Beginning Reading

Excellent E!


Alison Bradley

Rationale: Children with a good foundation of phonemic awareness need explicit and systematic phonics instruction in order to be able to read.  Beginning readers need to know that words are made of sounds.  They also need to know the correspondences between written letters and their phonemes. Because all words contain vowels, it is usually best to begin teaching vowels. Short vowels are the easiest to teach because they are most commonly found in words with only one vowel.  This lesson will focus on e = /e/.  Students will review the short e sound, and then they will move on to learn that the letter e, when by itself says /e/.  Then the students will practice spelling and reading words with the /e/ sound. 



Class set of Elkonin boxes
Class set of letter manipulatives
Overhead Elkonin boxes and letter manipulatives (e, d, s, t, b, n, h, l, f, r)
Class set of  A New Bed by Joy Cowley
Sentence strip with tongue twister



1.      Introduce the lesson: "Today we are going to be learning about the short vowel E and the sound that it makes. Every time you see an /e/ in a word, you will make the sound like your opening a creaky door. I want everyone to open a door, ready, eeeehhhhh, Good! We need to know about this sound because we use it to write different words and read lots of books."

2.      Introduce the tongue twister to the students. Hold up the sentence strip: "Ok, now lets say the tongue twister together: Ester brought excellent eggs to Edwin.Good!"

3.      Using the overhead and the letter manipulatives, ask the students to name words with that sound in them and model the way to sound out the sounds in the words to the class. "Who can give me a word with our creaking door sound in it? Good, bed. Now, if I was going to spell that word, I would listen to the sounds, /b/, /eeeee/ (there’s our sound), and /d/." Practice more words using the Elkonin boxes.

4.      "Now I want all of you to get out your boxes and letters and we are all going to practice a few words." Have the students leave their letters on their boards until the spelling has been checked. Start with three phoneme words, then move to four and five phonemes.

5.      "Now I am going to spell back a few words to you. If you know what word I’m spelling, raise your hand and I’ll call on you." Without using the boxes, spell out some of the words to assess their ability.

6.      Using the book, A New Bed, get into small groups with children and have the students read the book aloud.

7.      For an assessment, have a picture sheet made out with lots of different pictures using different sounds and have the students circle the pictures with the /e/ sound in their name.



Eldredge, J. Lloyd. (1995) Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. New

Jersey: Prentice Hall, 54-57.
Murray, Bruce and Lesniak, T. (1999). The Letterbox Lesson: A Hands-on
    Approach to Teaching Decoding. The Reading Teacher, 52. 644-650.

Cowley, Joy. A New Bed. (1997) Sunshine Readers.

           Anna  Ludlum : "E-e-e-egg-s in Be-e-e-ed?"

            Click here to return to Guidelines