E-E-E-E-E’s are E-E-E-E-xciting!



Beginning Reading Lesson

Avery Gwaltney



In order for children to learn to read and write words they must have phoneme awareness. Phoneme awareness is the ability to recognize phonemes in the spoken language. Recognizing vowels can sometimes be difficult for children to identify. This lesson will help give students a basic understanding of e=/e/ in reading text and writing words.


Dry erase marker

Card with a picture of a “creaky door” and the letter e   

Chart with tongue twister written on it (Ella the elephant was extremely excited about eating eggs.)

Primary paper


A copy of Red Gets Fed for every student

Note cards with the letterbox words written on them (end, eel, vet, fret, tent, help,

dressy, spend, stress, crept, strength).

Elkonin boxes for every student

Letter manipulatives for every student (e,l,v,t,f,r,n,h,p,d,s,y,c,g).

Overhead Elkonin boxes

Overhead letter manipulatives (e,l,v,t,f,r,n,h,p,d,s,y,c,g)

Overhead projector.

Notecards with pseudo words written on them for the assessment (dest, seg, heb, tez, slem, breg, sted, peds, sed, fet)



1. Start the lesson by writing the letter e on the whiteboard.  Does anyone know what this letter is? And what sound does it make? Well this is the letter e and it makes a sound like a creaky door. (Model opening a creaky door while stretching out the /e/ sound.)  Now, I want you to practice the /e/=e sound with me! Pretend like you are opening a creaky door while making the /e/ sound.

2. Take out the chart that you have your tongue twister written on, and practice it with your students. ”I have a tongue twister for us to practice with. I am going to read it once, and then I want all of us to read it together.  Ella the elephant was extremely excited about eggs. Now, you try! This time when we say it I want everyone to do their “creaky door” motion while we drag out all those e’s. E-E-E-E-E-lla the e-e-e-e-lephant was e-e-e-e-e-xtremely e-e-e-e-e-xcited about e-e-e-e-e-gs.  GOOD JOB!

3. Now you are going to assess the students’ ability to hear /e/ in various spoken words. ”Now I am going to read you two words and I want you to tell me which one has that creaky door /e/ sound in it, alright? Do you hear /e/ in _____ or _____?” The word choices are: good or ever? blend or bad? tender or rock? best or amazing ?Then have your students try and think of some of their own words that have /e/ in them.  Next, write them on the whiteboard and underline the e in each word. Finally, if they have any trouble coming up with their own words, have them look around the classroom for ideas. If they still are struggling offer some more example words.

4. Now use the Elkonin boxes to do a class letterbox lesson. Hand out the letterbox sheets and the letters to each student, and have them put the letters on the lower case side. The letters that they will need are the following: (e,l,v,t,f,r,n,h,p,d,s,y,c,g).  Put your letters and letterboxes on the overhead and model how to do a word.  Model for students how the LBL works. Let me show you how to use these boxes to spell out words.  First, remember that just because a word has 3 sounds does not mean it only has 3 letters. We have 3 boxes here, and we want to spell the word neck. I hear /n/, that’s an n.  /e/I hear a squeaky rocking chair.  That’s an E. One more sound to go. I hear /k/.  I know that ck says /k/.  N-E-C-K.  The letters that work together to make one sound share the same box. Now, let’s see if you all can do a couple of words.”  Words:  3- (eel, pet), 4- (fret, tent, help, dressy), 5- (spend, stress, crept,) 6- (strength). Read each word with a sentence that contains the word you are working on. Walk around the classroom and make sure each student is on task and knows what they are doing.  Give them a couple of minutes to figure out their letters and time to correct themselves. If a student has misspelled a word, repeat it to them just as they have spelled it, and see if they can figure out what is wrong.  If they don’t correct the word then give them the word. After each student is finished, model the correct spelling on the overhead and move onto the next word.


5. Next take out the flashcards with each of the letterbox words written on them and have the students read the word out to you. Now I am going to let you read the words you’ve spelled. [Have children read words in unison. Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.]  Good Job! You are doing such a wonderful job recognizing the creaky door /e/ sound. 

6. Next introduce the decodable book: Red Gets Fed.  ”Now we are all going to read Red Gets Fed. Have you ever had a pet that wanted to be fed all the time?  Well in this book, Red the dog begs everyone in his family for food.  Let’s read to see if he gets fed.”  Partner up students and allow them to take turns reading the book to each other

7. Have each student write a message about their favorite pet while you call each student to your desk one at a time to identify e’s in spoken words.

To assess the students I will call the students to come and read a list of pseudo words to me individually.  The pseudo words will help to assess their ability of short e.  I will flip through the cards one at a time and see if the child is able to read them successfully.  100-90% will let me know if they are ready to move on to another correspondence. List of words: dest, seg, heb, tez, slem, breg, sted, peds, sed, fet


Murray, B.A., and Lesniak, T. (1999) The Letterbox Lesson: “A hands on approach for teaching decoding”.  The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.


Cushman, Sheila. Red Gets Fed. Educational Insights: Carson, CA. 1990.


Shell, Hilary: “The Pink Pig Gets Icky Sticky”


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