Jennifer O'Meara
Beginning Reading


Rationale:  Beginning readers must learn ways to spell words and one way to teach children how to spell is by focusing on digraphs.  A digraph is when two of more letters combine to make a single sound or mouth move.  The digraph this lesson will teach is ee=/E/.  This lesson will help children to identify the ee=/E/ sound in spoken words and while reading.

Materials: chart paper, Elkonin boxes, letters of the alphabet, A Weed Is a Seed by Ferdia Wolff (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1996), index cards, construction paper, markers, crayons, colored pencils, tape.

1.) Introduce the lesson by explaining to students that when two vowels are next to each other in a word they make the same sound.  "Today we are going to learn the sound that two e's make when they are side-by-side.  We are going to practice reading and recognizing ee=/E/ words".
2.) "When two e's are next to each other they make the ee=/E/ sound.  It sounds like a loud shriek.  Listen as I make the ee=/E/ shriek.  Let's all make the sound together.  Wonderful!"  The teacher will have a tongue twister written on chart paper to present to children.  "I am going to read this tongue twister and I want you to listen for the ee=/E/ sound.  I see a bee on a weed looking to feed on something sweet.  Now I want everyone to say it together.  Great job!  Let's say it one more time.  Okay now what words do we hear the ee=/E/ sound? Bee, weed, feed, and sweet. Yes, great!"
3.) Have the class sit in a circle on the floor.  "When you hear the ee=/E/ sound within the sentence I want you to clap your hands".
            a.) The mouse is scared to meet the elephant.
            b.) The eel likes to eat fish.
            c.) My favorite game is hide-and-seek.
            d.) The sweet flower had a bee on one of its pedals.
4.) The class will now participate in a letterbox lesson with ee=/E/.  "We are all going to take out our letter boxes and letters.  I only want to see two boxes showing right now".  The teacher will draw her two letter boxes on the board.  "I want everyone to try their best to spell bee".  After everyone is done the teacher will write in her letter boxes the correct answer so the children can check themselves.  The teacher will continue the letterbox lesson by giving the children two and three phoneme words to spell on their desks.  A few examples of words are: see, eel, seek, meet, feet, week, deep.  After students have practiced with their letterboxes the teacher will have them put their things away.  The teacher will rewrite the words the children have been spelling on the board and have the children read aloud what she has written.
5.) The teacher will read the story A Weed Is a Seed by Ferida Wolff to the students.  The teacher will then reread the story and have the children make a list of the ee=/E/ words on a piece of chart paper.  The class will read over the list when they are finished and the list will go up on a wall in the classroom.
6.) As an assessment the teacher will then pass out index cards with ee=/E/ words written on them.  The students must find the other student in the class who has the same word on their card and they must sit together at a desk.  Each pair must write their word and illustrate their word on a piece of paper.  They will present their words and illustrations to the class. The teacher will make an ee=/E/ wall with all of the drawings after the presentations are finished.

The Reading Genie Website:
Murray, Bruce A and Lensniak, T (1999).  The Letterbox Lesson: A Hands on Approach   for Teaching Decoding.

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