Open the Door
Emergent Literacy Design
Rationale: Children need to understand that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words in order to learn to read and spell words. Children have to be able to recognize phonemes in spoken words before they can recognize them in written words. Short vowels are extremely difficult phonemes to identify. This lesson will help children identify the /e/ (short e). They will recognize /e/ in spoken words by learning a memorable representation and a letter symbol, and then practice finding /e/ in words.
Materials: Paper and pencil; chart with “Eddie’s elephant entered the elevator.”, paper and crayons, Pen Pals, picture page with red, hen, and, pet, rash, end, pen, yell, get, Ted, Ben, nest.
1. Introduce the lesson by explaining our language is a written code. The hard part is knowing what the letters stand for, or the mouth moves we make when we say words. Today we are going to work on spotting the mouth move /e/.
2.Ask students: Did you ever hear a creaky door’s /e/? That’s the mouth move we’re looking for in words. Let’s pretend to open the creaky door and say /e/. (Open an imaginary door.) Open your door: /e/.
3.Let’s try a tongue twister (on chart). “Eddie’s elephant entered the elevator.” Everyone say that three times together. Now say it again and stretch the /e/ sound at the beginning of the words. “Eeedie’s eeelephant eeentered the eeelevator.” Try it again, and now break off the words: “/e/ddie’s /e/lephant /e/ntered the /e/levator.”
4. (Have students take out paper and pencil.) We can use the letter e to spell /e/. Start at the fence. Do a straight line across then curve up backwards towards the sky, keep going backwards until you reach the fence again. Keep curving down until you make a half-circle at the sidewalk. I want to see everybody’s e. Once you get a sticker, I want you to make 9 more just like it. When you see the letter e all by itself in a word, that’s when you know to say /e/.
5. Let me show you how to find the word /e/ in the word fresh. I’m going to stretch fresh out very slow and listen to the creaky door. F-f-r-r-e-e-e…Do you hear the creaky door?
6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /e/ in red or pink? Run or led? Jet or and? Draw or mend? (Pass out a card to each student.) Say: Let’s see if you can spot the mouth move /e/ in some words. Open your door if you hear /e/. Eddie’s, elephant, entered, the, elevator.
7. Read Pen Pals and discuss story. Read story again and have the students raise their hand if they hear the /e/ sound. List the words they say on the board. Have each student draw a picture of their a pet and write a message about their picture.
8. For assessment, have students name their pictures and ask them to circle words with /e/.
B. & Fielding-Barnsley, R. (1990).
Acquiring the alphabetic principle: A case for teaching
phoneme identity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82,
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