Whitni DeNamur

Beginning Reading


Title:  /e/ Says the Old Door.


Recognizing vowels in spoken and written words can be challenging for children. It is necessary that children master this skill in order to be successful readers and reach the goal of reading words. In this lesson, children will receive a basic understanding of the short vowel e=/e/ and the sound it makes and also review how to write this letter.



Tongue twister “:  Edgar the Elephant lives in a small cell with a terrible smell” , paper, pencils, “Red Gets Fed” for each student, Elkonnin boxes and letters for every student and one for the overhead projector, an overhead projector, and the worksheet with two picture choices in which the children have to pick which one has the e=/e/ sound in it.



1. Start by showing the children a picture of the letter e on the overhead projector. Who can tell me what this letter is? Who can tell me what sound it makes? Very good! I think that this letter sounds like a squeaky door. Look at this picture (Of an old door opening) and imagine the sound it makes while opening. Model this sound for the children while stretching the e=/e/ sound out. Have the children say it after you.


2. Show the children the chart with the crazy tongue twister on it. Boys and Girls, I am going to say this sentence for you, and then I want y’all to follow along and say it with me the second time. (Stretch out the /e/ sound.) When we hear the special e sound, I want us to all look like we are opening an old door with our hands. Okay, is everybody ready to listen for the e=/e/ sound.   Tongue Twister:  Edgar the Elephant lives in a small cell with a terrible smell.


3. Now I am going to see if y’all can hear the special e sound while I say it in some words. I am going to read you two words. One of them has our special sound and one does not. See if you can tell me which one has the special sound in it.

Words: Bed or Floor

          Blue or Red

          Car or Best

          Head or Hair

Now I want y’all to tell me a word and the class is going to listen to see if they can tell if it has the special e sound. Raise your hand if you think you have a word with the e=/e/ sound in it.


4. Boys and Girls, We are now going to use these Elkonin letter boxes to practice spelling words with the e=/e/ sound. Could everyone please have all of your letters on the lower case side. I have placed two boxes on the over head. This means that our mouths are only going to move two times to say this word. Here is the first word….. Bet

The first box is for the b and the second box is for the e and the third is for the d. Now I want you to practice with me. Here are some other words.  {3: Red, pen, fell 4: vest, dress, help, rest, sent}


5. I am going to show you some of the words that we spelled out in the boxes. I now want to see if you can read them to me. Model the first one. We are going to start with the /e/ sound. Then we are going to add the /r/ sound. Now we have /re/. Finally let’s add the /d/ sound. That spells red. I am going to put some other words up here one at a time and I want you to read them for me.


6. Have the children break up into groups to read “Red Gets Fed”. The students will take turns reading to each while I walk around and listen to them read. Watch each child in the room read a page and take anecdotal notes as they read. You may have to call some children up to read because this book is not very long and you may not get to every child.


7. Finally, we are going to write a message about our pet named red. I want you to make up a sentence about this imaginary pet.  Remember (model on overhead), this is how we write our /e/. They can use inventive spelling to write the words.



8. Students will be given a worksheet with pictures on it. They will circle the picture that has the e=/e/ sound. Next, they will write the word of the picture under it to practice writing the lowercase e.




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

Red Gets Fed, Carson, Educational Insights.


“The Door says /e/.” Emergent Literacy Designs: Misti Willoughby.



“E’s are E-E-E-Excellent.” Beginning Reading: Adrienne Boggs.


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