Emergent Literacy Design
"Ehhhh" I can't hear you
e = /e/

Candy Duvall

Children need to learn and recognize phonemes in order to understand that phonemes stand for letters creating spoken words. Short vowels are some of the hardest phonemes to learn because they have similar sounds when spoken fast. This lesson will help children learn /e/ (short e). The children will learn a meaningful way to remember /e/ as well as recognize it in words. The children will also practice the letter e which represents /e/ and find /e/ in words.

Tablet and pencil
Giant tablet on easel with "Every elegant elf exercises endlessly"
Giant tablet on easel with "Ben is stuck in a pen so he yells until his Dad mends to his needs.)
Red cards and green cards
Red Gets Fed (Educational Insights)
Classroom bulletin board with a giant ear and letter e = /e/
Pictures of farm, milk, tree, apple, ten, men, red, beg, ran, hill

(1) Introduce the lesson by explaining that your mouth moves different ways for different sounds. Today we are going to look at the letter /e/ and the movement your mouth makes. The letter /e/ is found in many words but sometimes it is hard to hear.

(2) Ask students: Do you ever not hear someone and say /e/? This is the sound that we are looking for in words today. Let's see how to spot /e/ in a word. You have to stretch out the word as you say it and look for the sound /e/. Let's try the word red, r e e e e e e e e d, R e e e e e e d. Did you hear /e/? I said the sound when you don't hear someone, did you? /e/

(3) Let's try a tongue twister (on giant tablet). "Every elegant elf exercises endlessly." Everyone say it together now, "Every evening Elizabeth eats eggs eagerly." Now let's say it again but make the /e/ sound longer like you can not hear someone. "Eeeeeevery eeeeeeelegant eeeeeeelf eeeeeeexercises eeeeeendlessly." Did everyone hear the /e/ sound like we could not hear someone talking? Now lets say it one last time but break the /e/ sound off each word. "/e/very /e/legant /e/lf /e/xercises /e/ndlessly." Thank you for being such good listeners and following directions.

(4) (Ask children to take out tablet and pencil) We can use the letter e to show the sound /e/. Let's write together /e/. I want to look at everybody's e. After I look at your e I want you to continue making 5 more just like that one. As you write the letter e think about the sound it makes, /e/ like you can not hear someone. Remember when you see e to say /e/.

(5) Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /e/ in red or white? Pet or dog? Beg or take? Blend or mix? Get or remove? (pass out cards). Say: Let's look at this sentence on the easel and say it with me. If you hear /e/ hold up a green card to say yes and if you do not hear /e/ hold up a red card to say no. Think about /e/ and the sound you make when you do not hear someone. (Sentence: Ben is stuck in a pen so he yells until his Dad mends to his needs.)

(6) Read Red Gets Fed and talk about the story. Read it again, and have the children stand up when they hear words with the /e/ sound. List the words on a large piece of paper as they stand up. On tablet paper have each student draw a picture of their favorite part in the story and write about it using invented spelling. Display work on a bulletin board with a giant ear and the letter e symbolizing the sound /e/ when you can not hear someone.

(7) For assessment give the children pictures and ask them to glue them in two columns: those with the /e/ sound and those without the /e/ sound. After the pictures are glued have the children write the name of the picture above them.

Yolanda Routh. Cracking Sticks, An Emergent Design. Spring 2003.  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/openings/routhel.html

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