Can You Open the Creaky Door?
 Kathryne Clark


Children must possess a strong understanding of phonemes to become skillful readers.  Short vowels are among the first letter sound correspondences taught in beginning reading.  This lesson is aimed to help students identify e=/e/.  Students will understand this short vowel by being taught meaningful representation, they will also learn to identify e in spoken words.  Students will also learn to read and spell words with e=/e/ through practice with a letterbox lesson, and by reading a new book.

Letterboxes: set of 3, 4, and 5 for each student and for the teacher

Letterbox letters for each student and teacher: (
p, e, n, r, d, b, t, l, l, m, s, f)
Overhead projector

Picture of door opening

Poster with tongue twister: 
Everybody saw Eddie and the Eskimo enter the elevator on the elephant.
Primary paper


Copy of Red Gets Fed for each student

Worksheet of pictures for assessment (pictures of two choices, which one has the e = /e/ sound in it: egg or bowl, bed or door, elephant or horse, elf or sleigh)


1.I will begin by showing the students  the letter E on the overhead projector.  I will use an upper and lower case E, from my letterbox tiles.  Can anyone tell me what letter this is?  That is exactly right.  Now what about the sound it makes?  That is also right.  Place picture of door on overhead.  The e=/e/ makes the sound like you are opening a creaky door. I will then stretch out the E sound to sound like squeaky door.  Now everyone repeat what I just did, opening an imaginary door.

2.I will next show the students the tongue twister on the projector. Ok guys, I will read this funny sentence once, so everybody listen because you have to do it after me.  I will then read the sentence stretching out the e and opening an imaginary door.  Now it’s your turn, read the sentence opening your door. Tongue twister: Everybody saw Eddie and the Eskimo enter the elevator on the elephant.

Ok this is a really tricky part, so everyone has to really listen.  I am going to read two words, and I want for everyone to listen for their creaky door.  After I read the words I am going to call on good listeners to tell me which word they hear their door in.

            Red   or   Yellow

            Window   or   Bed
            Rest   or   Run
            Head   or   Nose

3.Everyone did a great job with that exercise.  Ok now I want for everyone to take out their letterboxes and all your lowercase letters.  Ok now everyone watch me as I show an example of how to use our letter boxes. I have placed three boxes on the over head, so this means that there are going to be three sounds in my word. This also means that our mouths are only going to move three times to say this word. Here is the first word….. bed.  The first sound in our word is buh, so we place a /b/ in the first box.  Our second sound is eeee, the creaky door, so we place an /e/ in the second box.  The final sound is duh, so we place a /d/ in the third box.

Ok, now its your turn, to try these words.  They will be read off individually and each with a sentence, 3: pen, red, ten, bad; 4: smell, left, bark, best; 5: spend, slept. While the students are spelling their words, I will walk around the room and monitor.
 If they spell the word wrong then I will read it the way they spelled it and see if they can correct it on their own.  If not then I will provide the word by modeling and explaining the correct spelling.

4.Next, I will tell the students to pay close attention to the board.  Using the overhead, I will spell some of the letters they previously spelled, and allow them to read them. I will pay close attention to each student to assess whether or not the child is able to read each word.  If a child cannot read a word, I will use body-coda blending to facilitate reading.  For example, “For the word pen, I first would start with /e/, then add the /p//e/-/pe/, and finally add the end of the word /pe/n/- /pen/.” Read it with me. Great Job!

Next, I will introduce the decodable text: “Red Gets Fed.”  Have you ever had a pet that liked to beg to eat and get fed lots and lots?  Well in this book, Red the dog begs everyone in his family for food.  Let's read to see if he gets fed. Have the children break up into groups to read “Red Gets Fed”. The students will take turns reading to each other while I walk around and listen to them read. I will watch each child in the room read a page and take notes as they read..

6. Finally, we are going to write a message about our pet named red. I want you to make up a sentence about this imaginary pet.  Remember (model on overhead), this is how we write our /e/. They can use inventive spelling to write the words.

As I go around hearing and noting miscues of each student reading, I will be able to check each child’s reading level by anecdotal notes that I will collaborate throughout the semester to check reading progress.  The students will be given a worksheet with pictures on it, some containing the e = /e/ sound in them.  The goal will be to circle the picture that contains this sound. After they have circled the picture they will write the word of the picture under it to practice writing the lowercase e.  After they have written the word on paper, they will then spell the words into their individual letterboxes.


Murray, B.A., and Lesniak, T. (1999) The Letterbox Lesson: A hands on approach for teaching decoding.  The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.

Cushman, Sheila. Red Gets Fed
. Educational Insights: Carson, CA. 1990.  

Murray, Bruce.

Ebaugh, Jayme.  Creaky door e.

Lowery, Megan.  Fred’s Red Elephants.

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