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A Snail in a Pail
Target text


Read and write words spelled with the -ai vowel combination.

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Lesson Plan

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Target Words:

  • snail
  • rail
  • pail
  • quail


  • A railing (or the tops of two back-to-back chairs to serve as a railing)
  • Snail graphic 
  • Small pail (or a pail made by stapling a paper handle on a paper cup)
  • Quail graphic 
  • Craft stick (optional)
  • A Snail in a Pail target text

State and Model the Objective
Tell the children that they will play with a pail, a snail, and a rail as they read and write words that end with -ail, such as snail, pail rail, quail, sail, and hail.

Literacy Activities
Set the snail in the pail

  • Find a rail and set the pail on the rail. Show how a rail is something you can hang on to if you need help or support standing or walking.
  • Have a quail sail over the rail. As the quail sails by the rail, it knocks over the pail. (Explain that quails are birds that like to run or walk but that they also fly, particularly when they get startled or frightened.)
  • Watch the pail and snail sail off the rail.

More Practice

  • Engage the children in shared and interactive reading of the A Snail in a Pail target text.
  • Engage the children in interactive writing to create a written version of the activity.

SEEL Target Texts

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A Snail in a Pail

I put a snail in a pail,
And I sat the pail on a rail.
Up sailed a quail and knocked over the pail.
The pail flew off the rail.
Goodbye pail.
Goodbye snail!



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1. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.1.3.B: Decode regularly spelled one-syllable words.
2. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.1.3.C: Know final -e and common vowel team conventions for representing long vowel sounds.