What’s Behind the Creaky Door?


Leslie Chasteen

 Beginning Reading

Rationale: To be able to read and spell words, students must be able to understand that letters stand for phonemes, which are the sounds that the letters make. Children must be able to recognize phonemes in spoken words. This lesson will help children identify /e/ (short e). The students will be taught a meaningful representation and the letter symbol. They will also practice finding /e/ in words.

Primary Paper and pencil
illustration with creaky door
Copies of Pen Pals (Educational Insights) for each student
drawing paper and crayons
picture page with web, deck, sled, elephant, elevator, and tent
chart with “Everybody saw Eddie and the Eskimo enter the elevator on the elephant.”

 1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that letters stand for the mouth moves that we make as we say words. Today we will learn about the mouth move /e/. At first, it may seem kind of tricky, but soon you’ll be able to spot /e/ all kinds of words.

 2. Ask students: Have you every heard a creaky door say /e/? That’s the mouth move that we are looking for in words. Why don’t we pretend we’ve just spotted a very old door and we want to know what’s behind it, so we’re going to slowly open it and say /e/? [turn an imaginary knob and slowly open the door]. We’re opening the door to find out what is behind it. Open your door: /e/.

 3.  Now we’re going to try a tongue twister [on chart]. “Everybody saw Eddie and the Eskimo enter the elevator on the elephant.” Everybody say it three times together. Now say it again. Only this time, we’re going to stretch out the /e/ at the beginning of the words. Open your creaky doors as we say it. “EEEverybody saw EEEddie and the eeeskimo eeenter the eeelevator on the eeelephant.” Try it again. This time break it off the word: /e/ verybody saw /e/ ddie and the /e/ skimo /e/ nter the /e/ levator on the /e/ lephant.” 

 4.  [Using primary paper and pencils students will write the letter e]. We can use the letter e to spell /e/. Let’s write it. Start right here between the fence and the ground (show the students exactly where), now go right up to the fence but not over it, without lifting your pencil curve it back to the ground and let the bottom rest on the ground. I will check everybody’s e and when you get a stamp on your paper, I want you to make nine more just like it. Remember when ever we see e in a word we say /e/.

 5.  I’m going to show you how to find /e/ in the word press. I’m going to stretch the word spend very slowly. Listen very closely for the creaky door. P-p-p-r-e-s. P-p-p-r-e-e-e…There it is! We do hear the creaky door /e/ in press.

 6. Call on students to share how they knew: Do you hear /e/ in left or right? Fred or Moe? Spend or save? Dress or shirt? Came or went? Now, let’s see if you can spot the mouth move /e/ in some more words. Open your creaky door if you hear /e/. Everybody, saw, Eddie, and, the, Eskimo, enter, the, elevator, on, the, elephant.

 7.  Read Pen Pals and talk about the story. Read it again and have students turn their “door knobs” (not completely open the door but just make the gesture) when they hear the words with /e/.  List their words on the board. Have each student draw a picture of an old creaky door a write a message about it, using invented spelling. Display their work.

 8.  For assessment, the picture page will be distributed and students will be assisted with naming the pictures. The students will be asked to circle the pictures that whose names have /e/.

Adams, Marilyn Jager. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print. 1990.
McLure, Stephanie. Beginning Reading: Cre-e-eaky Door E:  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/innov/mclurebr.html

Click here to return to Constructions