Beginning to Read
We All Scream for Ice Cream!
Rational: As teachers of reading our
goal is for our students to be independent, fluent readers. To do
this we must explicitly teach them a number of frequently seen correspondences.
In this lesson the students will review the correspondence ee=/E/ and they
will learn that ea is another way to make the /E/ sound (ea=/E/).
The goal of this lesson is for my students to be able to pronounce and
identify /E/ when they see ea, and that they will be able to read words
that include the ea correspondence.
Materials: Elkonin letterboxes (Murray) (for
each pair of students), cut out letters (a set for each pair of students),
Letterbox worksheet, pencils, chalkboard, chalk, student copies of Tea
Begin by reviewing the ee correspondence. Have students think of
words that have ee in them. As they recall words with this correspondence
write them on the board. If you need to help get them started with
Then discuss the /E/ phoneme. Tell students (or remind them) that
there is more than one-way to make the /E/ sound. Have students brainstorm
words that they hear the /E/ sound in and write them on the board as they
say them. If they do not come up with any that have ea in them throw
in a few (i.e. neat, fleet).
Underline the graphemes in each of the words that create the /E/ phoneme.
Write this tongue twister on the board "I scream you scream we all scream
for ice cream." Say it together as a class (make sure to emphasize
the /E/ as you say it). Ask students, "Did you all hear the /E/ sound
in the sentence? Let's say it again together and this time keep track
of how many times you hear the /E/ sound." As a class repeat the
tongue twister. Then ask, "How many did you hear the /E/ sound?"
Wait for the right answer. Underline the words as students call them
Explain that ea works together to make the /E/ sound just like the ee.
Have students say the tongue twister again at different speeds, start slow
and gradually get faster. This with be a fun way for them to have practice
saying the /E/ sound.
Draw Elkonin letterboxes on the board to do a class letterbox lesson. (Murray)
Explain to the class that we will be doing a lesson that includes words
with the ee correspondence as well as the ea correspondence. This
is a good way for students to review and have practice deciphering between
the two correspondences.
Have pairs of students get out their letterboxes and letters. Have
them get out the letters t, ee, ea, a, b, f, l, n, s, d, c, r, m and turn
them to the lowercase side.
Ask students, "If two letters work together to make one sound do they go
in one box or two?" Make sure all students answer one! Do an
example word: tree. "That is apple tree." Demonstrate
by putting the t in the first box, the r in the second box, and the ee
in the third box.
Tell students that just as the ee works together to make the /E/ sound
the ea works the same way. Example word: beat. "I beat my
brother in soccer." Demonstrate by putting the b in the first box,
the ea in the second box, and the t in the third box.
In pairs(one more advanced reader with one struggling (poorer) reader),
have students work with the letterboxes to spell out the words in the word
list below. Make sure to give a sentence with each word because some
of these words could be spelled with both correspondences (i.e. tea or
tee). Have the pairs of students spell each word, and then call on a pair
to tell which letter/letters go in each box as the teacher write it on
Review words: see, keep,
eat 2 boxes
neat, seat, team 3 boxes
treat - 4 boxes
*Make sure students know when to add a letterbox!
Have students independently fill in a letterbox worksheet (see attached
copy). As you call out the words below use them in a sentence!
Remind them again that if to letters work together to make one sound they
go in the same box!
1. pea 2. sea (2 letterboxes)
3. peak 4. meat
5. seat 6. beam (3 letterboxes)
7. bleak 8.cream (four
9. stream (five letterboxes)
students read Tea for Three (they will read with the partner they
worked with on the letterboxes). Ask students, "What are some thing
to remember when we buddy read?" These things include such things
as strategies to use when we are stuck on a word and so forth. This
is a good time for the teacher to go around the room and listen to different
children as the read aloud. As the children read the book have them
make a list of words with the ee correspondence and a list of the words
with the ea correspondence. Have the children write down a prediction
as they read and have them write a few sentences about if their prediction
Murray, B.A., & Lesniak, T. (1999). The letterbox
lesson: A hands-on approach to teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher,
1999. Pp. 644-650.
Marilyn Jager Adams (1990). Beginning to Read: Thinking
and Learning About Print, A Summary by Steven A. Stahl, Jean Osborn, and
Fran Lehr. Urbana, IL: Center for the Study of Reading.
Hill, Tonya. (2002). "The Rain in Spain Stays Mainly
in the Plains"
here to return to Elucidations
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