Emergent Literacy Lesson

Emergent Literacy Design: Cry Like a Baby with A


·         Rationale: This lesson will help children to learn the sound /a/, the phoneme that is represented with the letter a.  The students will learn a representation (a crying baby) to help them to remember the sound and the letter that represents this sound, practice finding /a/ in everyday words, and practice phoneme awareness by distinguishing the beginning sound from rhyming words with this phoneme using the representation the student is taught.


·         Materials: Primary paper, pencil, chart with “Alice asks as athletes apples attract”, drawing paper and crayons, Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, word cards with RAP, WIG, HAD, CRIB, CLAP, MASK, assessment worksheet (URL below)


·         Procedures: 1. Say: I’ll bet that you hear the letter a in a bunch of the words that you see everyday.  The letter a often makes the sound just like a crying baby.  Today, we are going to work on finding this sound and this letter that makes this sound in words.  The lowercase letter a kind of looks like a baby’s open mouth crying, with its arms reaching out screaming and that is what it often sounds like when we find it in a word.

2. Let’s make the sound like we are a baby crying for food /a/, /a/, /a/. (Act like a baby crying really hard) What do you notice about the shape of your mouth when you are making this sound? Your mouth is open the whole time. 

3. Let me teach you how to find this sound in the letter sack.  I’m going to stretch out this word and I want us to listen to find out if we hear a crying baby somewhere.  Sss-a-a-a-cc-kk.   I’ll say it even slower and I want you to say it with me: Sssssss-a-a-a-a-a-cccc-kkkk.   I hear the crying baby right in the middle!  What letter do you think is in the middle of this word?

4. Let’s try a fun little tongue twister (on a chart).  “Alice asks as athletes apples attract.” Let’s say it this time, stretching out the aaaa sound in each word.  “Aaaalice aaasks aaas aaathletes aaapples aaattract.”  Now say it one more time with me and break off that /a/ sound as you go.  “/a/ lice /a/ sks /a/ s /a/ thletes /a/ pples /a/ ttract.”

5. (Ask the students to take out their primary paper and pencil).  We use the letter a when we are spelling /a/.  Lowercase a looks like a baby crying and the uppercase A can look like a baby’s mouth open too.  Let’s start by writing the lowercase letter a.  We’re going to start at the fence and make an o, off of that o draw a tail, making the a. Show me your letter a when you are finished and we will be writing 9 more after I have checked all of yours and placed a sticker by it.

6. Ask the students orally: Do you hear /a/ in apple or orange? Sack or tote? Happy or excited? Actor or singer? Also have them explain how they know that the sound /a/ is found in those words.  Let’s see if you can see my mouth move like the /a/ in some of these words.  Cry like a baby if you hear /a/: The, apple, doesn’t, lack, cats, but, sat, like, a, flash.

7. Say: “Let’s look at a book that represents /a/ really well.  Has anyone ever heard of The Cat in the Hat? What is the name of the main character in this story?” I will say Cat in the Hat many times, stretching out the /a/.  I will then ask the students to find any other words with /a/ on page 4 of the book.  Then I will flip to page 7 and ask them if they hear any words with /a/.  I will do this on various pages of the book.  I will then ask the students to come up with their own main character of a book, using words that have /a/.  They will make up a short story for this character and draw some illustrations.

8. I will show a card with the word SACK on it and ask how they know whether it is sack or sick? I will say this one gives us the /a/ sound and the word sack makes this sound with the letter a.  Then I will show many cards and ask them to decide which word it is: RAP: rap or rip? WIG: wag or wig? HAD: had or hid? CRIB: crab or crib? CLAP: clap or clip? MASK: mask or musk?

9. I will hand out the worksheets.  The students are supposed to color the pictures and circle the correct word that describes the picture with the sound /a/.  I will call the students individually to complete task 8 with me to make sure they have mastered this phoneme. 


Short “A” words worksheet.  This worksheet provides a picture with a list of three words and asks the student to identify which descriptive word contains the /a/ sound.



The Reading Genie.  This site helped give me a lot of references to base this lesson off of as well as great ideas for instruction.