/e/ is Excellent!

An Emergent Literacy Lesson

by: Lauren Thompson



Students must learn the sounds and visual representations of phonemes before they are able to recognize them in speech and while reading. This lesson will focus on instructing students about the phoneme /e/. Students will be given a variety of written and oral activities in which to participate in order to ensure that they are able to recognize it when they come across it again after this lesson. Students will learn the visual cue of an old man who is hard of hearing saying, "Eh?" (/e/). This will give the children something interesting to remember when they come across the letter. They will have a fun time pretending to be old men (or women) putting their hand behind their ear and saying, "Eh?" The students will then be called upon to tell whether they hear the phoneme /e/ after listening to two words where one has the phoneme in it while the other does not. We will then practice writing the letter E on primary paper. At the end of the lesson, the students will be given a worksheet to assess what they've learned.


pencils, primary paper, poster with the tongue twister "Ed the elf was excited to enter the exit at Elberta Elementary", crayons, index cards with the words GET, BED, BEND, LEG, SET, SPELL on them, the book Red Gets Fed, worksheet that has students draw a line to and color words that start with /e/. (URL below), picture of old man holding his hand up to his ear as if he's saying "Eh?", white board, dry erase marker


1.) Today we're going to be learning about the short /e/ sound. Does everyone hear how I'm saying that? Let me repeat it (/e/). That sound is going to be in most of the words we're going to hear and draw about in this lesson. That letter that makes that sound is the letter E.  First of all, let's go over how to say it. Everyone repeat after me. (/e/) Good! Again. (/e/) Notice how my mouth is moving when I say that sound. My mouth is pulling back into a sort of smile but my teeth are apart. One way to remember this sound is to picture an old man who is hard of hearing putting his hand up to his ear and saying, "Eh?" (present picture to the class) Let me see everyone do what he's doing. You guys are doing great! I'm going to repeat the sound three times and then I want you to repeat me. /e/ /e/ /e/ (/e/ /e/ /e/) Great job!

2.) Let me see and hear everyone do what the old man is doing. You guys are doing great! I'm going to repeat the sound three times and then I want you to repeat me. /e/ /e/ /e/ (/e/ /e/ /e/) Great job!

3.) Now I'm going to say a word that has that /e/ sound in it. I'll show you how to find the sound by stretching out the sound in the word. The word I'm going to give you is dress. Dress. D-r- /e/ /e/ /e/-ss. Did everyone hear the /e/ sound in the word dress? Let's repeat the word together and put our hand up to our ear like the old man when we hear the /e/ sound.(Dress) Let's try another word and see if we can find the sound in this word. The word is melt. Melt. We'll stretch out the word together and put your hand to your ear when you hear the sound! (M-/e/ /e/ /e/-l-t). Excellent work, everyone!

4.) We're going to try something called a tongue tickler. It can get kind of tricky so I need everyone to listen EXTRA carefully. (Present poster with tongue tickler on it) I'm going to say the tongue tickler once at normal speed and then I will slow it down to make sure everyone has it down, all right? Here we go! "Ed the elf was excited to enter the exit at Elberta Elementary." (Repeat slower). Who notices anything special about this tongue tickler? (Call on students) That's right! Many of the words begin with the /e/ sound we're learning about! Now let's say it slower and say the /e/ sounds very slowly as we come to them.

5.) Now I'm going to show everyone how to draw this letter, all right? Let me see everyone's eyes so I know you're listening. Great. Watch me, now! Who remembers what letter makes the sound /e/? (Call on a student) That's right! E makes the sound /e/. First of all, we're going to start at the hat line and draw a straight line all the way down to the shoe line. Does everyone understand that part? Next, we're going to start from the stick and give him a hat, a belt, and some shoes. Okay? I'm going to do it again. (Repeat) Now we're going to air write that. Everyone get your pointer fingers in the air! Start at the hat line and bring a stick down to the shoe line. Start back at the stick and give him a hat, a belt, and some shoes. (Repeat) Okay, let's learn how to write the little e. Start at where the knees would be of a person (under the belt line) and draw a line out. Curve around and hit the belt line and then come back to the point where you started. Come down and hit the shoe line and give it a curvy tail. (Repeat) Everyone, let's air write a little e now. (Repeat) I'm so proud of all of you! Now take out your paper and pencils and practice writing your big and little e's. I'll be coming around to check on how you're all doing.

6.) I am now going to ask you whether you hear the /e/ sound in any of the words I am about to read off. Close your eyes while I am reading the list and raise your hand if you hear the sound we're looking for in any of the words. No peeking! (This is to make sure that the students who would just follow along with whatever their peers say actually must put forth effort to recognize this phoneme in a spoken word) Ready? Here we go!

Brown (ask a student who has not raised their hand to explain why they didn't raise it)

Pledge (ask a student who raised their hand why they raised it)

Fret (repeat)

Grand (repeat)

Errand (repeat)

Couch (repeat)

Wednesday (repeat)

I'm really impressed with all the hard work you're putting in today, everyone!

7.) It's time to read a story I really think you all will like. It's called Red Gets Fed. Red is a dog who is so hungry but his owners are asleep! We'll have to read the book to find out if Red ever gets his breakfast.

8.) I have some index cards with words on them. I'm going to hold up the card and ask if it is either one word or another. For example, if I held up the word "I" and asked if this was "I" or "a", you would say. . .? Good!

GET- Is this get or got?

BED- Is this bid or bed?

LEG- Is this leg or log?

BEND- Is this bend or band?

SET- Is this sit or set?

SPELL- Is this spill or spell?

9.) To assess everyone's progress, I will distribute the worksheet http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/vowels/e-as-begins1.gif and have the students draw a line to the objects that start with E and then color those objects.



Red Gets Fed, Carson. Educational Insights 2000.


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