That Sneaky E!!


Misti Clifton


This lesson is designed to show children that the way in which the words are ordered can have an effect on how they are pronounced.  If children can remember that two letters make one sound, it will be easier for them to decode words.  In our lesson, we will be talking about ea=/E/ and practicing decoding words that have ea=/E/. 


            Set of letterboxes and letters for each child, picture page with lists of words and picture that make the sound ea=/E/.  (For example, beach, show a picture of a beach.  The children will circle the picture that makes the ea=/E/ sound.)  Chalkboard, chalk, pencils, paper, the book What Will the Seal Eat? 


 1.  Today we are going to learn about two letters we can put together to make the /E/ sound.  Whenever we say the letter e by itself it makes the /e/ sound.  It just repeats its name.  Well today we are going to focus on the combination of letters e and a.  When we put these two letters together they also make the /E/ sound.  “Can everyone say /E/?”  “Great job.” 

 2.   Write the letters ea on the board.  Whenever I see these two letters together I know they are going to make the /E/ sound.  Let’s try some examples and see if you can hear the /E/ sound.  (write seal on the board)  “What is this word?”  SEAL.  “Great Job!”  Lets say the word very slowly and see if we notice the /E/ sound.  S E A L.  Raise your hand if you heard the ea=/E/ sound. 

 3.  Lets try a few more.  “Raise your hand if you hear the /E/ sound in these words”  Fear (hands go up) “Excellent, you heard the /E/ sound.  How about Care?”  (no hands go up)  The word care doesn’t make the /E/ sound does it?  How about the word hear?  (hands go up).  “Great Job!”

 4.  Okay now lets see if we can pronounce written words with the /E/ sound.  Write the words eat, real, and sea on the board.  Can anyone tell me what the first word is?  EAT  “Great job” How did you know how to pronounce that word?  I KNEW THAT THE LETTERS EA MAKES THE SOUND /E/.  “Excellent decoding skills”.  Now, the next word.  REAL.  “It too has the letters ea in it, making it have the /E/ sound, right?”  YES.  “Now the last word, who can tell me what it is?”  SEA.  “Wonderful, how did you know?”  BECAUSE OF THE LETTERS EA.  

 5.  Now we are going to let you spell some words using your letterboxes and your letters.  (Write the word team on the board)  Draw three boxes on the board.  “I want to spell the word team, and since I already know that the ea makes the /E/ sound, I can put a big E in the middle box.  I can think back to the beginning of the word team, it begins with t so I put a t in the first box and the last part of the word sounds like m, so I put an m in the last box and I have spelled the word team” 

 6.  I’m going to say some words and I want you to spell them.  For the first letter you need only 3 boxes.  Spell the word seal.  (children are spelling the word).  (While children are spelling draw three boxes on the board)  “Everyone is doing a great job, can I get someone to volunteer to come spell the word on the board”.  (A child comes up and writes an s in the first box an E in the second and an l in the last box).  “Wonderful, Sally how did you know to put an E in the middle box?”  BECAUSE SEAL IS SPELLED S E A L AND THE EA MAKES THE /E/ SOUND.  “So to spell the word you only need to put the sound it makes in your boxes, right?”  “Great job.”  Let’s practice spelling more words.  I am going to write the rest of the words on the board and I want you to spell them using your boxes and letters.  When you have spelled the words draw your letters on your paper like I did on the board.  (Write meal, team, bean, real and treat on the board).  (While they are working on the spellings, I will walk around and help anyone having trouble).  (Make sure children are using the right number of boxes for each word).

 7.  Once everyone has completed spelling the words, I want you to take out your picture page and circle the pictures that make the /E/ sound.  If the picture does make the /E/ sound, I want you to spell the word underneath the picture.

 8.  Have the children get with a partner, let them take turns reading What Will the Seal Eat?.  “While you are reading to each other, I want you to count how many words you see that have the letters ea in them.  Write these down on your paper, and we will talk about them when everyone is done.

:  The assessment comes from the letterboxes they drew on their paper, the picture page, and the counting of words from the book.  This will show me whether they are understanding the correspondence or not.


  Jordan, Caroline.  Beginning to Read: Seals Eat What?:, 2003.

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