What did you say, EEEHHH?


                                                                                                  Beginning Reading Lesson Design
                                                                                                              Andrea Shelton

:  Student's need to learn that words are made up of a series letters that have their own unique phonemes.  For this lesson we are going to focus on the correspondence e=/e/ in spoken and written word.  The students will learn the sound that e makes and be able to recognize it in spoken and written word.

    Word cards with the following words on it: pen and paper, egg and milk, desk and chair, and red and blue to assess student's, paper for teacher to do running record, sentence strip with tongue twister: Everybody saw Eddie and the Eskimo Enter the Elevator on the Elephant.  Pointer for sentence strip, Primary paper and pencils for each child, Letterboxes and letters, Chalk for teacher, Picture of the gesture to remember the letter and sound it makes, Copies of Red Gets Fed for each student, List of words used in letterbox lesson (2{egg}, 3{fed, pet, bed,}, 4{help, nest}, 5{crept, slept}).


1."Good morning boys and girls, today we are going to learn about the letter e and the sound it makes.  Does anyone now what the letter e    looks like?  If so raise your hand and I will call on you to come write it for us to see on the board."  Very good that is what the letter e             looks like.  Can anyone tell me what sound the letter e makes?  No one knows?    Well the letter e says /e/.   I am sure that you                         remember the other vowel that we learned last week.  Can someone raise their hand and tell me what letter we learned."  Student                 says:"we learned about the vowel a. "Very good, we did learn about the letter a.  Does anyone know why we need to know what the         letter e looks like and what sound it makes?   No response from students.  We need to know because the letter e is in a lot of words that         we read and write.  If we know what it looks like and what sound it makes then it will help us to be able to read and write much easier             and faster.  Today, we are going to learn how to spell and read words that have an e in it and the sound that it makes."

2. I will show the children a special gesture for remembering e = /e/.  "Has anyone every try to talk to someone and they could not               understand you? I have to. Have you had a difficult time hearing someone else?  Do you remember what they said to you?  Sometimes         people say EEEEHH."  Show students picture of the man putting his hand to his ear and saying EEEEHH.  "Look at the picture if you             forget what to do.  I want everyone to cup their hand and put it right behind their ear.  Now say EEEEHHH.  This is what we are going to     say to remember the sound that e makes." Practice doing it a few times with class.  Now I am going to speak very softly so that you can         not hear me.  I want everyone to practice their hand gesture and say EEEHHH.  Very good participation class. I am going to read a couple     of words to you and I want to see if everyone can hear our /e/ sound in spoken words.  If you hear the /e/ sound in the word do our                 special hand gesture.  Let's practice.

3. Practice finding /e/ in spoken words
.  "I need everyone to listen very closely to the /e/ sound.  Don't forget to do the hand gesture.   Do you hear /e/ in eggs or grape?  hedge or bush? ten or nine?   fed or food?  Great job!"

4.  Get out sentence strip with tongue twister on it.  First, model the tongue twister and hand gesture.   "Now I want everyone to practice      saying the tongue twister with me.  When we say it stretch out the /e/ and do the hand gesture.  Is everyone ready?  Everyone saw Eddie and the Eskimo enter the elevator on the elephant."  Do it a few more times.  "Did everyone hear the /e/ sound?  I know I did."

5. Pass out the letters and the letterboxes to every student. Tell students that each box represents a sound and when you hear the sound       put the letter in its box.  Tel them that you only turn over as many boxes over as you hear sounds.  Model the lesson with the word get.         First I am going to sound out the word.  Then once I have done that I am going to place the first letter that I hear in the first box.  I heard     g so I well put it in the first box while saying /g/.  The second letter I heard was an e so I will put the o in the second letter box while             saying /e/ and t while saying /t/ in the last box to make the word get. "Today, we are going to do a letterbox lesson with the letter e =         /e/.  Everyone turn all of your lower case letter face up so that you can see them because we are only going to be working with lower case.      Remember that each of your boxes represents a sound in a word." Start the letterbox lesson.  We will begin with only two phonemes and     work our way up to 5 phonemes.  I will say each word one at a time giving them enough time to think about the sounds and the letters             since that is what I am covering in today's lesson.  The words are egg, pet, ten, fed, pet,bed, help, nest, crept,and slept. Walk around the room and observe, assisting any students who need help. If a student misspells a word, pronounce the word as it appears and the student to try to fix the word to make it the correct word.   After checking each student's work, model the correct spelling for each word (just like you did get) in your large letterboxes to the entire class.

6. After the students have spelled all of the words successfully I will have them read the words as I spell them out for them. I will write each  word on the board and ask the class to read it aloud. I will not use the letterboxes for this part of the lesson.   "Since we are done spelling         all of our words we are at this point going to read them.   I am going to spell them for you on the board.  After I spell them I want you to         read them."  I will make sure each child can read the words I might even ask them individually.  If I see a student who is having trouble I     will go over the word with the class by using the vowel first, then the first letters, and then the last letters.

7. I will Hand out copies of Red Gets Fed to each student.  Then I will give a brief book talk to peak the student's interest in the book.  Today  we are going to read a book called Red Gets Fed.  Red is Meg's dog. One morning while Meg is sleeping Red goes into her room and tries to     wake her up.  He is very hungry.  Meg gets up and feds Red. However, Red is still hungry after eating.  Meg goes back to bed and Red             tries  to go wake up dad.  Will dad wake up and fed Red? To find out if Red gets fed again, you'll have to read the book."

8. I will have the students read Red Gets Fed. While they are reading it I will walk around the room to observe. "Now, everyone I want you  to read Red Gets Fed while I listen to you read."

9.  Have each student write a message while other students are being called to the teacher's desk. "I am going to pass out the primary paper  and you will need to get out a pencil to write your message.  Does anyone have a suggestion on what to write about? One student's says         since it is almost Halloween we should write about what we are going to be.  Does everyone agree? Okay, then everyone write about what     you will be for Halloween."

    One at a time I will call each child up to the teacher's desk.  I will ask each child a few words that have the /e/ sound and words that do not.  They should be able to tell me which words do have the /e/ sound.  The students should be assessed on the understanding that
e = /e/.  I will say I want you to tell me all the words that have the /e/ sound.  The teacher should grade each child according to their ability to identify the correct words that make the /e/sound.  I could also walk around the room and informally assess the students while doing the letterbox lesson or do a running record on Red Gets Fed and note their miscues to see if I need to go over the lesson again. 


Red Gets Fed. Educational Insights, 1990.

Davis, Haley. RED GETS FED. Beginning reading lesson design. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/inventions.html

Eldredge, J. Lloyd, Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Upper Saddle River, NJ. 1995.

Murray, B.A., & Lesniak, T. (1999). The Letterbox Lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.

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