Shrieking E's


By Elisabeth Owen

Beginning Reading



Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence ee = /E/. In this lesson children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling ee. They will learn a meaningful representation, they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence ee=/E/.


Materials: Primary paper and pencil; letter boxes, letter tiles b, c, d, e, e, g, h, n, p, r, s, t, t, Sheep in a Jeep for all students; word cards with BEE, TREE, DEEP, PEER, TEETH, GREEN, BREED, CREEP, and SCREEN, construction paper and crayons, glue, scissors, assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /E/. 




1. Say: In order to become expert readers we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. Today we are going to learn about the long E sound. When I say /E/ I think of a girl shrieking when she sees a mouse. Now let's look at the spelling of /E/ that we'll learn today. One way to spell /E/ is ee.


2. Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /E/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I listen for /E/ in words, I hear e say its name /E/ and the corners of mouth come up like I'm smiling. I'll show you first: bleed. I heard e say its name and I felt the corners of my mouth come up. There is a long E in bleed. Now I'm going to see if it's in pen. Hmm, I didn't hear e say its name and my mouth didn't smile. Now you try. If you hear /E/ shriek like you just saw a mouse. If you don't hear /E/ say, "That's not it." Do you hear the /E/ sound in: SLEEP, BED, KEEP, PET, SLEEP, CHEESE, WEB?

3. What if I want to spell the word beep? "The microwave made a beep." To spell beep in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /b/ /ee/ /p/. I need 3 boxes. I heard that /E/ just before the /p/ so I'm going to put the ee in the 2nd box. The word starts with /b/, I need an b in the 1st box. The ending sound is /p/ so I'm going to put a p in the last box.


Now I'll show you how I would read a tough word. [Display poster with speech on the top and model reading the word.] I'm going to start with the ee; that part says /E/. Now I'm going to put the beginning letters with it: s-p-ee. Now I'll put that chunk together with the last sound, /ch/. Oh, speech, like "The President gave a speech."


4. Say: Now I'm going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. Word list: 2 – [bee], 3--[tree, deep, peer, teeth, hen], 4--[green, breed, creep], and 5--[screen].


5. Say: 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.]


6. Say: You've done a great job and reading words with our new spelling for /E/: ee. Now we are going to read a book called Sheep in a Jeep. In this story five sheep get into a jeep and get into some trouble. Let's read to see what kind of trouble these sheep get into. [Children pair up and take turns reading alternate pages each while teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads Sheep in a Jeep aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]


7. Do beginning constants worksheet. Say: On this worksheet we want to color the objects that have the /E/ sound.


8. Say: Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /E/ = ee, let's see if we can find ee words in the story we just read. Everyone will make a sheep out of construction paper and then write the long E words that were in Sheep in a Jeep on the sheep.




Dr. Murray, Bruce. The Reading Genie, Mouth Moves and Gestures for Phonemes.


Beginning Constants Worksheet.


Sheep Activity


Shaw, Nancy E. Sheep in a Jeep. HMH Books, 1997.

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