Aaaaa-choo…Allie the Alligator has Allergies

By: Savannah Roberts

Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the /a/ correspondence. Also, they will learn how to read /a/ by associating it with a sneezing alligator. Students will learn to recognize /a/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (Alligator with allergies) and the letter symbol A. Students will spell and read words containing /a/ in a Letterbox lesson, along with reading a decodable book that focuses on the/a/ sound.


-Graphic image of a sneezing alligator

-Cover-up critter

-Letter boxes

-Primary paper,

-Letter tiles (a,t,e,m,p,d,k,r,g,c,l,s,s,f,b,n),

-Poster with tongue twister written on it (Abbey asked Allie the Alligator if she was aggravated by her allergies”)

-White board

-Overhead/document cam

-Worksheet (listed at the bottom of the page)

-Books for each student (A Cat Nap)

-A list of spelling words on a poster or whiteboard for the students to read (tap, sat, Pam, get, tank, grass, crab, splat)



Say: For us to become good readers we need to learn the secret code that tells us how to pronounce words. All letters make different sounds as we move our mouths a certain way. Today, we are going to learn about the /a/ sound. When I say /a/, I think of the sound that I make when I sneeze like this alligator, “Aaaaaaa-choo. (Show graphic image).

Say: The letter we are going to learn about today is a. (Have students take out primary paper and pencil). Let's practice writing a on our primary paper. (Model on the board how to write the letter a). Watch as I model writing the letter first then you will have a chance to try. Start under the fence and make a curved line down until you touch the sidewalk, but don't stop here. Continue the curve around until you end up where you started. Then draw a straight line back down, and stop on the sidewalk. (As students practice drawing a row of a's, walk around the room observing and checking if they are correctly writing the letter a).

Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /a/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I say /a/ in words, watch as my mouth opens and lengthens, and it looks like the alligators mouth when he/she sneezes. (Make vocal gesture for /a/.) I'll show you first: class. I heard/a/ and I felt my mouth open and lengthen and I picture the alligator getting ready to sneeze. Now I’m going to see if I hear/a/ in the word swim. Hmm, I didn't hear/a/ in swim, and my mouth didn't open and lengthen. Now it’s your turn, when you hear the /a/ you will tilt your head back with your mouth making the motion with your lips like you are about to sneeze (Aaaaa-choo).  Do you hear/a/ in back, most, fix, sleep, coat, bag, stamp, or trip? (Have students make the motion of sneezing with their mouth open in the /a/ sound).

Say: Now I am going to teach each of you a tongue tickler that will help you remember the sound that /a/ makes. Abbey asked Allie the Alligator if she was aggravated by her allergies. (I will briefly review what the word aggravated means before we say the tongue tickler together). Let's say it together! Now let's say it again, and if you hear the /a/ sound in a word, I want you to give me a thumbs up. (Repeat tongue twister). Now I want each of you to stretch out the /a/ sound. (Ex: Aaaaaaabbey aaaaaasked Aaaaaaallie…) Good Job!

Say: Please take out your letter boxes. We are going to use what we just learned about the letter a to spell words. I will call out a word and you can spell it using the letterboxes. Before each word I call out I will tell you how many boxes to use. Each sound or mouth move in the word will go in a box . For example, the word I am going to spell is cat. I will use three boxes (draw three boxes on the board), because it has three sounds /c/, /a/, & /t/. The first sound I hear is /c/. I will place the letter c in the first box (model on board). Now it might help to say the word again to yourself, cat. The second sound I hear is /a/. We just learned the letter a stands for /a/, so I will place the a in the second box (model on the board). The last sound I hear is /t/. I will place the t in the third box (model on board). I spelled the word cat. Now you try. The words I will call out are: tap, sat, Pam, get (3) tank, grass, crab (4), and splat (5). After the students spell a word, the class will spell the word and I will write it on the board. After writing the words on the board, the class will read each word together.

I will divide the students into partners giving each partner a copy of the decodable book, A Cat Nap. I will give the booktalk by saying: “This is a book about a cat named Tab who likes to take naps. He falls asleep in Sam’s baseball bag without him knowing! Read to find out what happens next!” I will ask each partner to go back and forth reading a page to each other. (Remind students if they are reading and get stuck, that there are things they can do to help themselves). Say: First, try to read the word by covering parts of it up like I demonstrated for you earlier. Then read the sentence all the way through. Think to yourself, Does this sentence make sense? Then change words that do not make sense. After you are finished correcting, always make sure you reread the sentence one time through with the corrections that you made. I will be walking around to help you if you need it.

To end this lesson, I will read the story to the students and we will discuss and talk about the story as we read. The students will reflect on the story. For the next lesson we will use this book by rereading a familiar text.

During the lesson, I would assess the students as I walk around the room while they are partner reading to see if they are recognizing the short /a/ sound. To assess the students after the lesson, they will each be given a worksheet where they will be asked to circle the picture of the objects that contain the a=/a/ sound. The students must read the word underneath each picture aloud, and then circle the pictures in which they hear /a/. Also, if time permitted, they could read decodable text, “Pat’s Jam” for extra assessment.



“Aaaaaaa,”Cries the Baby. By: Janie Colvin

Book: A Cat Nap. Educational Insights, 1990.

Book: Pat’s Jam. Educational Insights, 1990.


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