EEEEE! It’s a Rat!



A Beginning Reading Lesson

Tori Hunsucker



Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence ee = /E/. In order for students to become phonemically aware, they have to learn how to recognize all correspondences, which will also help them, learn how 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 this correspondence by learning a representation of a girl screaming EEEE, showing the sound that EEE makes when it is pronounced. They will also perform a letterbox lesson and read a decodable text.


Materials: Graphic image of a scared girl; Elkonin boxes for modeling and individual Elkonin boxes for each student; letter manipulatives for each child: e, a, d, n, b, e, f, d, c, h, k, y, s; decodable text: The Bee and the Flea by Cheryl Ryan and assessment worksheet. 




1. Say: By learning different correspondences, you will learn the map of how to pronounce words. We have already learned to read short vowel words like bed with the short e sound. Now we are going to learn about long e and more specifically the sound that two e’s make together like in feed or beet. When you think of the sound that ee makes, I want you to think of a scared girl saying, “EEEEE, a mouse”! [show graphic image]. There are many different spellings of /E/, but today we are going to focus on words that are spelled with ee. So remember when you see two e’s together you are going to make the sound that you would make if you saw a mouse, “EEEEEE”!


       2. Say: Now I want you all to get comfortable with hearing /E/ in words. Listen to me say a few words that have the long vowel E. When I say these words listen for me saying, “EEEE like I saw a mouse”. Here we go, “beep, feed, bee, and sleep”, did you see how I said /E/ in all those words? I said, “b/ee/p”, bbbb, eeeeee, pppp. Now I want you all to raise your hand if you hear me say the long E sound in a word, elephant, screech, medic, eel, agree, eat, and tree. “Great Job, guys”! Notice that every time I use the long vowel E, I am pronouncing the name E and when I use other words that use the short vowel e, e does not say it’s name.


3. What if I want to spell the word feed? If I feed the dog, he will stop barking.

          Feed means to give food to the dog in the sentence. To spell feed in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word. To know this, I need to stretch it out and pronounce it slowly: /f/ee/d. I need 3 boxes. I heard that /f/ just before the /E/ so I’m going to put an  f in the 1st box, e in the second box, but it will be two e’s because they act as one sound, and d in the last box. Make sure you stretch your words out because some letters will act as one sound. For example the word feed, /f/ee/d. There are four letters, but only three sounds. Let’s do a more difficult word like screech. First stretch the word out, s-c-r-ee-ch. In this word, there are two sets of letters that each act as one sound. Ssssss ccccc eeeee chhhh. You see I said the s sound, the c sound, and the two e’s together, then lastly I pronounced the ch together as one sound. For my letterbox I would put the s in the first box, the c in the second box, the r in the third box, the ee in the fourth box, and then lastly the ch in the last box.


4. Say: Now I want you to put some words in a letterbox. I want to start with a review word first. Everyone spell end. Now we will move on to our new correspondence. You’ll start out easy with bee. A bee is a bug that flies around and produces honey, “As I was sitting under the tree, a bee flew by me.” Now I want you to count how many phonemes are in the word bee. Say the word bee slowly, bbbbbb eeeee. What should go in the first box? [Respond to children’s answers]. The b would go into the first box. What goes in the second box? Make sure that you say it slowly and put letters together that act as one sound. Both e’s would go into the second box because they act as one sound. I will walk around and check spelling. [Observe progress.] You’ll need three letterboxes for the next word. The next word is feed. Listen for the beginning sound to spell in the first box. Then listen for /E/ and don’t forget to put letters together that act as one sound.  Now try the words, feed, beet, cheek, tree, and screech. 


5. Say: Now I want you all to read the words that you spelled in the letterbox lesson. I want you to read the first three words in unison. Great Job Students! Now I will call on individuals to read out the rest of the words. 


6. Say: I cannot believe how great you all have done by spelling and reading out words with the correspondence /E/. Now we are going to read a book called The Bee and The Flea. This is a story of a bee and a flea. The flea was not like any other flea. He did not like to do anything that other flies liked to do. One day the flea was eating nectar out of a flower, which bees only do and suddenly a bee caught him and took him to the queen bee. To figure out what happens when the Queen Bee finds out that the flea was eating nectar out of their flower, we will have to read the whole story. Let’s read as a group and take turns reading The Bee and The Flea to find out what happens to the flea. [Children take turns reading alternate pages each while teacher listens. After they read the book once, we will read it again so that everyone can have a chance to read. We will then read it one more time, but only I will read it and we will discuss plot.] 


7. Say: Our lesson is almost over, but I want you all to complete a worksheet to show me how much you know and understand the letter E. This worksheet will show pictures and words that contain the long vowel /E/. I want you to look at each picture and match the picture with the word. All the words have the long vowel /e/ in it, but some have the double e’s that we focused on today. In order to do well on this worksheet, you will need to sound out each word and match the word with the picture that describes each word. When you find the word and the picture that matches, you need to copy the word underneath the correct picture. Remember each word will say the sound that you would say if a scared girl just saw a mouse. I will let you all work on this worksheet and I will walk around and help whoever needs help.



Bradley, Alison. (2004) Excellent E! Reading Genie:

Assessment worksheet:

Ryan, Cheryl. The Bee and the Flea

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