Extra, Extra Read all about E!
Beginning Reading Design

Valerie Lunceford

Rationale:    In order to become better readers and decoders, children need to understand that letters represent vocal gestures or phonemes.  In order to develop an understanding of words and letters children need to learn correspondences.  A correspondence consists of a grapheme and a phoneme.  In this lesson children will become aware and be able to identify of the e = /e/ correspondence in spoken and written words.  This correspondence will be experienced through the use of a tongue twister, letterbox lesson, and shared and individual reading. 

 Materials:   Primary paper and pencils for each child; chart with “Eddie the elephant entered the elevator with the Eskimo;” class set of cards with a picture of “Creaky Door” e on one side and a sad face on the other; Jen the Hen big book; multiple copies of Red Gets Fed, Phonics Readers, Short Vowels, for each child; half poster board with a picture of an opening door for “Creaky Door” e; pointer for tongue twister; chart tablet to record /e/ words; letterboxes (set of 2,3, 4, 5 for each student); letterbox letters for each child (a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, I, l, n, p, r, s, t, u).


  1. “Today we are going to learn about the letter e and the sound that it makes.  At the end of the lesson today you will be wonderful e=/e/ detectives.  You will be able to find and hear the /e/ sound in many different words.
  2. Ask students:  “Have any of you ever heard a creaky door open and sound like “eeehhh?”  this is one way we can remember that e says /e/.  I want you all to hold out one hand and pretend to turn a doorknob to open your creaky door.  As you open the door say “eeehhh.”  Let’s practice!  Okay, open your creaky doors!  Good job!  I hear lots of creaky doors!”
  3. “Everyone remember our creaky door sound because we will use it again in a few minutes.  Now we are going to practice saying our tongue twister.  Listen.  Eddie the elephant entered the elevator with the Eskimo.  Now we will say it together (repeat the tongue twister normally).  Now let’s try something a little different.  This time when we say the tongue twister we will stretch out the /e/ sound in each word and slowly open our creaky doors.  Ready?  E-e-eddie the e-e-elephant e-e-entered the e-e-elevator with the E-e-eskimo.  Okay, now this time we are going to break off the creaky door /e/ sound at the beginning of each word.  /E/ddie the /e/lephant /e/ntered the /e/levator with the /E/skimo.  Excellent job boys and girls!”
  4. “Now that we have practiced saying our /e/ sound we are going to practice writing the letter e to represent our creaky door /e/ sound.  (Pass out primary paper and pencils, and model writing lowercase e on chart tablet).  To make lowercase e, start in the center of the space below the fence, around and up.  Now it’s your turn to practice.  I would like everyone to write seven more e’s on your paper.  I will walk around and check your writing.”

  1. “Now I want you to think of as many words with the /e/ sound in them.  Raise your hand when you have some ideas.”  (Record children’s ideas on the chart tablet.  Make sure the children know the difference from /E/ and /e/.  Reinforce the creaky door /e/ if children are confused.  Pass out creaky door cards).  “I am going to say some words and I want you to tell me if you hear the creaky door /e/ sound in them.  If you hear the /e/ sound hold up your card with the creaky door side facing me.  If you do not hear the /e/ sound hold up the sad face side of your card.  Listen carefully.  (Bed, stuck, pest, smell, sat, big, step, drip, bell)  Very good boys and girls! 

  1. “Now that you know how to listen for the e = /e/ sound in words, let’s use it to read a word.  I’m going to show you how to read this word.  I see the letter /e/ so I’m going to pull that down.  It says e = /e/.  Now I see /s/ and /t/, so I will pull those together /st/ and add /e/, this says /ste/.  /Ste/ is not a word yet so let’s add /p/ and we get the word /step/.  Let’s practice spelling some words.  I am going to draw letterboxes on the chart (pass out letterboxes and letters to each child).  These are your letterboxes and letters to use at your seats.  Take a minute and quietly place your letters with the lowercase side facing up.  First I will put some letters in my boxes.  Remember that each box holds one sound or mouth move.  Some boxes can have more than one letter in them.  (Model how to spell sped in four boxes).  The first sound that I hear is /s/ so I’m going to put /s/ in my first letterbox because it makes one sound.  Next I hear /p/ so I’m going to place the /p/ in my second letterbox.  S-p-e-d, now I hear /e/ so I will put the /e/ in the third letterbox.  Okay, the last sound that I hear is /d/.  I will place the /d/ in the last letterbox because it also makes one sound.    Now it’s your turn.  I want you to take out your set of two letterboxes and spell the word up.  You will place the letter s in the first box because it makes the /s/ sound by itself.  The p goes in the second box because it makes the /ppp/ sound by itself.  Then you will place the letter e in the third letterbox because it also makes one sound.  In the fourth letterbox you will place the letter d because it makes the /d/ sound by itself.  Great job everyone!  I will tell you the word to spell in your letterboxes.  Take out a set of three letterboxes.  Get ready!  Spell bed, get, bat, and shed.  Now take out four letterboxes.  Spell best, fled, and rent.  Let’s try five letterboxes to spell blend, spent.  Excellent job everyone!  Okay, now I am going to spell some words on the chart, outside of the letterboxes, and then we will read them aloud.  (Bed, get, shed, rent, fled, blend, spent, spell, step, pest).”

  1. “Let’s move down to the reading center!  (Have the children move to the floor in a designated meeting area).  Bring your creaky door /e/ cards with you when you come.  I am going to read a story about Jen the Hen.  As I read the story I want you to listen to the sounds you hear in the words.  Let’s try to use the /e/ sound to help us read our words.  If you hear the /e/ sound, quietly hold up the creaky door side of your card.”  (Pass out individual copies of Red Gets Fed.  Place children in groups of two and find a place around the room to read).  “I want everyone to read this story, to their partner, two times each.  After the second time you read the story, make a list of all the words you find in the book that have the /e/ sound in them.  We will meet back in the reading center to share our words when everyone has finished.”

  1. Assessment:  As the children are reading, monitor each pair as they read.  Listen for errors in their reading and have them reread if necessary.  When the class regroups, check the suggestions for /e/ words to contain the correct sound of /e/.  Also make sure the children hold up the correct side of their creaky door /e/ cards during the listening tasks.


Acton, Jessica.  Sticky Ricky!


Hall, Jennifer Kate. Isabelle the Iguana


Hawkins, Colin and Jacqui.  Jen the Hen.  Dorling Kindersley, 1995.

Red Gets Fed.  Educational Insights, 1990.

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