E's are E-E-E-Excellent
Design for Beginning Reading

By: Adrienne Boggs

In order for children to learn to read and write words they must have phoneme awareness. Phoneme awareness is the ability to recognize phonemes in the spoken language. Recognizing vowels in language poses as one of the most difficult phonemes for children to identify. This lesson will help give students a basic understanding of e=/e/ in reading text and writing words.

Chalkboard, chalk, chart with tongue twister written on it (Ed the elephant was excited about eggs), primary paper, pencils, a copy of Red Gets Fed for every student, flash cards with letterbox words written on them (end, bend, went, pest, spend) , Elkonin boxes for every student, letter manipulatives for ever student (e, n, d, b, w, t, p, s), overhead Elkonin boxes, and overhead letter manipulatives (e, n, d, b, w, t, p, s), overhead projector.


1. Start the lesson by writing the letter e on the chalkboard.  Does anyone know what this letter is? And what sound does it make? Well this is the letter e and it makes a sound like a creaky door.  R-e-e-e-e-e-e-d. (Model opening a creaky door while stretching out the /e/ sound.)  In a little while I want you to pretend like you are opening a creaky door while making the /e/ sound. Okay,

2. Take out the chart that you have your tongue twister written on and practice it with your students. I have a tongue twister for us to practice with. I am going to read it once and then I want all of us to read it together.  Ed the elephant was excited about eggs. Good. Now this time when we say it I want everyone to do their "creaky door" motion while we drag out all those e's. E-E-E-E-E-d the e-e-e-e-lephant was e-e-e-e-e-xcited about e-e-e-e-e-gs.  GOOD
3. Now you are going to assess the students' ability to hear /e/ in various spoken words. Now I am going to read you two words and I want you to tell me which one has that creaky door /e/ sound in it, alright? Do you hear /e/ in _____ or _____? The word choices are: blend or bad? good or ever? spend or rock? best or amount? Then have your students try and think of some of their own words that have /e/ in them.  Next, write them on the board and underline the e in each word. Finally, if they have any trouble coming up with their own words, have them look around the classroom for ideas and if they still are struggling offer some example words.

4. Now use the Elkonin boxes to do a class letterbox lesson. Hand out the letterbox sheets and the letters to each student and have them put the letters on the lower case side. The letters that they will need are: e, n, d, b, w, t, p, s. Put your letters and letterboxes on the overhead and model how to do a word.  Remind them that each letterbox stands for each individual sound not each individual letter. Now I am going to show you an example of what we are going to do.  Model for students how the LBL works.  Now, let's do the word end. She wanted to end the game. Let's see I hear /e/ first, what letter makes that sound? "e"  So e goes in the first letter box. Then I hear the /n/ sound so the letter n goes in my second letterbox and then I hear /d/ what letter makes that sound? "d" good job! Now everyone let's see if you all can do a couple of words.  Words:  3- (let, set), 4- (tend, shred, tent, help, dress), 5- (blend, spend, slept, stress). Read each word with a sentence that contains the word you are working on. Walk around the classroom and make sure each student is on task and knows what they are doing.  Give them a couple of minutes to figure out their letters and time to correct themselves. If a student has misspelled a word, repeat it to them just as they have spelled it and see if they can figure out what is wrong.  If they don't correct then give them the word. After each student is finished model the correct spelling on the overhead and move onto the next word.

 5. Next take out the flashcards with each of the letterbox words written on them and have the students read the word out to you. Now everyone tell me what this word says. Good Job! You are doing such a wonderful job recognizing the creaky door /e/ sound.

6. Next introduce the decodable book: Red Gets Fed.  Now we are all going to read Red Gets Fed. Have you ever had a pet that wanted to be fed all the time?  Well in this book, Red the dog begs everyone in his family for food.  Let's read to see if he gets fed.  Partner up students and allow them to take turns reading the book to each other

7. Have each student write a message about their favorite pet while you call each student to your desk one at a time to identify e's in spoken words.


To assess each student, I would have them come up individually and read three pages Red Gets Fed.  I will also test their ability to recognize the /e/sound.  While they are writing their message, I will have them come up to my desk and identify e's in spoken words so that way I can make sure they have a good understanding of the phoneme and grapheme.


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

Red Gets Fed,
Carson, Educational Insights.

Asbury, Sarah. http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insp/asburybr.html. "Icky Sticky Peanut Butter."

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