I Make Paint All Day! I am Long A

A Beginner Reader’s Lesson

Margaret Anne Logan



“I make paint all day.  I am long A!”




Rational:  In this lesson the students will be learning the long vowel ai = /A/.  Children must understand spelling in order to gain meaning of their reading.  The students should be able to recognize, spell, and read words that have ai=/A/.  They will learn to spell with the ai =/A/.  They will have a meaningful representation (“I make paint all day.  I am long A”) of the sound of the long vowel, ai=/A/.  They will practice spelling and reading ai=/A/ with the letterbox lesson.  They will also have a decodable book to read that contains ai=/A/ words in it.


Materials: You will need graphic image of paint cans, cover up critter, Elkonin boxes for each student and also one for the teacher where they can display and model the lesson (through smart board, white board, projector, etc.), letter manipulatives for each student, letter manipulatives for teachers (can display through smart board, projector, white board etc.)  Letters that are needed are a, i, m, p, n, t, r, b, d, s, and l.  You will also need a list of spelling words to display for the words aim (2 phonemes), rain, nail, ran (3 phonemes), paint, train, braid (4 phonemes), and sprain (5 phonemes).  They will be reading the decodable book Rain Day by Stephanie Paget and have an assessment sheet at the end.




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 fat, and today we are going to learn about long A and the how the pairing of ai makes the /A/ signal that is used to make A say its name, /A/. When I say /A/ I think of paint that was made. [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 lips spread apart making my mouth big. [Make vocal gesture for /A/.] I’ll show you first: pain. I heard a say its name and I felt my lips spread apart and my mouth open up [open your mouth separating your lips]. There is a long A in pain. Now I’m going to see if it’s in the word happy. Hmm, I didn’t hear a say its name. Now you try. If you hear /A/ say, “I make paint all day.” If you don’t hear /A/ say, “That’s not it.” Is it in snap, rain, pot, play, grain, lips?


3.   Say: Now let’s look at the spelling of /A/ that we’ll learn today.

 One way to spell /A/ is with the letters ai paired together. [Write ai on the board.] This blank line here means there is a consonant after ai, and at the end there is consonants too.  What if I want to spell the word gain? “When I get my allowance, I gain money.”  Gain means to increase in money in this sentence. To spell gain in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /g/ /A/ /n/. I need 3 boxes. I heard that /A/ just before the /n/ so I’m going to put an a in the box 2nd box and the i right beside it.  The word starts with /g/, that’s easy; I need a n. This is the last sound in the word, so it the /n/ goes in the last box.  I’m going to say it slowly, /g/ /A/ /n/. [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /g/ /A/ /n/.]


4.   Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some words in

letterboxes. You’ll start out easy with two boxes for aim. To aim is to shoot for a target.  Here is an example of it used in a sentence “When I shoot my bow, I aim the arrows at the target.”  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 that goes in the first box. Then listen for /A/, remember that it can be paired with i to make the /A/ sound.  Here’s the word: rain, It is going to rain today, so I brought my rain jacket. [Allow children to spell words.] Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: r – a i – n and see if you’ve spelled it the same way. Try another with three boxes: nail; I need a nail to hang up my painting. [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: ran; I ran to the store to get some candy. Did you need an i paired with the a? 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 4 phonemes: paint ; the paint made the room so bright. One more then we’re done with spelling, and this time you need five boxes: sprain; I could sprain my ankle if I accidently twist it running.  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 sprain on the top and model reading the word.] First I see that the ai are paired together that’s my signal that the vowel will say its name. There’s the vowel ai. 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//p/ = /sp/ + /r/ = /spr/. Now I’m going to blend that with /A/ = /sprA/. Now all I need is the end, /n/ = /sprAn/. Sprain; 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/: ai. Now we are going to read a book called Rain Day. This is a story of a boy named Jake and Nate.  They want to play outside very badly, but it is raining.  This means they can’t play outside.  What are they going to do?  Let’s read and find out. [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 Rain Day aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]

7. Say: That was a great story of how they made the rainy day fun! [Go through the comprehension questions at the end of the story together] Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /A/ = ai, I want to see how you can solve a reading problem. On this worksheet, we have some paint cans labeled with words containing ai.  They need to be colored green. Your job is to look at the paint buckets and decide which ones should be colored green. First try reading all the words on the paint buckets, then choose the buckets that should be colored green. Reread your answers to see if they make sense. [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.]


Worksheet: http://www.free-phonics-worksheets.com/html/phonics_worksheet_v2-01.html

Decodable Text- Rain Day:  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/teacherbooks.html

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