Long a

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SWBAT spell, read, and sort words with long a and short a.

Big Idea

The students will learn about words that have long a in them. They will connect the word cake to their long a file in their memory.


5 minutes

Common Core Connection

This lesson lays the foundation in reading and phonics that make all of the higher order comprehension lessons possible.  It seems like at the beginning of the year these lessons are so beneficial.  I really go slow and develop a deep understanding of decoding skills that eventually help teach students to read fluently.

This lesson is about decoding because it centers on teaching student similar vowel patterns and allowing students practice with support reading new words. In order to support standards RF1.3a and RF1.2c, the lessons hits on two big things here: long a and sorting long vowels from short vowels.

Lesson Overview

In the guided practice the students generate all the long a words they can think of, and in the partner work the students sort words for the long vowel pattern ai, ay, a_e, and short a(CVC).

There are two big management strategies that make this lesson flow. I have a video on each: peanut butter jelly partner and transitions.

Introductory Activity 

I show them the picture of the cake.  I tell them cake has long a in it. We chant, "a as in cake." Then we watch a long a clip from Starfall.

I explain that we are learning about long vowels and long a says a.  They echo, "Long a says a."  This repitition keeps the goal in the focus of the lesson.  Everyone is engaged in repeating the phrase.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

I create a concept web (web) for long a.  In the middle I write long a. Then they have one minute to write all the words that they know that have long a on a post it.  So, I am assessing their prior knowledge here, and this also activates their thinking. 

Next, I allow them to share with their partner, so they can build upon what their peers know. Then, I ask a volunteer to share with the class.  We continue sharing until we have about twenty words. Then, I explain that there are several spelling patterns for long a.  Today we are going to study ai, ay, a_e, and short a. They have to echo each.  This makes sure they actually own the information.

Now, I share the information, "When ai are side by side the i often makes a say its name. In addition, ay has a y beside the a and that makes a say its name, and the y is silent. As for a_e the e is like a magic letter and it bounces over and makes a say its name. When vowels say their name we call this a long vowel."

Partner Work

15 minutes

In this section my students are given a precut word list to save time. The list I use is from a file called David and Regina Word Sorts my professor at Middle Tennessee State gave me, because the Making Words Website was down. We used the word sorts for intervention one summer. I love them and I often put the words on a sheet for spelling practice too. Here is a link to our spelling homework (long a phonics). This is where I get the words for the spelling test. Sometimes I even write the words on index cards and use them for the word sorts.

For this section the students have to read the words, spell the words, move them to the correct column, and write them in the correct column (long a partner work). Next, they read the words to their partner. I walk around and ask them to read them to me too.  Last, they write a sentence with the words (work sample 1).

Class Reflection

10 minutes

We meet on the lounge area and I allow two or three students to read their sentences. This allows them to work on their speaking and listening skills.  I also like to get them to comment on each others sentences and build upon what the previous presenter said. When the students evaluate each other's work they are supposed to give them academic feedback. For example, "I agree that 'tray' has a long a, and I would like to add that 'stay' also has the long a sound."

I do have a little chant I say before students present to each other, and sometimes the class says it with me. This chant promotes positive behavior. "Sit criss cross applesauce pockets on the floor, hands in your laps, talking no more. Our eyes are looking at the speaker. We are listening and thinking about how the speaker might improve their work."


5 minutes

Finally, I need to assess the students' mastery of long a patterns, so I ask them to write two words that they know have long a in them on a sticky note and place it on the Tweet Board. I stand by the board and comment on their work as they put it up.

I remind them that we are learning to read, spell, and use long a words in sentences.  I explain that we will continue to work with words with long vowels.  They chant, "I can read, spell and use long a words in a sentence."