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Don't Stray or Go Away
Target text


Read and write words that end with the long a vowel pattern –ay.

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Lesson Plan

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Target Words:

  • stay
  • way
  • may
  • stray
  • sway
  • away
  • subway


  • Word cards 
  • Signs 
  • Railway, highway, subway, and runway graphics 
  • Tape or chairs
  • Don’t Go Away target text 
  • I’ll Show You the Way target text 
  • Which Way? target text 

State and Model the Objective
Tell the children that today they will walk different ways and they will read and write words with the long a vowel pattern –ay such as spray, stay, clay, pay, may, and day.

Literacy Activities
Say which pathway to take

  • Set up 4 paths using tape or chairs and place one sign at the beginning of each path.
  • Show the children the pathways and help them read the signs. Use the graphics to explain that a subway is a tunnel that goes underground, a runway is a road where planes take off and land, a railway is a track for trains, and a highway is a road for cars.
  • Let the children choose a word card and tell them that the card will say which pathway to take.
  • Have the children choose the pathway that matches the word on the card or have them stay where they are if the word card says, “stay.” Repeat with the other word cards.

Say which way to go to play

  • Lead the children along a pretend pathway to a playground, giving directions telling children which way to go as they walk around the room.
  • Use phrases such as the following throughout the activity, emphasizing words spelled with -ay:
    • Walk this way and that way.
    • Sway this way and that way.
    • Stay away from that chair blocking the pathway.
    • Do not stray from the pathway.
    • We found the way to the playground! Now we can play!
  • Help the children make a list of words from the activity spelled with –ay (i.e., way, sway, away, pathway, stray, play).

Play a game

(similar to Mother May I)

  • Have the children line up on one end of the room while you stand at the other end.
  • Give directions to the children telling them which way to walk (e.g., You may walk this way with 2 big steps. You may walk this way with 4 baby steps. You may walk this way with 3 scissor steps. You may walk this way with 1 backward step. You may walk this way and sway with 5 steps).
  • Have the children ask, “May I?” then respond with “Yes you may” and allow them to walk towards you according to the directions or respond with “No, you may stay” and have them stay.
  • If the children forget to ask “May I?” before they begin walking, have them go back to the beginning.

More Practice
Read target words in texts

  • Engage the children in reading the target text Don’t Go Away together with the group.
  • Have the children make a list of the words that end with –ay.
  • Read the text again fading support.
  • Repeat with the target text I’ll Show You the Way or Which Way? 

Write about the activity using target words/patterns

  • Give each child a paper and pencil and let them write words from dictation such as spray, stay, clay, day, lay, clay, gray, may, pay, say, way, or sway.
  • Let them write about what they did during the activity using these words.

SEEL Target Texts

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Don't Go Away

Don’t go away!
It’s okay to stay.
Stay and play.
Stay all day.
We can play the way you want to play.
That’s okay with me!
Stay and play.

I'll Show You the Way

What a day!
It's a sunny day, not a gray day.
Let’s go play on the playground.
I’ll show you the way to the playground.
I’ll say which way to go.
Go this way.
Stay on the pathway.
Don’t stray.
Yes, that’s the way!
That’s the playground!
Now we can play
Let’s not go away.
Let’s stay and play all day!

Which Way

We see signs that say which pathway to take.
We can take the pathway to the subway.
We can take the pathway to the runway.
We can take the pathway to the highway.
We can take the pathway to the railway.
Which way should we go?
Let’s stay away from the pathways and go to the playground instead.
We can stay at the playground and play all day!



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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.