ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Teach the Long a to Young Kids

Updated on March 10, 2015
Felisa Daskeo profile image

I am a certified teacher and had been teaching for more than 30 years. My hubs sum up all my knowledge about education. See you around.

The word cake is pronounced with a long a.

The Long a Sound:

I am going to discuss the long vowel sound today. The long vowel sound is very confusing to young kids so you have to concentrate on a few vowel sounds first for a start. They will learn the other long vowel sounds when they go to the higher grades.

Let’s start with long a, sounded as ey.

To make the lesson simple for the young kids, concentrate only in words with ay, ai and words with e at the end.

Words with ay, ai and e at the end of the word sounded as long a.

All these words have long a sound. There are words that sound the same but they have different spelling and meaning. This makes the lesson more confusing. You have to provide various activities in order for the kids to understand the lesson.

This is hard for the young kids because it is their first time to learn about the long vowel sound. What is more confusing is that there are many long a words that sound the same but they have different meaning and spelling.

Kids Love Fun Learning:

Here are some examples:

  • pail – pale
  • mail – male
  • sail – sale
  • bail – bale
  • tail – tale

How can you teach these words to the children without confusing them?

Simple, do not teach yet the homonyms. These words can be taught but not in pairs to avoid confusing the young kids. You can plan how to teach the words with long a sound to the children so that teaching will be more effective.

For example:

Teach the word with ay today; then the ai family the next day, then the word with e at the end on the next day. This way, the children will not be confused and they will be able to absorb the lesson..

Activities for long a:


Reading will be more fun for the kids if they can understand what they are reading and they know how to read the words. The first thing that you should the kids is how they should read long a. You can do this by writing the words and explaining how the vowel digraphs are pronounced. If the children understand the sounds then naturally they can read the words.

When you have explained everything to the children, that's the time you let them read. Reading could be done either in groups or individually or both. This depends upon how effective the methods are in your class.


You can let the children copy words with long a, phrases or sentences. All of these are helpful in lesson enhancement. Because as the children copy the words, the better the retention.

Reciting Rhymes or Poems

Long a words are easy to rhyme. You can create your own rhyme or poem for the children to recite. Rhymes and poems help children become fluent in pronouncing the words. This will enhance their reading skills and retention.

Reciting rhymes and poems is repeating the words. When you keep reciting the rhyme or poem, the children's tongue will be trained to pronounce the words properly.

Fun Games

Games can enhance learning and at the same time allow the children to socialize, play and work with their classmates. Every child loves and enjoys games because it is like playing. When you make learning like playing, the children will actively participate which will boost learning.

Story Time:

You can have fun with stories with the kids. But it is always better if the children can read the story themselves and understand it. Of course, this could be effective only if you guide them and explain what the story is about.

To the children who are not English speaking, they will not understand the story in one reading so it is up for you to make them understand.

The Maid with a Pail

A maid was carrying a pail on her head. The pail is big and it is heavy.

The maid said, “I will put down the pail on the ground and rest.”

So the maid put down the pail on the ground and sat down to rest.

Soon a male with a cane came. The male said, “What’s in your pail dear pretty maid?”

The maid said, “It’s paint. I will paint my little house today.”

The male with a cane said, “I wonder if I can have some of your paint.”

“Why, yes,” said the maid and gave some paint to the male with a cane.

Remember to always ask questions about the story after reading the story. It is also advisable to let the children read the story since it is very simple.

Here are sample worksheets:

1. Choose the correct word that completes the sentence. Write the word in the blank.

(play – pray) 1. I _____________ with my friends in the park.

(say – stay) 2. I _____________ good words to others.

(pay – day) 3. I have a good __________________ in school.

(tray – may) 4. The glasses are on the ___________________.

(bay – way) 5. Please help me find my _______________ home.

Guide the children to read the sentences and choose the correct answer because it is their first time to do the exercises. I’m sure the children can answer the exercises if you read with them.

2. Choose the word from the list below. Write the correct word in the blank.

pail mail tail sail jail

  1. I will ____________ the letter to mother.
  2. The cat has a long _________________.
  3. The bad man is in ________________.
  4. The boat has _________________.
  5. The water is in the big _________________.

Make the sentences simple so that the children can read and understand them. That makes it easier for them to learn the lesson better.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.