Allie says Aaaaa"


Katie Rice

Beginning Reading

Rationale: This lesson will help students recognize the vowel correspondence represented by a, which makes the /a/ sound.  By using hand gestures, visual representation, and different reading words involving the phoneme /a/, students will have more help in recognizing that phoneme /a/.  The tongue tickler will not only aid in the students being able to think about the movement of mouth, but will also help as well in recognizing the letter a and it's phoneme /a/. Throughout the lesson students will learn a meaningful representation (scared person saying aaaaa), read and spell words in a letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence a = /a/



1.  Say: “In order to become great readers, we need to learn and understand vowels. We see vowels when we see a,e,i,o, or u. They are special because they make a few different sounds. When we pronounce words, we give a lot of importance to the vowels. Today we are going to learn about the vowel short a, a=/a/. Short a says /a/. Say it with me, /a/. When I say /a/, I think of someone screaming with their hands up like they just got scared! “Aaaa!” I want everyone to show me their scared faces. Wow! Those are some great scared faces. Make sure your mouth is wide open and your hands are on your face.  (Show image with document camera). Let’s all say /a/ while making our scared faces.

2.  Say: “Before we learn about the spelling of /a/, we need to first listen for it in some words. When I say the /a/ sound, I notice that my mouth is open big and my tongue and jaw are down. First I will show you a word: fat. I heard /a/ and I felt my jaw drop and my mouth was wide open. Now I am going to see if I hear /a/ in pail. I didn’t hear the /a/ and my mouth didn’t open very wide. Now you try. If you hear the /a/ make your scared faces. Is /a/ in lips, cap, nose, sat?

3. Now we are going to use this tongue tickler to practice /a/. (Show the tongue ticker with the document camera) First, listen to this tongue ticker, “Allie screamed “Aaaa!” as the angry alligator smacked and snapped.” Now we are going to repeat the tongue ticker together. (Repeat the tongue tickler with the students two times). Do you hear the /a/ sound? I hear the /a/ sound many times throughout the sentence. Put your hands up like you are scared when you hear /a/ in these words: smacked, snapped. Great! Now we are going to say the tongue tickler together again, but now we are going to stretch out the /a/ sound. "AAAALICE SCREAMED "AAAAA!" AAAAS THE AAAALIGATOR SMAAACKED AND SNAAAPED."

4. Say: “Now we are going to practice spelling words that have the /a/ sound.  To make the /a/ sound, the a is written without any other vowels and is surrounded by consonants. (Write a on the board with a blank before and after it). The blank means that there is a consonant before and after a. If you want to spell the word at you need to know how many letter sounds (phonemes) you hear in that word. To figure this out you can stretch the word out and count the sounds on your fingers, cccaaatttt. I counted three phonemes (or letter sounds) in the word at so that means that I will need to use three boxes. I heard /a/ before the /t/ so a goes in the middle box. Since I hear /c/ at the beginning, I am going to put the ‘c’ in the first box. What is the last sound that we hear? /t/ so t goes in the last box.

5. Say: “Now it’s your turn to spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start with the word “fan”. When it’s hot in the summertime sometimes we have the fan going in our house. How many boxes do we need for “fan”. /f//a//n/. Three, that's right. I’ll check your spelling and help you while I walk around the room. (Have children also spell the words: at, cat, nap, sat, crab, pant, and blast). Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes. I saw a crab at the beach. (C-r-a-b) see if you spelled crab the same way. I will have students volunteer to spell words in the letterboxes on the board for children to check their work (cat, nap, sat, pant, and blast). We will do this for every word.

My favorite pet is a cat.

I love to take naps.

She sat in her desk.

You pant when you are tired.

I had a blast at the party.

6. Say: [show the words cat, nap, sat, crab, pant, and blast --pseudoword lat] Now that we have completed spelling the word I will show you how to read it. First I see that there is an a in the middle of the word so that signals that the vowel will say /a/. I can use my cover-up critter to get the first part of the word. /b/ /l/ = /bl/ + /a/ = /bla/. Now we have the beginning sound so all we need is the end. /s/ /t/ = blast. I will have the students read the words in unison. Then I will call on individuals and have them each read one words from the list.  


7. Say: Now we are going to read a book called A Cat Nap. This story is about a cat named Tab. Tab likes to take naps in a baseball bag. Tab’s owner, Sam, takes his baseball bag to his game. Oh no! What about Tab! Now you will read to yourself to find out! (Students will pair up and take turns reading alternate pages while I walk around the room monitoring students’ progress. After everyone finishes reading, we will read through the book while discussing the plot).


8. Assessment— Give the students a picture page where they should circle the pictures with the /a/ sound. Have the children write the names of the pictures under each one after they have finished finding the /a/ sounds. While the students are completing the worksheet, I will call students up to my desk one at a time to read pseudowords containing the /u/ sound. 



Cushman, Sheila. A Cat Nap, Carson, CA: Educational Insights, 1990.

Murray, Geri; Oh, I didn't know!

Russell, Jennifer. “Aaaa! I’m Scared!” Says Short A”. Auburn University.

Troha, Ashley. “Aaaaaaa! Cry like a Baby!” Auburn University.

Click here to return to Partnerships