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Teacher Feature

I Hear an "A"


In this activity, students will use the Michigan quarter reverse design in identifying the long "a" sound (a).


Give your students a photocopy of the Michigan quarter reverse.  Have students closely look at the words "Great Lakes State" that appear on this coin.  Read these words aloud with your students.  Ask them what sounds these three words have in common and guide them to hear the ā sound in each word by noting that they hear the name of the letter "a" in each word.

Give each student an "I Hear an 'A'" worksheet.  Model for the class how to use this worksheet by orally identifying the first picture, saying it aloud, and listening for the ā sound.  As a class, orally identify the next picture on the page and asks students to raise their hands if they hear the ā sound.  Have students circle the picture of any word containing the ā sound.  As a class, orally identify the remainder of the pictures on the page.  Have students work independently by saying the name of the picture, identifying whether or not the ā sound can be heard, and circling the pictures where they hear the ā sound.  When students have finished, read aloud each word and have students raise their hand if that word is circled on their paper.


Create a center where ten classroom objects are labeled.  On a piece of paper, have the students write (or draw) only the objects that have the ā sound.  Write the "a" symbol on an index card and attach it to the back of the objects that have the ā sound.  Have students check their work by looking at the back of each object.


The project described above reflects some of the national standards of learning as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), and the International Society for Technology in Education.  These standards are listed below:

Language Arts Standards

Demonstrate competence in the general skills and strategies of the reading process.  Students will gain experience identifying the ā sound both visually and orally.

Demonstrate competence in speaking and listening as tools for learning.  Students will listen to words read aloud in order to accurately identify words having the long "a" sound.

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