Eee, There’s a Spider!

A Beginning Reading Lesson

By: Trisha Daniel


Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence ee = /E/. In order to be able to read, children must learn to recognize the spellings that map word pronunciations. In this lesson children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling ee. They will learn a meaningful representation (man scared of spider saying Eee!), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence ee = /E/.


Graphic image of man scared of spider

Cover-up critter

Whiteboard or Smartboard

Elkonin boxes for modeling and individual Elkonin boxes for each student

Letter manipulatives for each student and magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher:

            b, c, d, e, e, h, k, l, p, r, s, t, w

List of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read:

            eel, bee, let, weed, tree, week, steep, creep

Decodable text Lee and the Team

Assessment worksheet 


1. Say: In order to become expert readers we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. We have already learned to read short vowel words with e, like bet, and today we are going to learn about long E and the double e signal that is used to make E say its name, /E/. When I say /E/ I think of a scared man saying “Eeee, there’s a spider!” [Show graphic image]. Now let’s look at the spelling of /E/ that we’ll learn today. One way to spell /E/ is with two of the letter e next to each other to tell me to say E’s name. [Write ee on the board. 

2. Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /E/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I listen for /E/ in words, I hear e say its name /E/ and my mouth stretches open wide like I’m smiling, like this. [Make vocal gesture for /E/.] I’ll show you first: cheese. I heard e say its name and I felt my mouth stretch open like a smile [demonstrate the wide mouth opening]. There is a long E in cheese. Now I’m going to see if it’s in help. Hmmm, I didn’t hear e say its name and my mouth didn’t stretch open like a smile. Now you try. If you hear /E/ say, “Eee, there’s a spider!.” If you don’t hear /E/ say, “That’s not it.” Is it in heel, blame, lift, greed, shot, fill? [Have children emphasize their mouth opening wide when they feel /E/ say its name].

3.What is I want to spell the word creep? “If I creep around the corner, no one will hear me coming.” Creep means to move slowly in this sentence. To spell creep in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /c/ /r/ /E/ /p/. I need 4 boxes. I heard that /E/ just before the /r/ so I’m going to put two e’s in the third box. The word starts with /c/, that’s easy; I need a c. Now I just need the ending sound so I’m going to sound out the word again, /c/ /r/ /E/ /p/ [point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word /c/ /r/ /E/ /p/]. Hmm, I hear a p, so I’ll put that in the last box to finish my word. Now I’ll show you how I would read a tough word. [Display poster with spleen on the top and model reading the word.] I’m going to start with the ee; that part says /E/. Now I’m going to put the beginning letters with it: s-p-l-ee_, /splE/. Now I’ll put the ending on it, /spleen/. Oh, spleen, like the organ in my body 

4. Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start out easy with two boxes for eel. An eel is an animal that lives in the ocean, “The eel swam past the coral reef.” What should go in the first box? [Respond to children’s answers.] Did you remember to use two e’s? What goes in the second box? I’ll check your spelling while I walk around the room. [Observe progress.] You’ll still only need two letterboxes for the next word. Listen for the beginning sound to spell in the first box. Then listen for /E/ and don’t forget to use two. Here’s the word: bee, There is a bee in the house; bee. [Allow children to spell remaining words: weed, tree, week, sheep, and creep.]

5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you’ve spelled. [Have children read words in unison. Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.]

6. Say: You’ve done a great job reading words with our new spelling for /E/: ee. Now we are going to read a book called Lee and the Team. This is a story of a boy named Lee who is on a baseball team. The day that they have a game the team is late; they are suppose to run to make it on time but they do not want to. Will Lee and his team make it to the baseball game on time? We’ll have to read to find out! Let’s pair up and take turns reading Lee and the Team to find out if the team will make it to the game. [Children pair up and take turns reading alternate pages to each other while teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads Lee and the Team aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.] 

7. Say: Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /E/ = ee, I want to see if you can identify the /E/ sound. On this worksheet, you will need to circle the words that make the same long vowel sound you hear in the word tree. You will need to find the words that have the spelling we learned today that make e say it’s name, /E/. [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.]

Assessment: Have children individually read part of Lee and the Team to you to mark their miscues and accurately assess their understanding of the new correspondence.


Assessment worksheet

Long E words

“Shrieking E’s” by Elisabeth Owen

Cushman, Sheila, Rona Kornblum, and Bob Brugger. Lee and the Team. Carson, CA: Educational Insights, 1990. Print.

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