“E” is for Elephant

Erin McGinnis

Beginning Reading Level

Rationale: Phonemic awareness is essential in beginning reading, and helps with reading and spelling. The goal for beginning readers is reading words after mastering the phonemes. This lesson teaches the /e/=e correspondence.



Red Gets Fed, Carson GA: Educational Insights, 1990.




Cards with words and pictures- elephant, egg, ear, exit, dog, cat, apple

Letters- r,e,d,g,g,f,l,l,a,t,s,b


Words for lesson on cards: red, fell, egg, eat, Ed, rest, best.



1.)    "Today we are going to have some fun. We are going on a treasure hunt looking with our eyes and our ears for the /e/ sound. Sometimes it is hard to hear so let's listen hard."

2.)    "Have you ever heard a door open in an old house? The sound that door made is a lot like the sound the /e/ makes. It goes "eeeehhh." Can you make that sound? Great, then you have mastered the /e/ sound so let's get ready for our treasure hunt.

3.)    "We are going to practice the /e/ sound one more time before we are ready to go on our hunt. We are going to say a tongue twister. It is "Erin the elephant like eggs in Egypt." Whenever you hear the /e/ sound I want you to put your finger on the tip of your nose. First let's say it together. Now it is your turn and show me when you hear the sound."

4.)    "Now I am going to show you some pictures and I want you to say the word they represent. If you hear the /e/ sound in that word I want you to wiggle your fingers in the air, and say the word again stretching out the /e/ sound. After I show you all the cards, we will write the words that have the /e/ sound on writing paper so that you can practice later."

5.)    Next, explain the letterbox lesson. "I will tell you a word, and I want you to use the letters in front of you to spell the word in your boxes. The trick is there is only one SOUND per box." It would help to do an example on an overhead. The words are red, egg, fell, eat, Ed, rest, best.

6.)    Next, we will read Red Gets Fed. I will have the student read it aloud, and I will scaffold as needed. If there is enough time and the students are still engaged, I will reward them by letting them draw a picture of anything that starts with the /e/ sound.

7.)    Assessment: To assess their knowledge of the /e/ correspondence, I will take a running record while he reads Red Gets Fed. I will also pay close attention to how well he does listening for the /e/ sound, recognizes the letter "e" in text and writes "e" on paper.




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


The Reading Genie Website, http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/begin/boggsbr.html.

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