Abe the Ape
Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence a_e = /A/. In order to learn to read successfully, 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 (Abe the Ape), 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/.
Abe the Ape image
Whiteboard/Smartboard Elkonin boxes
Individual Elkonin boxes (per student)
Letter manipulatives (per student)
Magnetic/Smartboard letters for teacher: a, t, e, b, s, m, f, n, r, p, l, c, h
List of spelling words on poster/whiteboard to read: ate, base, mate, fan, place, scrape, chase
Decodable Text: Jane and Babe
1.Say: In order to become expert readers, we have to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. We have already learned to read short vowel words with a, like mat, 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 an ape at the zoo…in particular, an Ape named Abe! [show graphic 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/- my tongue touches the bottom of my mouth, and my throat pushes air out through my lips. [Make vocal gesture for /A/.] I'll show you first: ate. I heard a say its name and I felt my tongue touch the bottom of my mouth. There is a long A in ate. Now I'm going to see if it's in fan. I didn't hear a say its name, and my mouth didn't make the same motions as when it says a. Now you try. If you hear /A/, say, "Abe the Ape." If you don't hear /A/, say, "I didn't hear it." Is it in late, early, face, nose, age, old? (Have children point to their mouth when they hear /A/.)
3.Say: Now let's look at the spelling of /A/ that we'll learn to today. One way to spell /A/ is with the letter a and a silent e at the end of the word to tell me to say A's name. [Write a_e on the board or paper.] 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 the puppy from the mother dog, she may get upset." Take means to get the puppy and bring it with you 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 hear that /A/ just before the /k/ so I'm going to put the a in the 2nd box and the silent e signal outside the last box. The word starts with /t/, that's easy; I need a t. Now I have one empty box. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /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 ate. "I ate a banana for breakfast." 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. [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: base, The legs are the base of the table, base. [Allow children to spell words.] Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: b - a - s - e and see if you've spelled it the same way. Try another with three boxes: mate; In Australia, they call a friend a mate; mate. [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: fan; I turn on the fan when I'm hot; fan. 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.] Now let's try 4 phonemes: place; Find your place in your book; place. One more then we're done with spelling, and this time you need five boxes: scrape; I got a scrape on my knee when I fell; scrape. Remember to stretch it out to get this tough word.
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 poster with scrape on the top 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//c/ = /sc/ + /r/ = /scr/. Now I'm going to blend that with /A/ = /scrA/. Now all I need is the end, /p/ = /scrAp/. Scrape; 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 with 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? You'll have to keep reading to find out. Let the student read the book aloud to you, or partners if there are multiple students. Discuss after each page, or have students discuss with one another after each page.
7.Say: That was a fun story. What was Babe's problem? Right, he didn't want to wake up and start the day. Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /A/ = a_e, I want to make sure you recognize long /A/. On this worksheet, there are short /a/ words and long /A/ words. Your job is to color the words with a long /A/ sound blue, and the words with a short /a/ sound gray. Say the words in your head to make sure you color them the right color. (Collect worksheet to evaluate individual progress.)
Geri Murray, Oh, I didn’t know!
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