Learn the A or An rules while you dream up your perfect lunch with this free indefinite article lesson plan printable.
A or An lesson printable for children
NurtureStore makes learning fun! Turn an easy activity on when to use A or An into a memorable lesson with this ‘design the perfect lunch’ printable.
In this lesson children can:
:: learn when to use A or An
:: play an I-spy game to practice the rules
:: use the free My Lunchbag printable to make a cute little book to put the rules into practice
:: use addition links to brush up on their knowledge of vowels and word beginning sounds to support their learning
:: ‘My Lunchbag’ printable (see below for details on how to print)
:: pens or pencils
:: stapler or glue stick
What are vowels?
Before you can start to learn about when to use a or an, children need to understand about vowels and the beginning sounds of words.
You can use these activities to help practice these skills:
When to use a or an
A and an are indefinite articles. When we’re introducing this concept to children we can say we use a or an when we are talking about one person, thing, or place, but not a particular or special person, thing or place.
I can see a tree. Well, that’s nice but there are lots of trees and this one isn’t extra special.
If you wanted to talk about the special tree – the one you climbed yesterday or the tree that has very beautiful leaves – you would say I can see the tree. By using the definite article, the, we’re saying there’s something particular about this tree that we’re talking about.
If we’re talking in general about people, places or things, we need to use a or an – but which one?
Here’s the rule:
We use ‘an‘ before a word that starts with a vowel sound.
Everywhere else, we use ‘a‘.
It’s the sound at the beginning of the word that tells you whether to use a or an.
Most of the time it’s very easy to tell – they’re words that start with a vowel (a, e, i, o or u) – but some words, particularly ones that start with the letter h, can sound like they start with a vowel. If they do start with a vowel sound, you need to use an.
Consider hiccup and hour.
Hiccup starts with a hard h sound – not a vowel sound – so you would use a before it.
Hour starts with a soft h – it’s the vowel sound that we actually hear at the start of the word – so you would use an before it.
And with some words, like hotel, it depends on how you pronounce the word: a hotel or an hotel are both acceptable.
Play a quick round of I-spy with your children to recap the rules, saying what you can see in the room:
I spy a chair.
I spy a table.
I spy a pencil.
I spy an apple.
How to use the My Lunchbag printable
You can use the My Lunchbag printable as a fun way for your children to recap the A or An rules.
Print the lunchbag cards out: one set for each child. (See below for details on how to access the printable in the Literacy section of NurtureStore’s Free Printables Library.)
Ask your children what they like to eat for lunch. If they had a magic lunch bag that they could open up and find inside all their favourite foods, what would lunch look like?
A pizza, an ice cream, a hot dog, an apple and blackberry crumble with custard?
Have them complete the pages of the My Lunchbag book, drawing a differnt food on each page.
Have them write the name of the food underneath, correctly using a or an depending on what sound their food word begins with.
You can cut out the pages and put them together as a My Lunchbox book, fastening the pages together with a stapler or glue stick.
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