“Speak Up, Son”

Emergent Literacy Design

by Erin Pringle



My goal of this lesson is to teach my student the e = /e/ sound.  It is vital to children’s reading development to be able to accurately identify phonemes written in words.  Phonemes are the sounds or “mouth moves” from which spoken words are made.  In addition, it is essential that students learn to identify the graphemes found in words as well.  Graphemes are the written letters (or symbols) that represent sounds.  Short vowels are extremely difficult for most children to identify.  Therefore, they require the most practice.  This lesson will serve as practice to help children identify    e = /e/.  They will learn to recognize /e/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then practice finding /e/ in words. 


o       Primary paper
o       Pencil
o       Chart paper w/my saying on it, “Everyone explored eggs except Ed who explored elephants!”
o       Drawing paper
o       Crayons
o       The Book:  Ed Likes Eggs.  Illustrated by Paige Billen Frye.  (2000). Scholastic Inc., ReadingLine. 



  1. I will begin my lesson by discussing “our written language.”  I will explain to my students that it is very tricky, and there are many different things that everyone must learn to be able to learn to write properly.  The first thing that you should learn is that letters represent movements that your mouth makes.  Sometimes one letter will make a mouth move, but at other times two or even three letters might work together to make a mouth movement.  Today, we are going to go exploring.  We are going to be searching for the sound /e/.  At first, it will be difficult for you to spot hidden /e/’s but as you become experts, they will become much more evident to you!

  2. <>Do you have a grandma or granddaddy that is hard-of-hearing?  If not, do you know someone else who just can not hear very well?  Well, if so, then you may have heard them say, “/e/, I can’t hear you, speak up!”  That is the mouth movement that we are searching for in words.  Let’s say the sound that someone says when they can’t hear: /e/.  Let’s pretend that we are all old and cannot hear what someone is saying.  [Cup your ear with your hand and lean forward as you say the /e/ sound].

  3. I have created a tongue twister to help us hear the /e/ sound.  This little saying is full of /e/’s so let’s try it together!  “Everyone explored eggs except Ed who explored elephants!”  Now, we are going to say it all together, three times.  [Say three times]  Now, we will say it once more, this time; stretch the /e/ sound that you hear when you hear it at the beginning of a word.  “Eeeveryone eeexplored eeeggs eeexcept Eeed who eeexplored eeelephants!”  This time, we are going to try in once more.  I want you to *clap* every time that you hear the /e/ sound.  “*Everyone *explored *eggs *except *Ed who *explored *el*ephants!”  GREAT JOB!!!

  4. Okay I would like for everyone to take out your paper and a pencil, please.  The sound that we have been practicing, /e/ can be written using the letter e, like this, e.  Let’s all write it on our paper.  Start at the fence, draw a little c.  Go back up to the fence at the point where you started.  Draw a line down to the middle between the fence and the sidewalk, then draw a line to the left to connect with the center of the c, this forms the letter e.  I would like to see everyone’s e’s when you finish.  After I have put a smilie face on your paper, I would like for you to write 9 more e’s just like your first one. 

  5. Now we are going to be expert explorers and we are going to decide when we hear the sound /e/.  Do you hear /e/ in ham or egg? Excellent or Outstanding? Net or Not?  Pot or Pet?  I will call on individual students for explanations of their answers.  Now we are going to listen as I read our tongue twister.  As I read it, give me a thumbs-up, if you hear the /e/ sound and a thumbs-down if you do not hear it.  [“Everyone explored eggs except Ed who explored elephants!”]

  6. Today we are going to read a book that has a lot of /e/’s in it.  The book we are going to read is called, “Ed likes Eggs.”  After we read, we are going to talk about the story, so everyone put on your listening ears, and be sure to listen for words that have the /e/ sound!  [Read Story]  Now, I am going to read the book again, and this time, I want you to raise your hand every time you hear a word with the /e/ sound in it.  When you raise your hand we are going to write the word on the board and make a list of /e/ words to add to our sound word wall.  Students will make a word book with the words that are listed under our /e/ sound.  They will write the word on a page and draw a picture that goes with it.  These will be displayed throughout the classroom. 

  7. For our assessment, I will give everyone a picture page.  I will go through the names of all of the pictures with the student’s out loud, to make sure they can identify everything.  Then I will ask my students to circle the picture whose name begins with the /e/ sound.  Their performance on this assignment, will determine how well they have internalized the /e/ sound. 


“Duh!” by Jodi Gray http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/elucid/grayel.html

     o       “Eerie Exits” by Emily Jones http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/elucid/jonesel.html

Click here to return to Exploration.

*Back to Top*