Home‎ > ‎

"Aaaaa! Says the crying baby!"

                                     Aaaaa!” Says the crying baby!"

                                                           Beginning Reading Lesson

                                                                                                  By: Lydia Moore

Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the short vowel correspondence a = /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. They will learn a meaningful representation (acting like a baby crying), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence a = /a/.

 Materials: Graphic image of baby crying; cover-up critter; whiteboard or Smart board, letter boxes for modeling and individual letter boxes for each student; letter manipulatives for each child and magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher: a, t, c, n, g, l, d, b, r, z, q, u, k, s, m, h; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: at, can, glad, brag, zad, quack, smash; decodable text: Pat’s Jam, and assessment worksheet.


1. Say: In order to become expert readers we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. Today we are going to learn about the short a and the mouth movements we do in order to say /a/. When I say /a/ I think of a baby crying, “ah”! [show graphic image]. Now let’s look at the spelling of /a/ that we’ll learn today. We use the letter a to spell /a/.

 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 jar drops and my tongue is down. [Make vocal gesture for /a/.] I’ll show you first: apple. I heard a say its name and I felt my jaw drop and my tongue goes down. There is a short a in apple. Now I’m going to see if it’s in feet. Hmm, I didn’t hear a say its name and my jaw didn’t drop. Now you try. If you hear /a/ say, “Ah, I hear it.” If you don’t hear /a/ say, “Ah? That’s not it.” Is it in task, tool, need, mat, splash? [Have children make their jaws drop when they feel /a/ say its name.]

 3. What if I want to spell the word stack? “I have a stack of paper in the office.” Stack means lots of papers on top of each other in this sentence. To spell stack 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//ck/. I need 4 boxes. I heard that /a/ just before the /ck/ so I’m going to put an a in the 3rd 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//ck/ I think I heard /t/ so I’ll put a t right after the s. One more before the /a/, hmm . .. /s//t//a//ck/, I have one empty box now. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /s//t//a//ck/ The missing one is /ck/. So I put both letters c and k in the last box. Now I’ll show you how I would read a tough word. [Display poster with bad on the top and model reading the word.]  I’m going to start with the a; that part says /a/. Now I’m going to put the beginning letters with it: b-a, /ba/. Now I’ll put that chunk together with the last sound, /ba-d/. Oh, bad like “I was bad when I yelled at my mother.”

 4. Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start out easy with two boxes for at. Like, “I was at my house last night”. What should go in the first box? [Respond to children’s answers]. What goes in the second box? 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 to spell in the first box. Then listen for /a/.Here’s the word: man, “I need a man to help me open the door.”; man. [Allow children to spell remaining words: glad, brag, quack, smash.] 

 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 difficult word.[Display poster with trash on the top and model the reading word.] First, I see there is a sh on then end. That lets me know that I put those letters in one box because they make one sound. Then, there is my vowel a. It must say a=/a/. I’m going to use a cover-up to get the first part of the word. [Uncover and blend sequentially before the vowel, then blend with the vowel.] /t//r/=/tr/. Now I’m going to blend that with /a/=/tra/. Now all I need is the end, /sh/=/trash/. Trash; 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 reading words with our new spelling for /a/: a. Now we are going to read a book called Pat’s Jam. Pat and Pam are very hungry rats. They go to the grocery store to get some ham but when they get in car, it is out of gas!! What are they going to do?? How are they going get home?! Let’s pair up and take turns reading Pat’s Jam 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 Pat’s Jam aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]

 7. Assessment: I will listen to everyone in the class read. I will call them up individually to my desk and have them read 1-2 pages of Pat’s Jam. I will listen and make notes of miscues during the reading. While I am assessing the students individually, the other students will practice reading with a partner. After this they will do a worksheet that has them read words and then match them to the picture that starts with the letter a. Then once they match the words, they will read all of the words as a last review.



                                                Assessment Worksheet



 Choose the word that contains the 'Aaaaa!' sound from the short vowel a.



1.      Bill                                bass                               bunt                              





2.      Hat                      her                                 hill





3.      Net                                nap                                nut





4.      Fast                     fell                                  find





5.      pens                           pots                               pants







Murray PowerPoint: Creating Literacy Design:



Cushman, Sheila, and Patti Briles. Pat's Jam. Dominguez Hills, CA.: Educational Insights, 1990. Print. 


http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/awakenings/leavittcbr.htm - Carley Leavitt- Ah! Cries the baby! 



-Crying Baby “Aaaa!” – Caitlin Roebuck 


Return to the Edifications Index.