Three Letter 'a' words as in 'cat'

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 When a child first enters a teacher's care they have a reasonable vocabulary and they are using most of the sounds that we use in the  english language. What they can't do  is break words into the individual sounds and to write the representation for each particular sound.

The word reservoirs are not a prescriptive list  of words that children need to know. Rather they are a list of words from which you can choose appropriate examples of sounds that need to be taught. For example if we choose to word  'at' we are in fact teaching  the representation of two sounds the 'a' and the 't'. If a child can identify  the two letters in 'at', they have the basis of identifying  the  representation of the three sounds in the word  'cat'.  Therefore, when I teach 'cat', I am reviewing the word 'at'.  I will draw attention to the word by asking the  children  if they can see a word that we've talked about before in the word 'cat'.

 A lot of teaching schemes begin with the word 'sat' but I prefer to start with 'cat'. My reason is that many children with learning difficulties, use the first and the last sounds as a clue to the word. With the word 'sat' there are also 'sit' and 'set'  and I find  that if I have a simple sentence that uses 'set' or 'sit' then they will opt for the word 'sat'. It takes a little longer to get the comprehension of those words because of their similarity. Teaching children with learning difficulties can be very precarious and I seek to minimise the difficulties.  In the example  given in the previous paragraph I am actually encouraging the  children to look at middle sounds. A simple principle for making of list size and words is to keep them small enough for students to be able to remember them.

Words for using with children to consolidate memory or check understanding of letter sounds.  
abs act add ago amp
an and ant apt as
ass at bad
bag  ban 
bat  cab cad   can  cap
cat dab dad dam fad 
fan fat fax   gad  gag


 had  hag  ham  has
hat  jab jam 


lag lap  lax ma ma
map mat nag nap  pad
 pan  pat




rat sad









  Letters taught or tested and checked:




When a child understands the phonogram, the reproduction of three letter words that the child has not heard should be quite straightforward.

The only difficulty is a word where a letter is repeated like 'add'. With the word 'add'  only two sounds are clear and if the word is unknown a child could easily write 'ad'.  In this case knowledge of the word itself is important