Word Detectives!
Heather Mauldin
Emergent Literacy

In order for students to read and spell words, they need to understand that letters represent phonemes words are composed of phonemes.  Short vowels are extremely difficult for beginning readers to identify.  This lesson focuses on /e/e/=e (short e). Students will learn to associate the printed letter e with a sound and practice finding the /e/in words.


Primary paper and pencil; The Egg Book (Sue Dickinson); chart saying “Every egg was extremely excellent ”;flash cards reading egg, rag, met, sat, jet, it, and, yell, hat, rest, and kite; elephant puppet


1. Introduce the lesson as learning a secret code.  Every letter we see has a special sound that goes with it.  Today we are going to practice the mouth move /e/.  It is our job as word detectives to find the sound in various words.

2. Ask students:  Have you ever heard a creaky door?  The eeeeeee sound it makes is the short e sound.  Where do we hear the /e/ sound in the word egg?

3. Repeat this sentence after me “Every egg was extremely excellent.” Make sure to have the chart displayed for students to see.  Eddie the elephant will drag it out for us: eeeeee very eeeeee ggg was eeeeeeee xtremely eeeeee cellent.

4. Students will then practice writing the lower case e.  Start making the lower case e by drawing a line across the fence post on your paper.  At the enc of the line curve all the way back down to the sidewalk.

5. Read The Egg Book to the class.  Read it again and have the class raise their hands when they discover a word that contains the short e sound.

6. Ask the class the following riddles and have the class answer the questions.  The answers must include the short e.

What does a chicken lay? Eggs
Where does a bird live?  Nest
What do you sleep in at night?  Bed
Where you throw you dog a ball what does it do?  Fetch

7. For assessment, use the flash cards.  Hold up two cards and ask the children to discover which word has /e/. One card should not have the /e/.

References: Erin Rice, Chimps Chugging Chocolate Milk.

E-mail me at mauldhn@auburn.edu.

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