Beginning Reading Lesson Design

"Lets Bake A Cake!"

Beginning Reading Lesson

By Hillary Goins 

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 (bake a cake), 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 a birthday cake; cover-up critter; Write On Phonics app; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: ate, vase, plane, bat, brake, scrape; decodable text: The Race for Cake, and assessment worksheet.



1. Say: “In order to become expert readers we need to learn certain things in order to pronounce words. We have already learned to read short vowel words with a, like hat, 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 baking a cake!” [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/ and my mouth makes the same shape as if I’m going to pronounce the short a sound but instead I say /A/ like this. [Make vocal gesture for /A/.] I’ll show you first: base. I heard a say its name and I felt my mouth make the same shape as if I’m going to make the short a sound except my jaw goes down then back up. There is a long A in base. Now I’m going to see if it’s in sand. Hmm, I didn’t hear a say its name and my jaw didn’t go down then come back up. Now you try. If you hear /A/ say, “Lets bake a cake!” If you don’t hear /A/ say, “That’s not it.” Is it in cane, pants, sane, coat, rate, sip?

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 iPad]. 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 grade? “If I make a good grade, I will be happy.” Grade means a score in this sentence. To spell grade in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /g//r//A//d/. I need 4 boxes. I heard that /A/ just before the /d/ so I’m going to put an a in the 4th box and the silent e signal outside the last box. The word starts with /g/, that’s easy; I need a g. Now it gets a little tricky so I’m going to say it slowly, /g//r//A//d/. I think I heard /r/ so I’ll put a r right after the g. I have one empty box now. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /g//r//A//d/.] The missing one is /d/ = d.









4. Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start out easy with two boxes for ate. Ate is the past tense form of the word eat, “We ate apples yesterday.” 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.] Say: 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 silent e at the end, outside the boxes. Here’s the word: vase, I put my flowers in a vase; vase. [Allow children to spell words.] Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: v – a – s – e and see if you’ve spelled it the same way. Try another with four boxes: plane; I want to fly in a plane. [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: bat; swing the bat at the ball. 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 another word with 4 phonemes: brake; the brake on the bicycle was weak. One more then we’re done with spelling, and this time you need five boxes: scrape; if I scrape my knee, I will need a band-aid. 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 the cover-up critter 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 and reading words with our new spelling for /A/: a_e. Now we are going to read a book called The Race for Cake. This is a story of two boys named Ben and Jess who are swimming in the lake until they smell Mom baking a cake. The dog, Lad wants some cake too. Let’s pair up and take turns reading The Race for Cake to find out what the race is all about. [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 The Race for Cake aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]




7. Say: That was a fun story. What was the race all about? Right, they were racing to see who could get to the house first to eat the cake. What happened to Ben during the race back to the house? Correct, he fell and scraped his knee. 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, you will color in the spaces blue that have the words with the long a sound and color the spaces with short a words grey. Your job is to look at each word and determine whether which words have the long a sound. First try reading all the words on the sheet, then color the words that make the long a sound with a_e. Reread your answers to see if they make sense before you color in the spaces. [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.]



Murray, Geri: Oh, I didn’t know!


Murray, G. (2004) The Race for Cake. Reading Genie:


Assessment Worksheet: