oldie man

Emergent Literacy Design

Kelly Roberts

Rationale: Letter recognition is one of the two best predictors of beginning reading success. It is very important for children to learn to recognize letters in print and to associate them with their corresponding sounds. In this lesson, children will be introduced to the phoneme e=/e/. Through written and oral practice, they will be able to say /e/, recognize the letter e and write upper and lower case e.

Materials: Primary paper, pencils, chart with the sentence, “Ellen and Eddie entered with eight eggs on an elephant,” set of cards with upper and lower case e on one side, a handout with pictures on it (net, pen, sled, tent, egg, dress, nest, leg, bell ), the book Pen Pals (Educational Insights).


 1. Explain: Words that we say and write are made up of twenty-six different letters. Each letter makes its own sound.  It is important to learn to recognize each letter and remember the sound it makes. Today we are going to learn about the letter e. I am going to help you remember the sound it makes by teaching you about how your mouth moves when you say the sound.

 2. Review: Remind students of how they can pay attention to the way their mouth is moving when they are speaking.

 3. Explain: How many of you have ever had trouble hearing someone speak, so you say, “Eh….Can you repeat that?”? This is the sound that the letter e makes. Write the letter on the board. Now, we are going to say “Eh…Can you repeat that?” all together. Remember to put your hand behind your ear when you say it. This time think about how your mouth moves to make the e sound. Every time you say it, your mouth should be open your tongue should behind your bottom teeth. Every time you feel your mouth do this, you are saying the letter e’s sound.

 4. Model: Now let’s try a tongue twister. Listen closely to this sentence, then I want you to repeat it. “Ellen and Eddie entered with eight eggs on an elephant.” (Use chart with sentence for students to see). I want to hear you say it two more times. Good! Now, listen as I find the /e/’s in the sentence. I will stretch out the “ehh sounds that I hear. “E-e-ellen and E-e-eddie e-e-entered with e-e-eight e-e-eggs on an e-e-elephant.” Now you try! Stretch out those ehh’s and put your hand behind your ear every time you say the /e/ sound! Good job!

 5. Simple practice: Have students take out primary paper and pencils. We are going to learn how to spell /e/. Upper case E is very easy! (Model as you explain) Start at the roof, and stretch it to the ground. Then give it three arms at the top, middle and bottom! Now, let me see you try it! Great! Keep practicing until you have ten E’s. (Observe and provide help when needed). Ok, now let’s try lower case e. It is not a lot like upper case E, you can handle it. Start just below the fence, curve around and touch the fence, then curl around to the ground. Let me see you try ten e’s. (Observe and provide help when needed).

 6. Simple practice: Give students cards with upper and lower case e written on one side. Now we are going to play a game where I will give you a word, and if you hear a /e/in the word, hold up those cards. If not, keep your cards in your lap…men, lap, net, lend, dent, cow, fled, pot, test, set, rug, tell, add, red.

 7. Whole texts: Read Pen Pals. Read it a second time and give students directions. This story has some words that have our /e/ sound in them. This time, when you hear a word that has /e/ in it, hold up your cards, and then I will ask you which word you found /e/ in. We will make a list of words with /e/ in them to put up on our word wall.

 8. Assessment: Give students the picture page. Discuss what each picture on the page is. Tell students to circle the words that have /e/ in them. Also, have them practice making the letter e on primary paper.


Adams, Marilyn Jager. Beginning To Read, Thinking and Learning about Print. Urbana- Champaign, IL: Center for the study of Reading, 1990. pg. 36.                                                 

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

Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teach Decoding: Why and How. Columbus, OH:  Pearson, 2005. pg. 60-82.

Murray, Bruce and students. Hand Gestures for Phonemes.

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