Creaky Old Door

Beginning Reading
By: Christina Barnes

In order for students to begin to learn to read words, it is important for teachers to teach them how to recognize a sound in a written word.  Once students can find a vowel in a word, they will have much more success when it comes to reading. To help students with this, we will participate in a classroom letterbox lesson so that students can see how to distinguish what vowels are in words.

*large Elkonin boxes
*large letters (b, e, d, g, t, n, c, k, s, d, t(2), m, l(2), p)
*individual Elkonin boxes and letter tiles for each student (b, e, d, g, t, n, c, k, s, d, t(2), m, l(2), p)
*Red Gets Fed (AU, Phonics Readers by Educational Insights, 1990) for each student and teacher
*picture page (example given in assessment)

1.    Introduce the lesson by saying that sometimes reading words can be very hard but if we can recognize vowel sounds in words, we can more easily read words.  Today we are going to work on finding words that have the short e in them.

2.    Remember that the sound our short e makes is like we are opening a
squeaky door.  Everyone try to open up the door with me.  Did you hear that /e/ sound?  Let’s listen for that squeaky door in this sentence and if you hear it, act like you’re opening up the door.  "Red gets fed and goes to bed"

3.    When we see e in a word, we make the sound just like our squeaky door. 
So when you are trying to read a word, if you see an e, what sound will it make?

4.    To practice using the short e sound, we are going to do a letterbox activity. 
If I was going to figure out how to spell pet, I would say the word very slowly to see what sounds I hear. Ppp…eee…ttt…At the beginning I hear a p so I'll put a p in the first box.  Ppp…eee…then I hear that squeaky door so I know to put an e in the second box.  Ppp…eee…ttt ends in the sound a t  makes so I put a t in the third box.  Now I can look and see exactly how to spell pet since I have figured out all the sounds I hear in pet.

5.    Now I'm going to say some words and I want you to do exactly how I did
and figure out what letters you hear in the words.  Once you hear a certain letter, put it in the right box so that you can correctly spell a word.  When everyone has figured out how they think the word should be spelled, we will check it as a class with my letterbox.  Words to use:  3 phonemes- bed, get, neck; 4                    phonemes- send, test, smell; 5 phonemes- spent

6.    I will then display a list of the words so that the whole class can see the
words and we will read the word list as a class.

7.    Give each student a copy of Red Gets Fed for them to read.  This story is
about a dog that is very hungry but his family is asleep.  Let's read and find out if Red can get some food after all.

8.    For assessment, distribute the picture page in which students will look at a
picture and pick the word that describes the picture.  For example, a picture of a bed would have the words table, couch, bed and chair written next to it.  The student has to see that the picture is a bed and then pick the word bed.

Murray, B.A., How to Teach a Letterbox Lesson

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