Learning -at with the Cat

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SWBAT substitute initial sounds to create new words. Student Objective: I can change the beginning sounds for words that end in -at and then make new words.

Big Idea

Dr. Seuss was famous for his rhyming books and children are entranced by his books. The book, The Cat in the Hat is a great way to introduce the -at word family.


10 minutes

Each day we meet at the classroom rug to begin our literacy block.  We talk about books that we have read and those which we will read.  In doing this, we can set the mood for the story and build on the children's prior knowledge so that they can glean more meaning from the story itself. For this lesson, I put on a tall stovepipe and join my students at the classroom rug. 

Children, when you see me in this tall hat, does it make you think about any storybook characters?  One of my favorite Dr. Seuss characters is the Cat in the Hat.  He tends to get into some mischief, but then he straightens everything out.  Take a second to listen to the title, The Cat in the Hat.  Does anyone notice anything interesting about the title?  Yes, cat and hat do rhyme.  This will be important for us to know later in today's lesson.  Right now, we will just listen to the story for enjoyment.


10 minutes

Studying word families is a logical and friendly way to study letter-sound correspondence and vowel patterns.  Here we are studying the word family -at.

With a show of hands, who has heard this story before? It has so many rhymes in it.  I never get tired of this book because it gives me an opportunity to teach the -at words family. 

Take a look at our board.  I have written a stack of the word -at.  In front of each of the words -at, I have written a blank.  We are going to fill in the blanks with different letters to build words that rhyme with at.  This will make a word family called -at.  Let's think about all the letters in the alphabet that we could put in front of "at".  I like to use the alphabet chart that we have on the wall to help me think of some of the letters that I could use.  Let's see..."b" in front will spell b-a-t, bat.  I'll write that down. "c" in front will spell c-a-t, cat, so I'll write that down.  "d" in front will spell d-a-t.  Hmmmm...is dat a real word? No, so I  won't write that. 

Continue going through the alphabet until you have exhausted your -at family words.  By going through each letter, the students can hear the nonsense words and the real words that could be formed.  I remind the class that for our list, we are only interested in the real words this time.

Let's read through our list one more time.  You will need to remember how to build these words when it comes to Word Work Center time.  There will be a hat-shaped worksheet for you to fill in with -at words. 

In this case, my students do not go immediately to the assessment piece. There is another mini lesson that I do at this time with our Zoophonics program before I send the children to our literacy stations.  Literacy station time is a forty-five minute block of language arts activities and small group time with me.  The children rotate through the stations over two days.


5 minutes

Part of our literacy block is a time when the children work independently at literacy stations. One of those stations is called Word Work.  This station focuses on the building of words. At the station today, the children will be making Cat in the Hat, -at hats. My students love making hats, so this activity is a great blend of project and word building. When the children come to me to staple their hats, I have them read their words to me.

 Now that you are working on Word Work, you will be making your own list of -at words on your hat worksheet.  When you are finished with your list, you will show it to me and I will check it over.  If I say that it is okay, you can color your stripes in a red/white/red/white pattern and get a sheet of red paper.  When you are done coloring, glue your hat to the red paper and cut it out.  Then the hat picture will be glued onto a sentence strip.  I will staple it in a circle to fit your head so that you can have your own Cat in the Hat -at Hat.

Students at work