"Ay, Let's Read!"



A Beginning Reading Lesson

By Megan Bowden


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 (Ay! Like Fonzie), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence a_e = /A/.



Picture of Fonzie with thumbs up

Cover up critter

Jane and Babe by Shelia Cushman and Rona Kornblum (1990)


Letters for each students [a, e, k, t, p, d, c, s, m]

Word cards for reading [acorn, take, apple, lake, rake, rain, snow, cat, bake]

Assessment worksheet



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 to read short vowel words with a, like tap, and today we are going to learn about the long A and the silent e signal that is used to make A say its name, /A/. When I say /A/ I think of a guy named Fonzie, and he always likes to say "Ay!" (Show picture).

2.     Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /A/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I listen for /A/ in words, I hear a say its /A/ and my lower jaw drops while my tongue lays flat on the bottom of my mouth. (Make vocal gesture for /A/.) I'll show you first: acorn. I heard a say its name and felt my lower jaw drop and my tongue stayed at the bottom of my mouth. So I know that there is a long A in acorn. Now I'm going to see if it is in apple. Hmm, I didn't hear a say its name and my mouth didn't make a tall building. Now you try. If you hear /A/ say, "Aye there!" If you don't hear /A/ say, "That's not it." Is it in lake, rain, snow, cat, rake, bake? (Help students notice when their jaw drops and their tongue stays at the bottom of their mouth.)

3.     Say: 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. What if I want to spell the word take? "If I take a cookie to the child, he will be happy." Take means give in this sentence. To spell take in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /t/ /A/ /k/. I need 3 boxes. I heard that /A/ just before the /k/ so I'm going to put an /a/ in the 2nd box and the silent e outside the last box. The word starts with /t/, that's easy; I need a /t/. Now I'm going to read the word using the a_e that I have learned today. /A/…/t/ /A/… /t/ /A/ /k/… and the e is silent. /t/ /A/ /k/

4.     Say: Now I'm going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You'll start out easy with two boxes for ate. If you ate something, you have eaten all the food on your plate. "I ate all of my food." "What should go in the first box? (Respond to children's answers). What goes in the second box? What goes in the third box? What about the silent e, did you remember to put it 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 that goes in the first box. Then listen for the /A/ and don't forget to put the signal silent e at the end, outside the boxes. Here's the word: tape, I tape the paper where it tore; tape. (Allow children to spell words) Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: t-a-p-e and see if you've spelled it the same way. Try another with three boxes: date, Our teacher goes over the date at the beginning of each day at school; date. (Have a volunteer spell it in the letterbox on the front board for children to check their work. Repeat this step for each new word.) Next word. Listen to see if this word has /A/ in it before you spell it: cast; when you break your arm you go to the doctor to get a cast; cast. Did you need a silent e? Why not? Right, because we don't hear a say its name. We spell it with the short vowel a. (Volunteer spells it on the front board.) Now let's try 4 phonemes: damp; after it rains everything is damp; damp.

5.     Say: You've done a great job reading words with our new spelling for /A/=a_e. Now we are going to read a book called Jane and Babe. Babe is a lion that lives in a cage at the zoo. His trainer comes in to wake him but can't seem to get him to wake up. Do you think they will ever get him awake so that the trainer can play with him and take care of him? We are going to have to keep reading to find out. (if in a group of 6 have students pair up to read together.) After you and your partner have read, sit quietly as everyone else finishes and then we will talk about what happened in the story.

6.     Say: That was a fun story. Did the trainer ever wake Babe up to play? Why do you think he didn't want to wake up? Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /A/ = a_e, I want to see how you can solve a reading problem. On this worksheet, we have some words missing. Your job is to look at the word choices and decide which a_e word fits best to make sense of this very short story. First try reading all the words in the box, then choose the word that fits best in the space. Reread your answers to see if they make sense. (Collect worksheets to evaluate children's progress.)





 long a


Murray, G. "Oh, I didn't know." Reading Genie


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