Eddie the Elephant

Beginning Reading

Amanda Kaye Owens


Rationale: Students must understand the relationship between graphemes and phonemes in order to become successful decoders and readers. Phoneme awareness is one of the best predictors of reading proficiency.  In this lesson, students will practice distinguishing the phoneme e=/e/ in spoken and written words.


Materials: Red Gets Fed.  Educational Insights, 1990. Class set

                  Class Elkion Boxes and letter tiles for each student  all lowercase: e,gg-taped together,r,g,t,d,n,w,b,s,l,t. Over head set for teacher.

                  Primary paper and pencils for each student

                  Picture page with letter boxes

                   Chart paper with tounge twister






  1. Reading is a special code where the letters we see tell our mouths what sounds to make.  All the sounds make up the words we read.  Today we are going practice one of the sounds we make when we see e in a word. “ Have e written on board.
  2. “Has anyone ever opened a creaky old door that sounded like eeehhh? That’s the sound that e makes, eeehhh like a creaky door. Lets practice that sound and move our hands like we are opening that creaky eeehhh door.” Have students make sound and gesture.
  3. Have tongue twister on board, “Eddie the elephant entered the elevator with the Eskimo.”  “Listen for the number of times you hear the /e/ sound in thus sentence.  Say the sentence slowly.  “Now you try it.” Have students read the tongue twister slowly emphasizing the /e/ sound.  “Now lets cut the /e/ sound off, like /E/ddie the /e/lephant /e/nterd the e/levator with the /E/skimo.” Great job!  How many words do you hear the /e/ sound in this sentence?” 5
  4. Pass out primary paper and pencils. “Now lets practice the special code letter that tells us to make the /e/ sound.  I am going to write an e on the board. Watch how I start in the center of the space below the fence and go up and around.” Model writing a few e’s on the board. Now you try, everyone write five e’s on your paper.” Walk around checking students work.
  5. “Great writing boys and girls!”  Now I am going to say some words, if you hear the /e/ sound in them, make the creaky /e/ door motion.” Use bed,couch,crest,pencil,egg,sit,web.
  6. Now lets try spelling some words with /e/ in them. Take out overheard Elkion boxes and letter tiles.  I am going to spell a word with three sounds, so I am going to unfold three boxes.  I am going to spell the word bed.” Say slowly emphasizing each phoneme.  “I am going to put one sound in each of the boxes. /B/ /e/ /d/.  Oh! I hear that creaky /e/ door sound, so I know this word has an e in it. Repeat each sound, counting on your fingers for each number. I think /e/ is the second sound I hear so I am going to put e in the second box.  Now, the first sound I hear in bed is /b/, that’s b, so I will put the b tile in the first box. Now I have /b/e/. Bed, the last sound I hear is /d/, I will put d in the last box.” Blend the sounds and say the word.  Pass out boxes and tiles to each student. “Now you try. We will start with two boxes.”  Lead the students in the letter box lessons from 2, 3, and 4 phoneme words.   [2]egg,[3] red,get,den,web,end, [4] bend, step,sled
  7. “Great spelling boys and girls, now lets practice reading some words.”  Have list of letter box words outside boxes on chart. Model decoding the words if necessary. Have students read the words aloud.
  8. “I have a wonderful book to share with you today about a dog named Red.  He is very hungry. Lets read it and see if he gets some food! This book has lots of words with the /e/ sound. Read it with your partner and make the creaky door motion when you hear them read a word with /e/.” Walk around listen to students reading, note miscues of students reading.
  9. When reading is done have the class make a list of /e/ words found in the text or ones they come up with.


Assessment: Students will demonstrate understanding of phoneme-grapheme relationship of e=/e/ through making the correct motion when given the spoken words.  They will also be assessed through correctly spelling words in the letter box lesson.  Students will be given a sheet with pictures and drawn letterboxes corresponding to the number of phonemes in each word.  They will spell each word with the /e/ sound.  Words will be pen,bend, bed, desk, nest



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Letter Box Lesson:

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