.

We stood on _________ to sing in front of the school.

Billy decided to ________ me on Halloween.

A snow _________ landed on my nose today.

Thankfully, we have a _________ tire.









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