Ay, How Are You?

Beginning Reading

Liz Cosper

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 spelling a_e.  First, they will learn a meaningful representation (man saying Ay!).  Second, they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson. Third, they will read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence a_e=/A/.

Materials: Graphic image of a man saying Ay!; Cover-up critter (popsicle stick with eyes); Whiteboard or smart board Elkonin boxes for modeling; Individual Elkonin boxes for each student; Letter manipulative for each child; Magnetic or smart board letters for teacher: a, c, d, e, g, h, j, k, p, r, s, t; List of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: ape, sat, take, cape, shade, rack, stage, scrape; Decodable text: Babe and Jane; poster with brave; Assessment worksheet


1. Say: We have already covered short a.  Who can tell me what short a sounds like?  Great!  Who can give me an example word?  Awesome!! Who can give me another example word?  Great job!!

2. Say: In order to become expert readers, we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce the words.  We have already learned to read short vowel words like /a/ in cat and past.  Today we are going to learn about long A.  For long A, the silent e signal is used to make the A say its name /A/.  When I say /A/ I think of a little cartoon saying "Ay! How are you today (show graphic image)?" 

3. Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /A/, we need to listen for /A/ in some words.  When I listen for /A/ in words, I hear a say its name /A/ and my mouth opens, my jaw drops, and my tongue does not move (Make vocal gesture for /A/).  I will show you first: make.  I heard the a say its name and I felt my jaw drop and my tongue stay.  There is a long A in make.  Now I am going to see if /A/ is in mask.  Hmm, I did not hear a say its name in mask and my jaw did not drop like it does with /A/.  Now you try.  If you hear /A/ say "Ay, how are you?"  If you do not hear /A/ say, "That is not it."  Is /A/ in at, tape, bid, rain, lane, and dog? [I will have the children touch their jaw when they feel /A/ say its name.]

4. Say: Now let's look at the spelling of /A/ that we will 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.  [I will write a_e on the board.] This blank line 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 brake?  "The firefighter is a very brave person."  Brave means courageous.  To spell brave in letterboxes, I first need to know how many phonemes I have in the word.  I am going to stretch out brave and count the phonemes: /b/ /r/ /a/ /v/.  I need 4 boxes.  I heard that /A/ just before the /v/ so I am going to put an a in the 2nd box.  I am going to put the silent e signal outside of the last box.  The word starts with /b/, that is easy; I need a b.  I think I hear a growling r after the b.  I have one empty box now.  [I will point to letters in the boxes while stretching out the word: /b/ /r/ /a/ /v/.] The missing phoneme is /v/=v.






5. Say:  Now I am going to have you spell some words in letterboxes.  You will start out with two boxes for ape.  An ape is a kind of monkey.  "The ape had some yellow bananas."  What should go into the first box?  [I will 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 will check your spelling while I walk around the room. [I will be observing progress while walking around.]  You will need three letterboxes for the next word.  First, listen for the beginning sound that goes in the first box.  Second, listen for the /A/.  Third, do not forget to put the silent e outside the boxes at the end of the word.  Here is the word: take. "I will take the hat off my dad's head; take." [I will allow the children time to spell the word.]  Time to check your work.  Watch how I spell the word in my letterboxes: t-a-k-e.  Did you spell the word the same way?  Try another word that needs three boxes: cape.  "The superhero had an awesome cape: cape." [I will have a volunteer spell the word in the letterboxes up front for the children to check their spelling of the word.  I will also be repeating this step for each new word.]  Here comes the next word.  Listen to see if this word has /A/ before spelling it in the letterboxes. The word is rack.  "The rack is high off of the ground: rack."  Did you need a silent e?  Why not?  Right, because we do not hear a say its name.  We spell rack with our short vowel a.  [I will have a volunteer spell past in front of the class.]  Did you remember to spell /k/ with ck?  Now I want everybody to try 4 phonemes: stage. "The stage is in the very front of the room; stage."  One more word and we are done with spelling.  The last word will need five boxes: scrape.  The scrape on my knee is very big; scrape. Remember to stretch the word out to get this tough word.

6. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you have spelled.  First I will show you how I would read a tough word. [I will display a poster with brave on the top and model reading the word.]  First I see the word brave has a silent e on the end and that is my signal that the vowel will say its name.  There is the vowel a.  It must say /A/.  I am going to use a cover-up critter to get the first part.  [I will uncover and blend sequentially before the vowel.  Then, I will blend with the vowel.]  /b/ /r/ = /br/. Now I am going to blend /br/ with /A/ which makes /brA/.  Now all I need is the end which is /v/.  All of the blending together makes /brAv/.  Brave is the word.  Now it is your turn.  Everyone is going together.  [I will have the children read words in unison.  Afterwards, I will call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.] 

7. Say: Everybody has done such a great job on reading words with our new spelling for /A/=a_e.  Now we are going to read a book called Babe and Jane.  This story is about a lion named Babe who stays in a cage. Babe is REALLLLYYY BIG but is very nice.  Jane goes in his cage.  Babe naps and naps.   Jane has to wake him but what ways can she wake him?!?! We are going to read in partners to find out how Jane wakes Babe.  [The children will be given partners and will take turns reading alternate pages while the teacher walks around the room monitoring progress.  After all of the groups have finished, the class will reread the story aloud together and will stop between page turns to discuss the plot.]

8. Say: This story was a fun one.  What way did Jane wake Babe?  Right, she called his name.  Before we finish with our lesson, I want to see how everybody can solve a reading problem.  On this worksheet, we have some words that have short a and some words that have long A.  Your job is to look at each word and decide if the a is short or long.  If you decide that the word has a short a, you will color the space gray.  If you decide that the word has a long a, you will color the space blue.  [I will collect the worksheets after everybody has finished evaluating individual child progress.]


Waldrum, Julia:  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/awakenings/waldrumbr.htm

Assessment Worksheet: http://free-phonics-worksheets.com/html/phonics_worksheet_v1-36.html

Decodable Text: Jane and Babe by Shelia Cushman and Rona Kornblum (1990)   

Return to the Epiphanies index.