Ehhhh???    I Can't Hear You!





Emergent Literacy

E-mail: Carrie Sluder





To become readerβs children must understand the concept of our alphabet. An understanding of the alphabet entails knowledge that letters are representations of phonemes and the spelling of a word maps out the phonemes from oral language. Before children can understand the correlation between phonemes in spoken works and their corresponding letters or mappings the student must first be able to recognize phonemes in their oral contexts. Short vowels which do not carry the Ξletter-nameβ are some of the most difficult phonemes for students to identify. My lesson will address the short vowel e. The students will be able to identify /e/ in spoken words. A correlating letter symbol and several meaningful representations, and practice finding the /e/ in its spoken environment will facilitate this knowledge.



Primary paper, pencils, Peg the Hen book available from, sheet/chart paper






*    Introduce the lesson by explaining that our written language is a secret code and in order to crack the code we need to learn what letter stand for the mouth moves we make when we speak. Today we are going to look for the mouth move /e/. /e/ is found in many words but sometimes it's difficult to find but as we practice we will become experts at spotting /e/ in lots of different words.

*    Ask the students: Have you ever heard anyone go /e/ (make the "I can't hear you" motion by cupping your hand around your ear) because they could not hear something? This is the mouth move we are looking for in words today. Let's practice! Turn toward you neighbor and act like you can't hear them and go /e/. Now let's try spotting /e/ in a word. We'll use the word red. You have to stretch the word out as you say it. Re-e-e-e-ed. Try it with me: re-e-e-ed. Did you hear the /e/ in the middle of the word?

*    Let's try a tongue twister: From the chart read "Ed the elephant saw Eddie the Eskimo enter the elevator." Everybody say it three times together. Let's say it again, but this time stretch the /e/ at the beginning of the word. Eeeed the eeelephant saw Eeeeddie the eeeeskimo eeeenter the eeeelevator. This time try to break it off the word. /e/ d the /e/ lephant saw /e/ ddie the /e/ skimo /e/ nter the /e/ levator.

*    Have students take out their primary paper and a pencil. Tell them that we can use the letter e to spell the mouth move /e/. The letter e is close to the letter c. To write an e we will draw a line in the knee area then just like c we will ride the broken rollercoaster around the loop. Model this for the class. Have everyone practice writing an e on their paper. Tell then you want to see all their wonderful e's. After you have put a sticker on their e tell them you want them to make nine more just like it. Be sure to remind/enforce that when you see the letter e all by itself in a word that is your signal to say /e/.

*    Spotting the mouth move: Call on students to choose the word where they here /e/ and ask them to explain how they knew which word to choose. Do you hear /e/ in ten or five? Then or now? Wren or bird? Leg or arm? Tell or ask? Now let's see if you can spot the mouth move in our Elephant Ed sentences. If you hear /e/ in a word make the "I Can't Hear You" motion. Read the whole sentence then give words one by one. Elephant Ed says:  Nell is swell because she can spell. Elephant Ed says: Kent went to pay his rent. Elephant Ed says: When Ken was ten his friend Ben bought him a pen.

*    Read Peg the Hen and discuss the story. Re-read it again slowly and have students do the "I Can't Hear You" motion when they hear words with the /e/ sound. List the words on the board. When finished reading review them. Give each student a large sheet of paper and have them illustrate their favorite, funniest·.. part of the story and write about it using invented spelling. Either have them share their work with the class or display it on the wall.

*    Assessment: Give the children a page with pictures and identify each picture. Ask the students to write the letter e below the pictures whose name contain /e/.




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