The Old Creaky Door

                                                                                Beginning Reading

                                   Ellen Battles

Rationale: This lesson will help beginning readers to learn to spell and read words. They will learn to recognize e=/e/ in written and spoken words. They will learn a meaningful representation and practice spelling and reading words with e=/e/ using a letterbox lesson. Also, they will read a new book.



Letterboxes, set of 3, 4, and 5 for each student and teacher

Letterbox letters for each student and teacher: (p,e,n,r,d,b,t,l,l,m,s,f)

Overhead projector

Picture of creaky door

Poster with tongue twister: Everybody saw Eddie and the Eskimo enter the elevator on the elephant.

Primary Paper


Book Red Gets Fed for each student

Worksheet with pictures for assessment (pictures of two choices, which picture do you hear e=/e/?  (egg or bowl, bed or door, elephant or horse, elf or sleigh)




1. First, I will show the students the letter E on the overhead projector. I will use the upper and lower case E from my set of letterbox tiles. "Can anyone tell me what letter this is?" "That's correct, it is the letter E." "Who can tell me what sound it makes?" "Wow, you guys are so smart!" Now I will place the picture of the creaky door on the overhead. "The e=/e/ makes the sound /e/ like you are opening a creaky door." I will then stretch out the E sound to sound like an old creaking door. "Now I want everyone to open their old creaky door with me, ready?"


2. Next, I will show the tongue twister on the overhead projector. "I am going to read this silly sentence to you and then I want you to read it after me." I will read the sentence stretching out the /e/ to sound like a creaky door. "Now it's your turn to repeat after me: Everybody saw Eddie and  the Eskimo enter the elevator on the elephant.


3. Now, I want you to pay really close attention because I am going to ask you some questions. "I am going to read two words to you and I want you to be listening for the creaky door /e/. After I read the words, I want you to raise your hand and tell me what word you heard the creaky door in."

Word list:

Rest or Run

Window or Bed

Red or Gold

Head or Nose

4. Hand out letterbox tiles and have students turn them over to the lowercase side. Now I want everyone watch me as I model how to use our letterboxes. For this word, I am going to need three letterboxes. That means there are three sounds in my word. This also means that our mouths are only going to move three times when we say this word. The word is…bed. The b says /b/ so we need to put the letter b in our first letterbox. The second sound is /e/ so we need to put the letter e in the second letterbox. The last sound is /d/ so we need to put the letter d in the last letterbox.


Now it is your turn. The students will being by reading each word and then spelling it.

Words: (3) pen, red, ten, bad (4), smell, left, bark, best (5) spend, slept. The students will use their letterboxes and letter tiles to spell the words. I will walk around the room and monitor the students and help them if needed.


5. I will now have students read words off the overhead projector. I will show a list of words  that they spelled in step 3. If a child cannot read a word, I will use body-coda blending to facilitate reading.


6. Next, I will introduce the decodable book: Red Gets Fed. Have any of you ever had a pet that like to beg for his food? Well in this book, Red the dog begs everyone for food. Now lets read the book and find out if Red ever gets fed. The students will break up into groups and read the book. They will take turns reading to each other as I walk around the room and listen.


7. Finally, we are going to write a message about our pet dog named Red. I want each of you to make up a sentence about Red. Remember, this is how we write our /e/. Students may use invented spelling when writing.



As I go around hearing and noting miscues of each student reading, I will be able to check each child's reading level by anecdotal notes that will collaborate throughout the semester to check reading progress. Each student will be given a worksheet with pictures on it, some containing the /e/ sound in them. The goal will be to circle the picture that contains the /e/ sound. Under the picture, they will write the word of the picture.



Murray, B.A., and Lesniak, T. (1999) The Letterbox Lesson: A hands on approach for teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher, 52,    

 Eldredge, J Lloyd. (2005). Teach Decoding: Why and How. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Pearson Education,
     Inc. 182-184.

Lowery, M.Fred's Red Elephants.

Cushman, S. (1990). Red Gets Fed. Phonics Readers Short Vowels. Carson, California: Educational Insights

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