Ahh Ahhh Ahhhh CHOOOOO!


A Beginning Reading Lesson


Kaitlyn Kimberley



Rationale: This lesson teaches students about the short vowel correspondence a = /a/. As effective teachers, we need to teach our students to become successful readers by teaching them to recognize the spellings that map out word pronunciations. In this lesson, students will learn to recognize, spell and independently read words containing the short vowel a. They will learn a meaningful representation (sick boy sneezing Ahh Ahhh Chooo!) and hand gestures (cover their mouth with their hands as if they are about to sneeze) that will assist them in their understanding. They will also spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence a = /a/.


Materials: Laminated graphic image of a sick kid sneezing "Ahh Ahhh Ahhhh CHOOO!" cover-up critter( a decorated popsicle stick with glued on google eyes) -students will use this to slowly uncover phonemes to help them sound out and decode an unfamiliar word ; whiteboard or smartboard; Elkonin boxes (for group modeling) and individual a Elkonin box for each student; letter manipulatives for each student and one set for yourself: a, b, c, d, f, g, l, n, r, s, t; list of spelling words printed out clearly on a poster, large enough for every child to see easily: ad, bag, tag, slab, crab, brag, flag; decodable text: Nat the Cat by Cindy Garrett; Roll A Word recording sheets (1 for every student); 2 sets of Roll A Word dice; and assessment worksheet.



1. SAY: Today is a very special day class, because today I am going to begin teaching you the secret code that tells us how to correctly pronounce words and helps us become expert readers! It is important that you learn the match between letters and sounds so you can easily develop into strong beginning readers. Today we are going to start at the very beginning with the short vowel a =/a/. Short vowels can sometimes be a little tricky, so it is very important that we listen carefully and practice, practice, practice! When I say /a/ I think of some who is about to let out a big sneeze! "Ahh Ahhh Ahhhh Choooo!" [show graphic image].


2. SAY: Before we can learn how to spell words with /a/, we need to listen carefully for /a/ is some words. When I say /a/, my mouth opens up wide, I can feel my tongue drop, and all the air is let out of my mouth. [Make a vocal gesture for /a/]. I'm going to show you first: SAY: cat. Hmmm, I heard /a/ and I felt my tongue drop and my mouth open wide, letting all the air out to make the sound /a/. I can even put my hand in front of my mouth and feel the warm air being let out of my mouth when I say /a/. So there must be a short vowel a in cat. Now lets see if our short a, /a/, is in rate. Oh no, I didn't hear /a/ and my mouth didn't open up wide let out all the warm air. So there must not be a short a, /a/, in rate. So I want you to put on your detective hats and try to discover short a, /a/, in words. If you hear /a/ say "Ah Ahhh Choo!"and use your hand gestures and put your hands over your mouth and pretend like your about to catch a sneeze! [the students can feel the warm air being released from their mouth when they do this hand gesture as well!] But if you don't hear /a/, I want you to say " Nope, not there!" Is /a/ in: bad, sake, sack, fat, wait, boy, rat? 


3. SAY: Now let's look at the spelling of  /a/. What if I want to spell a word like glad? [use the word in a sentence] I am glad I made a good grade! Glad means you are happy about something! I need to get out my letterboxes. To spell glad in my letterboxes, I first need to figure out how many phonemes there are in the word glad.  So I am going to stretch it out and count: /g//l//a//d/. I need 4 boxes because I heard 4 sounds when I stretched out the word. [Unfold 4 boxes and make it visible for every student] I heard my short vowel a, /a/, right before /d/ so that means I am going to put it in the 3rd box because /d/ would need to be put in the very last box because it is the very last sound I hear. So now that I know where the last 2 sounds go, I'm going to stretch out the word again /g//l//a//d/. Okay, the word starts with /g/ so that means I need to put a g in the first box. Now what? Let me stretch it out one more time: /g//l//a//d/, Oh! I just heard /l/ right after /g/ so I'm going to put the letter l right after the letter g. I know that's right because I hear /a/ after /g/ and /l/. So now that I have the letters g, l and a, we need to put the last sound /d/ in the last box which is made by the letter d. Now all my boxes are filled! /g//l//a//d/ [Point to letter in boxes when stretching out the word: glad].


4. SAY: Y'all are doing so great! Now I'm going to let you spell some words in letterboxes. We are going to start out nice and easy with only 2 phoneme boxes and spell the word ad. Like: " I saw an ad for new shoes in the newspaper; ad" What goes in the first box? [give children wait time to insure relevant responses] Good! You heard our short vowel a, /a/! What goes in the second box? I'm going to walk around and check your spelling. [Monitor and Record Progress] Lets try a word with 3 phonemes. That means we will need 3 boxes because our words will have 3 sounds. Listen for the beginning sound that goes in the first box. Then listen for our short a sound /a/. The word I want you to spell is bag. Like: packed my bag for the trip; bag. [Allow children adequate time to spell words.] Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: b – a – g and see if you've spelled it the same way. Try another with 3 boxes: tag, I had a tag on my new shirt; tag. [Have volunteer spell it in the letterbox on the front board for children to check their work. Repeat this step for each new word.] [Allow the students to spell the remaining words: 4-crab, 4-slab, 4-brag and 4-flag using this same format]


5. SAY: Now I'm going to let you read the words you have spelled! But first I am going to show you how I would read a hard word! [Pull out the poster with the word swag on the top and model explicitly how to read the word.] Well, I see my short a, and a says /a/. Now I'm going to use my handy dandy cover –up critter to figure out the first part. [Uncover and blend sequentially before the vowel then blend with the vowel.] /s/ /w/= /sw/. Now I am going to blend /sw/ with my short vowel /a/ =/swa/. Now all I need to do is add the end sound /g/ = /swag/. Swag, its that simple! Swag means to gracefully walk in a cool manner. Now I want you to try, lets say it 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 have done an excellent job spelling and reading with our new short vowel /a/. So we are going to read a book called Nat the Cat. This story is about a big fat cat named Nat is a happy cat when his belly is full. But one day Nat drinks a whole bowl of milk and discovers that he is still hungry! So Nat is unhappy and goes looking for something else to eat. Do you think Nat will find some more food to fill up his belly? Let's pair up and take turns reading Nat the Cat to find out if he finds some more food. [Children pair up and buddy read- taking turns reading alternate pages while teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads Nat the Cat aloud together, and stops between each page and participates in TBYT (Talk Before You Turn).]


7. SAY: That was a fun story! [Ask the students prompting questions to check their comprehension of the story; Ex. what did Nat find to eat that finally made him a full kitty cat?] So now let's finish up our lesson on the short vowel a that makes the sound /a/ like the sound someone makes before they sneeze, "Ahh Ahhh Ahhhh Chooo" [have students say a says Ah Ahh Ahhh Choo!] I want everyone to go back to his or her seats and complete the worksheet on your table! Your job is to choose one of the three words that can correctly completes the sentence. First try reading all the words in the box using your new knowledge of a=/a/, and then choose the word that fits best in the blank. I want you to then draw a picture of the sentence you created. Be creative because I want to hang these up in the hall! [Collect the worksheets to further evaluate each individual child's progress.]


8. For further practice and assessment, while the students are completing their worksheets, pull a pair of students two and provide them with additional practice with the short vowel a, /a/ by playing Roll A Word. You will provide the students with a recording sheet with 2 columns of   ___ a ___ [5 under each column]. In this game the students will take turns rolling 2 cubes/dice to determine the beginning and ending sounds, and then combine them to create a word using the newly learned short a say /a/. [the beginning sounds will be on a green colored cube and ending sounds on a red cube.] Once the student rolls, they say the word they created to one another and decide if it is a real word or a nonsense word. They will then record the word in the proper column of the Roll A Word recording sheet. [The teacher will supervise and evaluate their progress.]





Boyd, Madison. "Aaaaahh, I'm Scared said /a/!"



Common Core Classroom. Short Vowel Roll A Word. (Directions and Recording




Garrett, Cindy. Nat the Cat.



Kidzone Worksheet Short Vowel A, /a/



Murray, Bruce. Making Sight Words: Teaching Sight Words from Phoneme

Awareness to Fluency. 1st ed. Ronkonkoma, NY: Linus Publications, 2012. 380. Print.


Russell, Jennifer. "Aaaa! I'm Scared!" Says Short A




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