The Baby Cried Waaaaaaah, /a/!

Kathryn Byers


A Beginning Reading Lesson

By: Kathryn Byers




Rationale: Students will become familiar with the short vowel correspondence a=/a/. Children must be able to map out work spellings to successfully read This lesson engages children in hands on instruction with a letterbox lesson, a decodable text, and various activities to provide practice with the short correspondence =/a/. Upon completion of this lesson students will be able to read and spell words containing short a.


Materials: pencils, graphic image of a crying baby, cover up critters for each student, whiteboard or smart board, magnetic letters if using whiteboard, paper letter tiles for each student with letters: a, b, c, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, p, r, s, t, chart paper with the words: rag, mat, flag, had, pack, bass, mask, clap, fact, grab, strap written on it, assessment worksheet, copy of Ants in a Can. for each student.




Teacher says: "Before we can become good readers we need to learn the alphabetic code that tells us how to pronounce the words. Today, we are going to learn how to spell and read words that have a short a in them."


Teacher says: "Today you are going to learn that the letter a makes the /a/ sound. /a/ sounds a like a crying baby." Point to display of crying baby picture.  "What does a crying baby sound like?" Waaaaaa-aaaaaa-aaaaaaa. Do you hear /a/? "Let’s all pretend to cry like a baby now!"(waaa-aaa-aaa)." When you are making this sound, I want you to notice how your mouth is most of the way open and your tongue touches the back of you bottom teeth. Now we know the sound the letter a makes."



Teacher says: "To get us warmed up lets practice listening for the /a/ sound in some words. That smells bad! When I said the word "bad" I noticed that I opened my mouth wide like a crying baby. B-aaa-d, bad. Yes, there is a short a in "bad". Now I want you to try some. If you hear the /a/ sound I want you to open your mouth wide like you are a crying baby. Don’t make any sound just move your mouth. Is it in: boy, at, pet, map, trap, fab, vest?" [Observe the class while they are opening their mouth to monitor who hears this phoneme].


Teacher says: "Now, what if I want to spell the word "rag". Like in the sentence, She wiped up the spill with a rag. A rag in this sentence is used as a towel to clean up a mess. (Do a think-aloud or model for this next part.) Hmm, first I think I will stretch the word out to listen to the all of the sounds I hear. Rrrr-aaaa-gggg, rag. Now I am going to count the sounds I hear, /r/ /a/ /g/, 3 sounds. I am going to pull out three letterboxes to spell this word. [Teacher can either draw letterboxes on the whiteboard, or pull them up on the smart board]. I know I heard my mouth open wide like a baby, so I know the /a/ sound is in there. Let me say the word again, /r/ /a/ /g/, I heard the /a/ right before the /g/, so I am going to write a short a in the 2nd box. It is easiest to start when you hear the vowel sound. Rag starts with /r/, so I am going to put an "r" in the first box. Now there is one box left, so I am going to say my word again, rag. The letter I have missing is g, the /g/ sound, so I am going to place my "g" in the 3rd box.









Teacher says: "Lets try another word. I need three volunteers to help me spell the word "mat". The mat was on the floor. Remember to count the sounds, /m/ /a/ /t/. How many letterboxes do we need? [Wait for response]. 3, good! Who can come to the board and write where the /a/ sound goes? Remember it is easiest to start with our vowel sound! [Wait for volunteer] Now who can come to the boardand write the letter that goes in the first letterbox? The third? Great job!


Teacher says: Now, I want you to spell some words in your letterboxes. I am going to call out a word, and I want you to spell it. I will walk around the room to check spellings. Lets try a 4-phoneme word, flag. Since I have told you there will be 4 phonemes, that also means there will be 4 letterboxes for this word. For each sound you hear put the letter in the box. Listen hard for the beginning sound. Flag, There was a flag waving outside. Flag. Who wants to come put their spelling in the boxes on the whiteboard? Good job!" [Repeat this process for each new word. Remind students to stretch the words out, and listen for the baby crying a=/a/ sound.] [3-phoneme: had, pack, bass], [4-phoneme: mask, clap, fact, grab], [5-phoneme: strap. Letters: a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, k, l, m, p, r, s, t]


Teacher says: Now, we are going to read the book Ants in a Can by Geri Murray. This book is about a little girl named Jan who tries to touch an ant. Her dad tells her to put the ant in the can, so she tries to get the ant by giving it a snack. The ants hurry to the snack, and Jan hits them! What do you think will happen to Jan? Will the ants hurt her? We will have to read to find out!!  I want everybody to read to the person sitting beside you. You can move around the room so you can hear each other if you want to. I want you to read a page, and then let your partner read a page. If you get stuck on a word use your cover up critter, or look at our phoneme picture of the crying baby! I will be walking around the room if you need help!"


Teacher says: Great job reading! What snack did the ants have? [Wait for response]. What did the ants do to Jan? [Wait for response]. What did Jan’s Dad give her at the end of the story? [Wait for response].



Give each student the assessment worksheet.

 Teacher Says: That was a fun story! Now we are going to work on a worksheet by ourselves! I want you to practice hearing the crying baby /a/ sound when you read the three different words beneath each picture. Make sure to choose the word that has the baby crying waaaaaaah /a/ sound in it. This is going to help me know if you all understand our /a/ sound!

This assessment sheet will have three words beneath each picture that relate to the picture. The students have to read each word and choose the word that has the short /a/ sound in it!




Aaaa Aaaa Apple! By: Jessica Evans


Baby says Aaaa By: Tawana Fuller


Murray, G. (2006) Ants in a Can. Reading Genie:


Assessment worksheet: