E-e-e-e-eggs in Be-e-ed???????


By: Anna Ludlum

Beginning Reading

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 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. 


Materials: 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
Worksheet with pictures of a bed, red, leg, hen, sled, test, and chair, blue, arm, tree, and note


1. Introduce by explaining reading as a puzzle. Letters give us clues to tell us which sounds to make with our mouth. Today we are going to talk about what sound to make if we see an e.  When you see an e in a word then that e makes the older lady who is hard of hearing sound /e/. Say /e/ with me. The /e/ might not be easy to find in words but let's try some anyway. Notice that you just have to open your mouth just a little bit and your tongue gets to be lazy and sit one the bottom of your mouth. Now lets say a tongue twister for the /e/ sound.  “Eddy fed Red eggs in bed.”

2. "Can anyone give me a word with our hard of hearing sound in it?"  Write the words that the students call out on the board if they do have the /e/ sound.  Explain the correspondence.  Use bed as an example.  "Let’s look at this word,/b/ /e/ /d/." (point to each letter as you say the sound) "Which letter makes the /e/ sound? The e in bed makes the /e/ sound.  Let’s say the word bed together and stretch out the middle sound.  /b/ /eeeeee/ /d/." 

3. Have students take out their Elkonin boxes and letters.  "Now we are going to practice spelling some words with the /e/ sound in them." Model for the students.  "I will show you how to spell the word bed in the boxes (do on overhead).  I am going to place the letter representing each sound in its own box.  First I will put the b in the first box for /b/ sound.  Next I hear the hard of hearing sound so I need to put an e in the middle box, and in my last box I need a d for the /d/ sound.  Now I have spelled the word bed by filling up all 3 of my boxes with a letter for each sound." 

4. Now have the students try spelling some words with their boxes.  As they spell each word look around at each students work to make sure that they have correctly spelled the words.  Do not let students clear their boards until you have checked their spelling.  Start with 3 phoneme words:  fed, leg, hen, red.  Next have students add a fourth box to work on 4 phoneme words:  sent, test, fled

5. "Now I am going to spell some words, and I am going to see if you can read them back to me.  Remember, this is like a puzzle, the letters give you clues for what sounds to make.  If you think that you know the word that I am spelling, then raise your hand."  Spell out the words that you had asked the students to spell in a random order without the Elkonin boxes. 

6. Next, call students to work with you in a small group.  They will read A New Bed by Joy Cowley aloud.  Change your scaffolding to fit each students individual needs as they read aloud from the book.  Ask the students to take the book home and practice reading it. 

7. For assessment, you can give students a page with various pictures on it.  The students should circle the objects that have the /e/ sound in their name.  Then they should write the name of the object below the circled pictures only.  You may also assess the students by rereading A New Bed the next day and doing a running record on them as they read aloud. 


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.

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