Long A With Fonzie

Beginning Reading Lesson

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 (Fonzie saying “AYYY”) 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: Graphic image of Fonzie; cover-up critter; whiteboard or smartboard letter boxes for modeling and individual letter boxes for each student; letter manipulatives for each child and magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher: a, c, d, e, h, k, m, n, p, r, s, t; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: made, Nate, cape, rack, pane, chase, strake; decodable text: “Dave and Jake”; and assessment worksheet.


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 tap, 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 fonzie with his thumbs up saying “AYYY”

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 mouth is open and my lips kind of smile like this. [Make vocal gesture for /A/.] I’ll show you first: tame. I heard a say its name and I felt my lips make an open mouth smile. There is a long A in tame. Now I’m going to see if it’s in task. Hmm, I didn’t hear a say its name and my lips didn’t make that open mouth smile. Now you try. If you hear /A/ put your thumbs up like Fonzie. If you don’t hear /A/ say, “That’s not it.” Is it in snake, ran, plane, paste, sat, lake?

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? “To pitch the tent, we had to put a stake in the ground.” In this sentence, a stake is a wooden pole used to hold the tent down. 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 the 3rd box and the silent e signal outside the last box. The word starts with /s/, that’s easy; I need 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//r//O//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 three boxes for Made. “Our teacher made us some practice worksheets to prepare for the test.” 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: chase, I saw the dog chase the cat around the yard, chase.  [Allow children to spell words.] Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: c-h-a-s-e and see if you’ve spelled it the same way. Try another with three boxes: Nate, my best friend’s name is Nate. [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: rack; please hang your wet clothes on the drying rack. 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?

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 stroke 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//t/ = /st/. Now I’m going to blend that with /A/ = /stA/. Now all I need is the end, /k/ = /stAk/. Stake; 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 “Dave and Jake”. This is a story about two friends named Dave and Jake that go on trip to the lake. They decide they want to explore the cave and see if they can find snakes, but that’s very dangerous! Let’s read to find out what happens.” [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 Dave and Jake aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]
7. Say: That was a fun story. Aren’t you glad Dave and Jake decided to stop looking for the snakes? 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 worksheet, we have pictures of words that are spelled with the long a and silent e. First determine what the picture is, then select the phonemes you need to spell it. Write your word out on the line beside the picture. Reread your answers to see if they make sense. [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.]






Assessment worksheet:

Long A worksheet