Say Cheese With /E/

Beginning Reading Design

Stephanie Pollak


For students to become successful readers, they must learn the skills needed to decode words accurately. It is important to teach students that some letter combinations can be the same sounds, such as ea and ee both make the long E sound. Students must understand that they have to put the different sounds made by letters together to form words that are pronounceable. This lesson will review the previously taught e = /e/ correspondence and introduce the new correspondence ee = /E/ through instruction, such as letterbox lessons, decodable text, and worksheets.



- Primary Paper

- Pencils

- Lee and the Team (one copy per student)

- Elkonin Letterboxes (one set per student)

- Letter tiles (one set (of needed letters) per student)

-Containing letters: b, d, e, e, f, h, j, k, l, n, p, r, s, t, z

- Overhead Projector

- Large Elkonin letterboxes on transparency (for the teacher)

- Dry erase marker (any color besides black)

- Large poster with tongue twister: Three sweet eels sleep in the green creek

- Worksheet for assessment (one per student)

-Containing words and pictures for each long /E/ word: wheel, sheep, green, tree, queen, street, and knee. Also have a few short /e/ words such as: wet, pen, net, and jet.




1. Review the short e sound e = /e/. "Class, remember when we learned about short /e/? What sound do you remember it makes? That's right! It does say Eeeeehhh! Short e sounds like someone who can't hear very well saying "Eeeeehhh!" We are going to review short e and see if you can hear it in different words. Just raise your hand when you hear the short e sound. Do you hear the short e sound in leg or log? Set or sat? Best or bad? Wet or dry? Good job! I hear the /e/ sound in leg, set, best, and wet.


2. Introduce the new correspondence. "Today we are going to learn about a different sound that e can make. We have learned about the sound short e makes but today we are learning about long E. When we put two e's next to each other it makes the long /E/ sound. Long /E/ sounds like someone is scared. I want everyone to pretend they are scared and say the long /E/ sound with me. Ready? Go! EEEEEEEEEE! Great job!

Long /E/ also makes me think of someone telling me to say CHEEEEESE, because when we say the long /e/ our mouths stretch back into a smile!


3. "Now I am going to show you a silly tongue twister: Three sweet eels sleep in the green creek. Now I want you to say it with me. Three sweet eels sleep in the green creek. Amazing job! Now this time I want you to stretch out the long /E/ sound! Threeeee sweeeet eeeels sleeeeep in the greeeeen creeeeek. Ms. Stephanie forgot what sound the long e makes, can you remind me? /E/! Excellent!!


4. Distribute the individual letterboxes and tiles to each student. The teacher uses her overhead projector and draws two letterboxes onto a transparency. "Now I am going to spell the word see. I can't remember if the two e's go together or if they go into their own box. What do you all think?" Call on a student to get an answer. "Good job! The two e's go together in one box and the s goes in the first box by itself!


Next we are going to try three boxes instead of two! I am going to spell seed, like when someone says 'I already planted the seed in the ground.' I am going to sound out the word seed. Sssssseeeeeddd. Oh! I hear the /E/ sound, which means we have two e's. The ee goes together in the 2nd box. I think I heard an /s/ sound, sssssseeeeeddd. I did hear the /s/ sound. Then the /s/ goes in the first box. The last sound I heard was, oh I forgot! Sssssseeeeeddd. Oh I hear /d/. The /d/ goes in the last letterbox."


Prior to saying the new word, make sure each student have the correct number of letterboxes out. Say each word and then give a good sentence that contains the word. Walk around and make sure that the students are correctly working on the letterboxes. Have one student come up to the projector and have them fill it out. If they get it correct, ask the students who had issues to raise their hands. Guide them as to how to correctly fill out the letterbox for that word. If the student who goes to the projector gets the word wrong, guide him and the class as to how to do it correctly.


Words: 2 – [bee, see], 3 – [free, jeep, set, feet, peek], 4- [speed, sled, sheet], 5 – [sneeze, breeze]


5. "Now we are going to read the story Lee and the Team. Before we read it I want to tell you something about Lee! Lee is on a team and they have a game to play. However, they are running late to the game and need to run to get there on time. Lee's team doesn't want to run to the game! I wonder if they are going to get there in time. You will have to read with your buddy to find out!" Have the students read with a partner in order to gain practice with reading long /E/.


6. Finally, for assessment, have a worksheet with different pictures of words containing ee and have the students match the picture to the written word on the page. You can also include some short /e/ pictures and words so that the students have to decipher which ones are short /e/ and which ones are long /E/




Cushman, Sheila.  (1990). Lee and the Team.  Carson, CA: Educational Insights.


Lesson Design: "Easy E Street" by Whitney Patterson


Return to Adventures Index