Cat Nap - Tip Sheet


Cat Nap - Teacher Tip Sheet

Yellow Series - Book 1 - Cat Nap

Grapheme/Phoneme Correspondence

Tips and Activities to Try

Introduced in This Book

  • short <a >/ă/, short <o >/ŏ/
  • <c >/k/, <g >/g/, <s >/s/ unvoiced, <d >/d/, <h >/h/, <m >/m/, <n >/n/, <p >/p/, <t >/t/

Note: Specific ideas for teaching and consolidation activities can be found in our Grapheme/Phoneme Corresponence Background Information Sheet.

Key Concepts to Understand

  • /m/ and /n/ are nasal phonemes, which means the air stream created during articulation is directed through the nasal cavity - nasal phonemes are fun to explore, because the sound stops when you plug your nose
  • nasal phonemes can also change the sound of the preceding vowel - be aware of this when reading and writing words that contain <an >and <am >- if your students are not ready for this - save these words for later lessons
  • be aware of “stop phonemes” and “continuous phonemes” when having students read and spell words - blending from a stop phoneme to a vowel can be difficult, so it is a good idea to start with continuous phonemes

Words and Phrases for Reading and Writing

Here is a list of words that can be used for phonemic awareness activities, reading, dictation, games cards, etc.:

  • at, cat, nap, sat, dad, sap, had, tap, sad, gap, mad, hat, an, man, pan, tan, can, am, ham, on, cot, hot, hop, dot, nod, dog, hog, mop, pot, sod

Here is a word chain you could complete with blending cards:

  • mat → map → mop→ top→ tap→ tad → dad → sad → sat → pat → pot → hot → got → not → cot → cat

Here are phrases that can be used for reading and/or dictation practice. These phrases can be combined to create sentences.

Noun Phrases

Verb Phrases

Prepositional Phrases

a cat

can hop

on a mat

a sad dog

got mad

at a tap

a tan cat

got on top

on a hot pot

a map

can sit

on a cot


You can differentiate for your students by dropping some of the words in these phases (e.g., “went to the mall” can just be “went”).


Orthographic Conventions/Patterns and Generalisations

Tips and Activities to Try

  • short vowel sounds in closed syllables
  • <c >as default grapheme for /k/

Key Concepts to Understand

  • closed syllables have a single vowel that is followed by one or more consonants - the vowel usually makes its short sound
  • we use <c >to represent /k/ unless it is followed by an <e >, <i >or <y >(then it is pronounced as /s/), or when /k/ is found at the end of a base (e.g., milk, bank, sick)
  • some words such as kangaroo , kayak , etc., are not full English words, and therefore do not follow this convention
  • when teaching <c >/k/, be careful to stay away from phases like “<c >says /k/”, because <c >also represents other phonemes and can be part of other digraphs such as in s ch ool, sc ience, and ba ck

Activities to Try

  • students need practice recognizing and reading words with short vowels - here are some consolidation activities:
    • Sticky Note Pile Up: have students become detectives and look for closed syllable words on classroom displays, on signs in the school, in books, etc. - write the words they find on sticky notes and place on an anchor chart
    • Word Sorts: to begin with, the teacher can create the sorts, then have students create their own - the purpose of sorts is to help students see what closed syllables are, and what they are not
    • More Ideas:

Punctuation/Text Features

Tips and Activities to Try

  • concept of phrase and sentence
  • period at end of complete sentence
  • exclamation mark
  • capitalization of proper nouns

Key Concepts to Understand

  • a complete sentence contains a subject and a predicate:
    • subject: the what (or who) the sentence is about
    • predicate: what the subject is doing/what the subject is being
  • a complete sentence must always end in punctuation
  • when we see an exclamation mark, we need to read the sentence in an emphatic way
  • proper nouns (a noun for a particular person, place or thing) are capitalized

High Frequency Words

Tips and Activities to Try

  • “a” (<a> typically pronounced as a schwa)

Key Concepts to Understand

  • the word a is usually pronounced with a “schwa” (unstressed vowel sound), rather than a short /ă/ or long /ā/
  • English is a stress timed language (review concept from Grapheme/Phoneme Background Sheet)
  • unstressed syllables are often reduced (not as clearly articulated or emphasized)
  • vowels in unstressed syllables are pronounced as a schwa
  • a is a function word - function words are defined as words that have a grammatical purpose/specify grammatical relations, as opposed to content words such as nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs which have a distinct meaning
  • function words are often unstressed in a phrase or sentence, thus are pronounced with a schwa

Activities to Try

  • Have students explore the concept of stressed and unstressed words and syllables by saying simple sentences. For instance, say the sentence, “I have to go to a doctor” and have students repeat, stressing every word (like a robot). Repeat the sentence with natural stress and intonation. Hearing the contrast helps students notice that we tend to stress I , go, and doctor , while the have to and to a , squish together and are said quickly and are unstressed.

Comprehension Corner - Cat Nap

Vocabulary Development

  • What is a nap ?
  • Do you like to take naps?
  • Is a nap different from going to sleep at night?
  • Do you have a pet that likes to take naps?

Making Connections

  • Do you have a pet?
  • Does your pet have a favourite human?


  • Why do you think Dad is sad?
  • Does Dad stay sad?


  • Can you retell the story?
  • Do you think “Cat Nap” is a good title for this book? Why or why not?


Tip Sheet written by Shari Kudsia and Helen Maclean - April 2023 - © SyllaSense Inc.