EH?! What's that you said sonny?!


Candace Sanders


Beginning Reading


Rationale: Children should recognize the phonemes that are represented by letters in spoken words. Children need to be able to do so before they can match letters to phonemes. One part of this process is recognizing individual phonemes. In this lesson, children will learn to identify the phoneme /e/ and read words with the /e/ sound. The students will receive instruction in the decoding of short e words, as well as practicing spelling the words themselves.



-    Class set of Pen Pals (enough for each student and the teacher) Written by Shelia, Cushman. Carson, Ca. 1990. Educational Insights.

-    Chart paper with the tongue twister "Everybody saw Eddie enter the elevator with Ellen."

-    Overhead projector

-    Plastic baggies with letter tiles for each student (b, e, d, f, p, t, s, n, l, t)

-    Elkonin boxes for each student

-    Primary paper for each student

-    Pencil for each student

-    Word list for letterbox lesson: 3-jet, fed, beg, pen, dad, mat, pan 4-bled, yell, rent 5-blend, trend, stress



1. "Today we will be working with the mouth movement that helps us make the sound for the letter e. This is what the letter e looks like (write e on the board to give class a visual aid). This sounds like Eh; kind of like the sound someone makes when they cannot hear you." Model cupping your hand behind your ear while stretching out the /e/ sound. Tell the class to pretend like they are trying to hear what someone said while saying the /e/ sound.


2. "Now I want you to listen to this tongue twister as I read it, 'Everybody saw Eddie enter the elevator with Ellen'. Will you read it with me this time?" We will all read it together as I point to the words in the tongue twister. "Let's say the tongue twister one more time but this time every time you hear the /e/ sound, I want you to cup your hand around your ear as if you cannot hear. Good job! Now I want you to stretch out the /e/ sound every time you hear it. EEEEverybody saw eeeeddie eeeeenter the eeeeelevator with EEEEllen. Great Job!"


3. Read these words and call on students to tell you the answers to: "Do you hear /e/ in mess or hat? Kick or set? Dog or bent? Bed or go? Tent or fall?


4. "Now I need everyone to open up their plastic baggies with letters in them.  Turn them all so the letters are facing up.  Get your letter box and open it up as well." I am going to first model a word then we are going to do the rest together!  My word is bed.  Ok, I hear the /e/ (eh) in bed. I hear the sound /b/ before my /e/ so I will put the letter b in the first box then the letter e in the second.  Ok now, b-e-d-d-d. I heard /d/.  b-e-d.


5. Ok now you try with these words (Say them one at a time and walk around to observe the students): jet, fed, beg, pen, dad, mat, pan, bled, yell, rent, blend, trend, stress. If a child has misspelled a word, read the word as they have spelled it to see if they will self-correct their spelling.  If they cannot self-correct the spelling, then model the correct spelling for the child. Then, write the words on the board and have students read them.


6. We will then read Pen Pals. I will introduce the book by giving a book talk and saying: "This story is about a baby boy named Ben. He is in a play pen and starts to cry because his pet Ted cannot get inside the pen and Ben cannot get out of the pen. They are both very upset. You will have to keep reading to see if Ben and his pet Ted will ever be able to get to one another." Pass out books to the whole class and choose reading partners for everyone so they can read the story to one another. I will tell them to look for the words that have the /e/ sound in them.



Each child will read a list of pseudo words to see if they are able to decode the /e/ sounds in words. I will remind the students that these words are not real words but I want to see if they can figure out the silly words I have put together. The words they will read are: NEP, TEP, FEB, WES, GEC, SEB.



Cushman, Sheila. Pen Pals. Carson, CA. 1990. Educational Insights

Eh? Speak Up! By: Anna Lancaster



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