Holly Cartwright

Beginning Reading


Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the short vowel correspondence a=/a/. For students to become successful readers, they must begin with explicit systematic phonics instruction. The first step must be the ability to recognize the phonemic sounds in spoken words and how these phonemes correspond to the letters in written words. Starting with vowel correspondences makes good sense in setting students up to become good decoders. This lesson will focus on teaching students the a=/a/ correspondence, through giving them auditory and visual experience with a=/a/. They will learn a meaningful representation (Someone about to sneeze), as well as read and spell words containing the correspondence and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence.



-Dry Erase Markers

-Tongue Tickler Poster

-Large cut-outs of A/a

-Primary Paper Writing Tablets (per student)

-Pencils (per student)

-Letterboxes (for each student)

-Letter Tiles (for each student)

-A Cat Nap books (one for each student)

- Worksheets (One sheet per person)


1.     Say: "Today boys and girls we are going to talk about a letter that makes a sound you are all probably familiar with.  What do you usually say when you sneeze? Right AAAAAAHHHHHCHHOOOO!!" All the different letters we have make different sounds when we say them, and they make our mouths move in different ways. Today, we are going to learn about the letter A and how A says /a/." [Show the students a large "A/a" on board.] Say: "The letter 'a' makes that AAAAAA sound that we say in AAAAA-choo! See how my mouth moves? Listen and watch me practice – AaaaaAaa-choo! Can you all practice the sneezing sound with me? (Students will practice the sneezing sound and make sure to give them positive praise. Before you come back together as a class, make sure you have their full attention. Use various classroom management techniques such as the clapping method.)  

2.     Show the children the tongue tickler chart.

Aunty Ann asked Adam for an apple.

Read the sentence to the students once, normally. Have them repeat 3 times. Then, read the sentence to the students, accentuating and exaggerating the a=/a/ sound in each word.

Say: Boys and girls I have here a tongue tickler. Here it says Aunty Ann asked Adam for an apple. Let’s all say it together three times. Good! Now I want us to say it but stretch out our /a/ sound. Okay let’s give it a try: Aaaaaaaaaaunty Aaaaaaaaann aaaaaaaaaaasked for aaaaaaan aaaaaaaaaaaaaaapple. Good job!  

3. LetterBox Lesson.

Say: "Boys and girls please take out your letter boxes and your letter tiles. I am going to say some words for you all, and I would like to you all to spell them out in your letterboxes. [Students should already be familiar with the concept of the letterboxes.] Remember, that each letter box is for a sound you hear in a word, not necessarily just one letter. Watch me do it once. [Model the word clap in your letterboxes before the whole class.] Now, it is your turn to give it a try. (Have students spell out the words {at, pan, nan, hat, cram, ask, smack, trap, part}. Teacher should walk around the room during this activity, checking for students’ correct completion, and helping students who are having trouble. Once finished, go over each word as a whole class, and then put the words up on the board and have the students read them aloud.)

4. Letter Writing.

Say: "When writing the upper-case A, start at the roof, slide down to the sidewalk, and again the other way…then cross where the fence is.[Model on the board. Have students practice upper-case A’s 6 times. Walk around and help those who are having trouble.] When writing the lower-case a, start just below the fence, wrap around until you touch the sidewalk and back to where you started…finish your a by coming straight down from the fence to the sidewalk. [Model on the board. Have students practice writing lower-case a’s 6 times. Walk around and help those who are having trouble.]"

5. Buddy Reading

Introduce the book, A Cat Nap.

Say: "Tab is a very sleepy cat. He likes to wander into bags to sleep. One day while he is asleep, the bag gets picked up. Let’s read A Cat Nap to find out what happens to Tab. I will put you all into partners and you can read with your new reading buddy.  Are you ready? Okay let’s go! (Teacher should circulate around the room while students read, observing for miscues, and helping students when needed. Teacher will lead a whole class discussion to check for comprehension after reading.)

"Did everyone enjoy the book? What did you learn about Tab the cat? What happened to Tab the cat? What was your favorite part of the story?"


6. Worksheet

Distribute the worksheet and have the children do the matching activity.

"Boys and girls we are going to do a worksheet now. What is the first thing that you do when you get a worksheet? Right we put our name! Let’s all do that together. Now do you see the pictures on this side? And do you see the words on this side? Well what I want you to do is match the words on the side to the picture that it represents. We do this by drawing a line. Let’s look at the pictures and read the directions. Listen carefully as I read. Say the name of the picture and then read the words on the side column. Draw a line to match the pictures. If you need any help just raise your hand."

Link to Website:



A Cat Nap. Phonics Readers: Short Vowels. Educational Insights. 1990.

 Cydney Dorsey,  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/projects/dorseybr.html

Worsheet Link:


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