The Long ‘A’ Sound – A Phonics and Spelling Unit for Years 1-4


Summary of Unit of Work:

Hey! I made a great lesson to explain the long ‘a’, which you can save for a rainy day.

The above sentence has 5 different spelling variations of the long a sound. Students have begun to realise that the sounds they hear in words connect to letters which they write on the page to make words. Unfortunately with the English language there are 26 letters which make approximately 44 sounds and over 200 letter combinations.

This unit of work looks at the long a sound /ā/ and the many spelling variations connected to this sound. It gives levelled spelling lists which can be used in testing situations or for a variety of different spelling activities.

Australian Curriculum Links:


Level Three

  • Orally manipulate more complex sounds in spoken words through knowledge of blending and segmenting sounds, phoneme deletion and substitution in combination with use of letters in reading and writing (ACELA1474 – Scootle )
  • Understand how to use knowledge of digraphs, long vowels, blends and silent letters to spell one and two syllable words including some compound words (ACELA1471 – Scootle )
  • Build morphemic word families using knowledge of prefixes and suffixes (ACELA1472 – Scootle )
  • Use knowledge of letter patterns and morphemes to read and write high-frequency words and words whose spelling is not predictable from their sounds (ACELA1823 – Scootle )
  • Use most letter-sound matches including vowel digraphs, less common long vowel patterns, letter clusters and silent letters when reading and writing words of one or more syllable (ACELA1824 – Scootle )

Level Four

  • Understand how to use letter-sound relationships and less common letter patterns to spell words (ACELA1485 – Scootle )
  • Recognise and know how to write most high frequency words including some homophones (ACELA1486 – Scootle )
  • Understand how to apply knowledge of letter-sound relationships, syllables, and blending and segmenting to fluently read and write multisyllabic words with more complex letter patterns (ACELA1826 – Scootle )
  • Know how to use common prefixes and suffixes, and generalisations for adding a suffix to a base word (ACELA1827 – Scootle )

Learning Intentions:

  1. To recognise the long a sound in a word and begin to connect the letters to correctly spell the word.
  2. To hear the phoneme /ā/ in words and connect the phoneme to the right graphemes.

Success Criteria:

I can:

  • hear the long a sound in words.
  • hear the long a sound at the end of the word and use ay to represent the long a sound.
  • hear the long a sound at the end of the word ‘they’ and remember it is spelt they.
  • hear the long a sound in the middle of the word and know most of the time I will need to use the letters ai or a…e to represent the sound.
  • name one spelling generalisation which represents the long a sound.

Unit Overview:

Lesson Progression – using attached PowerPoint

  • Slide 1 – Title page
  • Slide 2 – Learning Intentions and Success Criteria
  • Slide 3 – Brief introduction – graphemes, phonemes, spelling generalisations. Base words
  • Slide 4 – hear sound – connect letters to sound – spell word
  • Slide 5 – CVC words activity
  • Slide 6 – Short a and long a sound
  • Slide 7 – Hearing the long a sound in words activity
  • Slide 8 – Different spelling variations of the long a sound
  • Slide 9 –  Activity – brainstorm words for the different spelling variations
  • Slide 10 –  Word Lists ay, ai, a…e
  • Slide 11 – Word lists eigh, ea, ei, ey, e, ae, aigh
  • Slide 12 – Spelling generalisations
  • Slide 13 – ay generalisation and levelled spelling list
  • Slide 14 – a…e levelled spelling list
  • Slide 15 – ai – video and levelled spelling list
  • Slide 16 – a, ey, aigh, ea, eigh, e ae, e…e
  • Slide 17 – spelling strategies
  • Slide 18 – re-reading the words you spell
  • Slide 19 – Australian Curriculum Outcomes

Assessment Ideas:

  • Spelling test using levelled spelling lists
  • Oxford Word Lists


Download all of the unit-related resources below:

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