Smile, It's Time to Sleep!




Beginning Reading

Teri Crum



Rational: Students need to understand that phonemes are represented by graphemes.  The arrangement of the graphemes map out the spoken word and in order to help children through the process of gaining this understanding it is important to teach the correspondences, which is the grapheme and the phoneme.  This lesson will teach the correspondence that ee=/E/.   Students will learn how to form the vocal gesture, practice identifying /E/ in words using ee, and apply the correspondence in reading.

Materials:  Hand held mirrors; chart with "Three sweet bears are in a deep sleep down by the creek."; Elkin Letterboxes (one each per student and one each for the teacher) – 2 boxes and 6 boxes, letter tiles (a set per student and one teacher set): a, c, c, d, d, e, e, g, h, i, k, l, n, p, r, s, t, t, w; Time To Sleep (Henry Holt and Company, 1997) – teacher copy and one copy per two students; word chart: see, at, deed, three, sit, sleek, sweep, slept, creep, street, strength, screech; learning logs with primary paper and pencils; assessment: teacher clipboard with notecards for easy anecdotal record taking and worksheet selecting words and pictures that have same long vowel sound as tree. (URL below).

Procedures: 1. In learning other grapheme and phoneme correspondences we have learned that our written language has a special code.  We are going to learn a new code in this lesson.  We are going to learn how we move our mouth for /E/.  That ee represents /E/ in our written language.  The movement of our mouth almost opens like an open smile.  Our lips are separated and move out towards the sides.

2.  Let's pretend that we are going to get our pictures taken and we need to smile and let's practice vocalizing /E/ while we are smiling. [Give our hand held mirrors] Using your mirror notice how your mouth is moving when vocalizing /E/.  They are moving from being together in the center out towards the sides of your face.  Now let's compare how it looks when we form /e/. Notice that your mouth is open but not as wide and more in a smaller circle.  Before we go to our next activity, everyone practice vocalizing /E/ and looking at the movements once more in the mirror to make sure that you see and feel the difference of movements between /e/ and /E/.

3.  I will show you how to find the /E/ in the word green. I am going to exaggerate green by stretching it out in slow motion.  Watch for when my lips first begin to separate into a wide smile. Gg-rr-eeee-nn. Slower: Ggg-rrr-eeeeee-nnn. Did you feel it? On the third phoneme I noticed that my lips moved in a wide smile and my voice turned on a little stronger to produce the /E/ in the word green.

4.  [Already on chart] Now let's look at our chart.  I have a tongue tickler for us to try.  This is the tongue tickler, "Three sweet bears are in a deep sleep down by the creek."  Let's say it together and this time say it three times in a row.  Now let's say it again and this time we will say it only one time but I want us to stretch the /E/ in the words. "Threeeeee sweeeeeet bears are in a deeeeep sleeeeeep down by the creeeeek."

5.  Since we have practiced vocalizing and feeling the /E/, I want us to practice using our ee to represent /E/ in words on our letterboxes.  Each student should have their own letter boxes and your letter pool should be above your letterboxes on the table.  Make sure that your grapheme selection within your individual letter pool.  Before we get started, I am going to model for you with the word greet.  I will need four boxes. Greet, "They will greet you at the door." Greet.  As I think about this word, I hear the /E/ and know that it is represented by ee so I will put those in my box.  Remember when two graphemes represent one phoneme you put both letters in one box.  The onset that I hear is /g/ /r/ so I will place a g and an r before it and the last phoneme I hear is /t/ so I will place a t at the end.  So now in my box I have g r ee t for greet.  Now I am going to say some words, I will give you sentences to help with understanding and I wish for you to use your letterboxes and tiles to spell the words.  I will instruct you as to the number of letterboxes that you will need to use. I will go slow so that you have time to think and I will be observing each student during this activity and making brief notes. Words: 2-[see, at], 3-[deed, three, sit], 4-[sleek, sweep, slept, creep], 5-[street, strength, screech].  Letters: a, c, c, d, d, e, e, g, h, i, k, l, n, p, r, s, t, t, w.  After completing all the words, I will have them read a chart with the words that we used for the letterbox lesson for review.

6.  You are going to read Time To Sleep by Denise Fleming.  You will be assigned a buddy to read this story with so that you can help each other if needed. (Group higher readers with lower readers). Time To Sleep is about forest animals and how they sleep in the winter time.  For you to find out the animals that are in this story and how they sleep in the winter you will have to read the story.  When you finish reading the story, you may use your pencil and reading learning log (filled with primary paper) to write down words that are in the text that represent the /E/ using the graphemes ee.  I will be monitoring reading and writing while you work, so when I am beside you please just continue your reading or writing. I will have students read words aloud to the group that they found in the text that use ee for /E/. 

7.  Assessment:  [Worksheets and pencils] Children will complete the "What do you see?" worksheet.  They are to read the word list and circle the words that sound like the same long vowel you hear in tree.  This represents ee=/E/. Students will be observed during letterbox lesson for understanding and noted on anecdotal records for reading and application of ee=/E/ in letterbox lesson.  I will monitor for participation in reading the words aloud with the group and make notes accordingly.





          Murray, B.A., & Lesniak, T. (1999). The letterbox lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching and decoding.  The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.


Fleming, Denise. Time to Sleep. New York, Henry Holt and Company, Inc. c1997. unpaged.

York, Lyndsay. Meet Lee, the Sleepy Bee. Openings, 2003.    


Assessment Worksheet:


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