Elephant Elmo Is Excited


Beginning Reading

By: Timberly Farley



An extremely important component of reading and writing is phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is the ability to recognize sounds in vocal gestures and words. Normally, a great place to begin teaching phoneme awareness with beginning readers is with the short vowels sounds. This is because they are present in most words. This lesson is designed to teach the e=/e/ correspondence, the short e vowel sound. I will have the students do a letter box lesson and also read a decodable book that contains the e=/e/ correspondence.




Poster with the tongue twister on it – "Elmo the elephant entered the elevator"

Elmo the Elephant – [Book]

 Individually bagged letter tiles for each student – each bag containing the letters   [e, d, r, m, g, s, n, x, t, p, l] 

Letterboxes for each individual students

Pseudo words on reading cards. Pseudo words - seg, dest, breg, sted, peds, sed, fet

Assessment worksheet identifying /e/



 1. Say: Today we will be looking at the short vowel e. A short e is like a creaky door. Who knows what sound a creaky door makes?

 Student: eeeeeeh.

 Say: That's right!

 I will then demonstrate the hand gesture of opening a door while you make the


Say: Lets all make the sound of a creaky door together.

 Class: Eeeeeeeeh!"

 Say: Good job, lets make the creaky e sound together two more times. The reason we are making our creaky e is so we can learn to read more new words. Each time we learn a new phoneme (sound) to go with a letter we can read more words.


2.  Say: Okay, now we are going to do a tongue twister together.

[I will then read the tongue twister once for the class.]

Say: Now lets try reading our tongue twister together.

 Class: "Elmo the elephant entered the elevator."

 Say: Great Job! Now, this time when we read it, let's stretch out our e sounds.

[I will then read the tongue twister again stretching the e out, so they class understands what to do.]

Say: Now when we are stretching out the e sounds, lets make our creaky door hand gesture. Everybody ready? Great, let's start!

 Class: "Eeeeelmo the eeeeeelpehant eeeentered the eeeelevator."

 Say: That was eeeeeeeeexcellent guys!!


3. Say: Now that we have practice our e sounds, let's try finding the e in a few more words. Okay class do you hear the /e/ in bed or bug?

 Class: Bed

Say: Right! Okay, let's do a few more. Do you hear the creaky door sound e in test or take? [test] In red or rug? [red] in blend or bank? [blend]

 Say: Wonderful job!


4. Say: Now that we have practiced our e sounds, we are now going to start our letterbox lesson.

 [First, I will model with the word leg.]

Say: Okay, leg llllllleeeeeeeeggggg. First, I hear an l and then our creaky e. Finally I gear a g. Now, I want you to try some.

Words:  2 – Ed

               3 – red, Meg

   4 – dress, next, dent

   5 – spend, slept

[Students will have their own letterbox and letter tiles to use for this part of the lesson. I will then give the students one word at a time to spell on their letterboxes. I will walk around the room and monitor the students to make sure they are spelling the words correctly.]

 Say: Great job everyone!


5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you've spelled.

 [I will model how to sound out and pronounce each phoneme in a box. Example – leg lllll-eeeeee-gggggg leg. My word is leg. I will then have the students read the words they have spelled in unison. I will then call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.]

 Say: Everyone did so good! Great job class!


6.  Now that we have practiced our e sound, we are going to read a book called Elmo the Elephant. Elmo was so excited that he was having an Easter party! He called all his friends to tell them to come. He hid some eggs for the egg hunt and even ate some eggs too. Do you think all of Elmo's friends will show up for his party? We will have to read to find out!

 Say: Now every time we hear our special e sound, lets do our creaky door hand gesture! Lets see who can spot our special sound in this book.


 7.  For assessment, I will review their participation in the letterbox lesson. I will also distribute a worksheet. [Have students select the words with the e sound and then draw a line to the boxes.] While the class is working on the worksheet, I will call students individually to read the pseudo words to see how well they really get the e sound.




Linne, Virginia. Red Gets Fed.



Murray, Bruce. Reading Genie: Hand Gestures for Phonemes



Book: Elmo the Elephant



Assessment worksheet:



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