Beginning Reading

Meredith Evans



As children learn which sounds correspond to which letters, they begin to gain a better understanding of our language and how it functions. Some of the more difficult correspondences for children to recognize and use effectively in language are the short-vowel sounds, such as e=/e/. This lesson aims at reviewing the basics of this particular correspondence and using it when reading words that include the e=/e/ correspondence. It also aims at aiding children in identifying words both with and without the e=/e/ correspondence.


  1. several large hens already cut out from a pattern
  2. several eggs already cut out from a pattern with words written on them
  3. 2 baskets or crates to separate the "good" eggs and the "bad" eggs
  4. copies of Red Gets Fed
  5. word wall including words with the e=/e/ correspondence
  6. chart with "Ellen and Eddie made excellent eggs."
  7. primary paper
  8. pencils
  9. assessment worksheet


  1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that the secret to understanding our writing "code" is to find out which letters stand for which sounds. "Today, weâre going to begin to understand what sound we sometimes hear when we see the letter Îeâ. We want to be able to spot this letter and sound in many words."



  3. "Have you ever opened a door very slowly and heard it creak? E-e-e-e-e! Thatâs the sound we hear. Iâll show you how to spot /e/ in a word. Stretch it out, and see if you say /e/ like the creaking door. Iâll try extra, e-e-e-xtra. Yes, right at the beginning I said /e/."



  5. "Letâs try a tongue twister." [on chart] "Ellen and Eddie made excellent eggs. Everybody say it together. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /e/ at the beginning of the words. Eeellen and Eeeddie made eeexcellent eeegs. Try it again, and this time break it off the word. /e/llen and /e/ddie made /e/xcellent /e/ggs. Nice work."



  7. "Now, we are going to play a game. There are several hens taped up on the wall in the back of the room, and there are eggs lying all around them. Each one of you is going to go and pick an egg, and then we will do something special with those eggs." Have students go choose an egg, one at a time, and you choose one as well, to model.



  9. After all students are seated again, continue the explanation of the game. "Some of us picked good eggs and some of us picked bad eggs. The good eggs are those that you hear the /e/ sound in when you say the word written on it. The bad eggs are those that you do not hear the /e/ sound in when you say the word written on it. Everyone read your word silently to yourself and decide if your egg is a good one or a bad one. The word on my egg is mat. It does not have the /e/ sound in it, so it goes in the bad egg basket. Now, each of you will decide which basket your egg should go in." Choose students one at a time to share his or her word with the class and place it in the correct basket. "You all did great! Now, letâs try our tongue twister one more time. This time, raise your hand each time you hear /e/." Read each word slowly. "Ellen·and·Eddie·made· excellent·eggs."



  11. As an entire class, use the words on the word wall to review the e=/e/ correspondence. Have the class decide which words include this correspondence and which words do not.



  13. Have students read a developmentally appropriate book that includes this correspondence, such as Red Gets Fed.



  15. For an assessment worksheet, have 4 or 5 sentences with a lot of words including the e=/e/ correspondence available for each student to complete on his or her own. They should circle or underline words that include this correspondence in order to ensure they have gained the understanding of this concept.


Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Ohio: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1995. (149)

Click here to return to Illuminations.

Fur further information, send e-mail to pmpknhed79@hotmail.com.