Don't Grab the Ants, /a/!



A Beginning Reading Lesson

Meredith Kizer




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.




1.     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."


2.     Teacher says: "We have already learned the sound a short a makes. Can anybody tell me what "short a" sounds like? Remember to raise you hand before answering. That's right, a=/a/! Lets pull out our crying baby picture that helps us remember a=/a/". [Show graphic image].


3.     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. No 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 is boy, at, pet, map, trap, fab, vest?" [Observe the class while they are opening their mouth to monitor who hears this phoneme].


4.     Teacher says: "Now, what if I want to spell the word rag. She wiped up the spill with a rag. A rag in this sentence is used as a towel to clean up a mess. Hmm, first I think I will stretch the word out to listen to 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. [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. 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.









5.     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 the letter that goes in the first box? Who can come write the letter that goes in the second box? The third? Great job!"


6.     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. 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]


7.      Teacher says: "Now I am going to show you how I would read this word. [Pull out chart paper with words listed on them]. First I see the a in the middle so it must say /a/ like our crying baby. I'm going to use my cover up critter to read the rest of the word. [Cover up and blend before the vowel, and then with the vowel]. /r/ /a/ = /ra/. Now I am going to blend /ra/ with the "g" on the end. /ra/ /g/, /rag/. Oh, that's easy! Rag, like, I need a rag to clean up this mess. Now I want everybody to look at our chart paper, and let's read the words together. [rag, mat, flag, had, pack, bass, mask, clap, fact, grab, strap] Great job everyone!


8.     Pull out the flashcards. Mix the words up, and ask children to raise their hand to read the word. Ask them to only read one word, so that everybody can have a turn. Have students read the flashcards until every child has had at least one turn.


9.     Teacher says: Now, we are going to read the book Ants in a Can. 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!"


10.   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].


11.  Give each student the assessment worksheet. Say: In this worksheet you will need to look at the pictures and read the words in the word bank. Pick the word that matches the picture and print it in the spaces under the pictures. You can use your cover up critter to read the words if you need help. [Pick up the worksheets for individual assessment.]




Storey, Jamie, Cry Baby /a/ "Aaaaa":


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


Assessment worksheet:


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