Say Cheese

Beginning Reading
Amanda Lyle



 Children need to develop the skills necessary to decode text for becoming a fluent reader. In the process of decoding, it is important that children understand that some letters make more than one sound. This lesson will introduce children to the long E sound by teaching identifying the correspondence ee= /E/. The goal is to teach the strategies needed to identify ee =/E/ through reading text, vocalizing the sound, using gestures, seeing the word in different types of print, and identifying the correspondence within pseudo words.




            Primary paper and pencil; chalk board and chalk; chart with “The sheep didn’t make a peep with it’s feet on the street.”; Sam Sheep can’t sleep. (Usborne); word cards with: creek, week, peep, meet, deep, feet, seek, street, need, seed, feed, beef; pseudo word cards with: sheem, peen, mef, deb, sneeting, yeez.


1. The lesson should be introduced by reviewing the sound that the letter e makes with the students. “Today we will talk about the letter e which we have discussed before with our creaky door short e. What sound does it make? That is correct… e= /e/. We are now going to learn about another sound that e can make. When two e’s are next to each other in a word, they make the e say it’s own name. e = /E/. This is called the long E sound. When we are smiling for a picture we often say cheeeese. How many of you hear the e= /E/ in the word cheese? (Write the word on the board to identify the ee= /E/.) Let’s practice each time we see ee =/E/ in a word smiling as if we are saying cheese while taking a picture. Let’s try it together with our word here on the board. Ch-eeee-se.” (Give big ee=/E/ smile to demonstrate for children.)
 2. “I have a few smiling E words that have ee=/E/ in them that I want you to repeat after say them. As you repeat the word, I want you to stretch out the long E sound so that I can see each of your E smiles as you repeat the words.” Demonstrate to the students the example asleep by saying asl-eeeee-p while smiling during the ee= /E/. Have the students then repeat the words: deed, feel, keep, tree, and weep.
3.   “Now let’s all try reading the tongue twister I have written on the chart. We
will read it once through listening for the long E sound. As we read it again I would like everyone to stretch out their smiling E’s in the words.” “The sh-eeee-p didn’t make a p-eeee-p with it’s f-eeee-t on the str-eeee-t.’ Great job.
4.  “I am going to give each of you a word card with a word containing ee= /E/. My word card is “Week.” I remember that the two e’s together make the smiling /E/ sound so I would read my word as /w/ /E/ /k/.” Model reading the word and sounding it out by smiling during the long E. “I would like for you each to read your word on your card to each of your neighbors, and show them where you found the smiling E. Take turns sharing your words.” When they have shared a few times begin the book talk.
5.  Book Talk: How many of you have ever had a night where you could not fall
asleep? Did anyone tell you to try counting sheep? Well, this book is about Sam Sheep who is willing to do just about anything to help him get to sleep. Sam Sheep asks all of his friends to help him get to sleep. Let’s read “Sam Sheep can’t sleep” and see if he ever finds a friend who can help him fall asleep.
 6. “I will read this book once to you all, and I want you to listen as I read and if you hear the smiling long E sound you may simply smile while continuing to listen to the story.” Now have the students read the book again silently with a paper and pencil to write down words with the long E sound. Walk around to check that the students have all of the following words written down: sheep, sleep, need, see, weeks, asleep, and street.
7. Assessment: Individually have students come take a short pseudo word test to record their decoding progress. Give words on flashcards such as sheem and mef. Do a few short e and long E pseudo words to determine if the students are able to understand the distinguishing sounds.


Cox, Phil Roxbee. Sam Sheep can’t sleep. Usborne Publishing: Saffron Hill, London, 2000.     ISBN    0 7460 3861 5

From Wallach, M. A., & Wallach, L. (1976).  Teaching all children to read.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press.

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