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Beginning Reading Design

Ants graphics

Audrey Leach

February 24, 2014

Beginning Reading Design

Annie the Ant


            Rationale: In order for beginning readers to become successful in reading and writing, they first must comprehend and be familiar with what each letter in the alphabet represents a different sound.  By learning about phonemes and letter correspondences, beginning readers can become fluent readers.  Short vowels are often tricky for students to recognize and therefore, this lesson will focus on the vowel correspondences a=/a/.  The students will learn the /a/ correspondence through a meaningful illustration.  In addition, they will learn to spell and read words with the /a/ sound through a letterbox lesson and through a decodable book.


            Chart with tongue twister (Annie the Ant asks for an apricot)

            Letter boxes for students (up to 6)

            Plastic letters for each student ( a, b, c, d, f, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t )

            Laminated Letter

            Copy of A Cat Nap for each student

             Pseudoword sheet with gaf, lan, gam, wat, wap



1.  Begin by explaining to students that they are going to learn the letter a and the sound it makes.  “This is the letter a and we hear the /a/ sound in many words that we say everyday!  Today we are going to learn to recognize this sound and also learn to read and write words with it.”

2.  Relate the sound to students.  Ask, “Have you ever heard or seen something really sweet, and said, “ahhhh!”?  Well that’s what sound the makes in some words.  We open our mouths and our tongue stays on the bottom of it. Now I want you to practice making this sound.  Pretend that you just saw someone do something really sweet, and place your hand on your heart and say ahhhhh!”

3.  Give students a tongue twister to help them remember the sound.  “Say the tongue twister with me when I point to the words.  Annie the ant asks for an apricot.  Great!  This time when we say it, stretch out the /a/ sound when you hear it, and put your hands on your cheeks like you’re scared!  Aaaaannie the aaaaant aaasks for aaan aaaapricot. Good job!”

4.  Give students practice with phoneme awareness.  “Now let’s see if we hear the /a/ sound in spoken words.  Do you hear /a/ in pear or apricot?  fish or cat?  Bat or dug?  fig or can?”

5.  Do a group letterbox lesson using the /a/ sound.  “Now I want you to spread out all of your letters for our lesson and make sure you can see all of them.  We are going to try to spell some words.  Remember to put each sound in its own box!  I will show you how to spell one first.  I want to spell snack.  s-n--aaa-ck.  The first sound /s/ goes in the first box, the second /n/, goes in the second box, the third /a/ goes in the third box, and the last sound /ck/ goes together in the last box.  Some boxes may have two letters in it if they make one sound.  Now it’s your turn to spell some words.”  Tell students to use their letterboxes to spell the following words: {2- an; 3- pan, fan, sack; 4- smack, champ, fact, crash; 5- craft, scrap, stamp; 6- strand} Make sure to tell students how many boxes to use before they try to spell each word, otherwise they will get frustrated.  After they are finished spelling the words in the letterboxes, I will have the students read the words outside the boxes. 

6.  After the students are finished, tell them to put their letters away.  Spell the words used in the lesson for the students and have them read them.  If the students are having trouble, isolate the vowel sound using a cover-up and then blend body-coda.


7.  Give children practice reading the /a/ sound.  “When I was little, I had a cat named Callie who liked to sleep alllll the time!  We are going to read a book about a cat that is similar to my cat.  This is about a cat named Tab who is very fat.  He likes to nap, and his favorite place to nap is in a bag.  Sam is a man who likes to play baseball and loves Tab.  You’ll have to read A Cap Nap to see what happens to Tab!”  Ask children to read the book silently, and then I will read the book to the class.  When finished, ask what words contained the /a/ sound and make a chart.


            Assessment:  Give students a pseudo word test to see if they can decode the /a/ sound.  Ask them to read gaf, lan, gam, wat, wap.  “These aren’t real words, but I want you to see if you can read these silly words to me.”




Pseudoword Test