Sing a New Word With A

By: D.D. Knight

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 (two men singing A showing the perfect mouth position for the sound), 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/.


Materials: Primary paper and pencil;

Picture of men singing

Dry erase board

Dry erase markers

chart with "Abe, the ape ate Amy’s date"

cover-up critter

letter boxes

letters: a,p,e,c,t,r,d,s,k

word cards with ape, act, rate, dab, back, stake, state

decodable text: Jane and Babe


Procedures: 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 apple, and today we are going to learn about long A and the silent e signal that is used to make A say its name, /A/. When I say /A/ I think of two men singing Aaaaa while holding a sign that shows what our mouth looks like when we say A (Our tongue lays flat and a bit of our top teeth show). (Show the image)


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 name /A/ and my tongue lays flat and a bit of my top teeth show. [Make vocal gesture for /A/.] I’ll show you first: name. I heard a say its name. There is a long A in name. Now I’m going to see if it’s in apple. Hmm, I didn’t hear a say its name. Now you try. If you hear /A/ sing “Aaaaa”. If you don’t hear /A/ say, “That’s not it.” Is it in snap, rain, pants, cape, Nate, laps?


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 stake? “I kill vampires with a wooden stake” To spell stake in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /s//t//A//k/. I need 4 boxes. I heard that /A/ just before the /k/ so I’m going to put an a in an s. Now it gets a little tricky so I’m going to say it slowly, /s//t/A//k/. I think I heard /t/ so I’ll put a t right after the s. I have one empty box now. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /s//t//A//k/.] The missing one is /k/ = k.                                                                                                 

4. Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start out easy with two boxes for ace. An ace is someone really good at something, “I am an ace at math.” What should go in the first box? [Respond to children’s answers]. What goes in the second box? What about silent e, did you remember to put it outside the boxes? I’ll check your spelling while I walk around the room. Try another two box word: ape, a gorilla is an ape. [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 /A/ and don’t forget to put the signal silent e at the end, outside the boxes. Here’s the word: rate, I rate how good you are; rate. [Allow children to spell words.] It’s time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: r – a – t – e and see if you’ve spelled it the same way. Try another with three boxes: dare; I dare you to be quiet. [Have 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: back; please scratch my back. Did you need a silent e? Why not? Right, because we don’t hear a say its name. We spell it with our short vowel a. [volunteer spells it on the front board.] Did you remember to spell /k/ with a ck? Now let’s try 4 phonemes: stake; I put my scarecrow on a stake.


5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you’ve spelled, but first I’ll show you how I would read a tough word. [Display card with state and model reading the word.] First I see there’s a silent e on the end; that’s my signal that the vowel will say its name. There’s the vowel a. It must say /A/. I’m going to use a cover-up to get the first part. [Uncover and blend sequentially before the vowel, then blend with the vowel.] /s//t/ = /st/. Now I’m going to blend that with /A/ = /stA/. Now all I need is the end, /t/ = /stAt/. State; that’s it. Now it’s your turn, everyone together. [Have children read words in unison. Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.]


6.Say: You’ve done a great job and reading words with our new spelling for /A/: a_e. Now we are going to read a book called Jane and Babe. Jane is a zoo keeper and takes care of Babe. Babe is asleep when Jane goes to see him. How do you think she is going to wake him? And if she does wake him will he eat her? [Children pair up and take turns reading alternate pages each while teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads Jane and Babe aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]


7. Say: Did Babe eat Jane? No, what did they do together? 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 paper I want you to draw a picture for each word. [Collect sheets to evaluate individual child progress.]

Introduction to the A_E Pattern (FREE Printable Pack)




 Geri Murray- Oh I Didn’t Know- ConstructingBR_Lesson_Desing-




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