Rocking Chair e
Anna Maner
Emergent Readers

Rationale:  In order for children to learn to spell words, they need the alphabetic insight that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words.  But before children can match letters to phonemes, they have to recognize phonemes.  The short vowels are probably the hardest phonemes to identify.  This lesson will help children identify /e/ (short e), one of the short vowels.  They will learn to recognize /e/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then finding /e/ in words.

Materials:  Primary paper and pencil; chart with “Eddie hoped that everybody everywhere was riding elephants.” class set of cards with e on one side and? on the other; drawing paper and crayons; Pen Pals (Educational Insights); picture page with bed, red, jet, wet, crept, swept, pet, test, rest, stress, teddy bear, shed, (Modern Curriculum Press Phonics, Level A).

Procedures:  1. A fun way to introduce the lesson is by explaining to the children that our written language is a secret code.  The hard part is figuring out what letters stand for ­the mouth moves we makes as we say words.  In today’s lesson we’re going to work on spotting the mouth move /e/.  /e/ may seem hidden in the words at first, but as you get to know it, you’ll have no trouble spotting /e/ in all kinds of words.  Get excited! 2. Ask students: Have you ever rocked in a rocking chair and say /e/, /e/?  Well, today that is the mouth move that we are going to look for in our words.  Let’s pretend we are rocking in an old rocking chair on our front porch on a hot sunny day and say /e/, /e/.  This is fun, lets do it again, /e/, /e/.
3. Are you ready for a challenge?  Let’s try a tongue twister [on chart].  “Eddie hoped that everybody everywhere was ridingelephants.”  Everybody say it three times together.  We are going to say it again, but this time, stretch the /e/ at the beginning of the words.  “EEEddie hoped that eeeverybody eeeverywhere was riding eeelephants.”  Let’s try it one more time, and this time break it off the word: “/e/ddie hoped that /e/veryone /e/verywhere was riding /e/lephants.”  Great job!
4. [Have students take out primary paper and pencil].  We can use letter e to spell /e/.  Let’s write it.  I will draw it first, so watch as I draw it.  Now it is your turn.  Draw a horizontal line (from left to right) in the middle of the fence and the sidewalk.  Go up to the fence and curve around down to the sidewalk, like you are making a lowercase c.  I want to see everybody’s e.  Once I have put a smile next to your e, I want you to make nine more just like it.  When you see letter e all by itself in a word, that’s the signal to say /e/.
5. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew- (be sure to model on first and give a sample dialogue): Do you hear /e/ in wet or dry?  Red or blue?  Bed or floor?  Mopped or swept?  Dog or pet?  [Pass out e/? card to each student.]  Say: Let’s see if you can spot the mouth move /e/ in some words.  Show me e if you hear /e/ and? if you don’t.  [Give words one by one] Eddie, hoped, that, everybody, everywhere, was, riding, elephants. [Note: hoped, that, was, riding, does not].
6. Teacher reads Pen Pals and discusses the story with the students.  Then read it a second time, and have students raise their hands when they hear words with /e/.  List their words on the board.  Then have each student draw an elephant and have him or her write a message about it using invented spelling.  Display his or her work on a bulletin board for everyone to see.
7. For assessment, distribute the picture page and help students’ name each picture.  Ask each student to circle the pictures whose names have /e/.

Reference: Metsala, L. and L. C. Ehri (Eds.) Word Recognition in Beginning Literacy. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Click here to return to Breakthroughs

Questions? Email me for answers.