Eeehhhhhhh What Did you Say??

Beginning Reader Lesson Design

                                                     what did you say                                                     

 Brigette Marsden

    Phoneme awareness is an extremely important component of reading and writing.  For beginning readers especially, it is crucial to teach phoneme awareness.  Phoneme awareness is the ability to recognize sounds in vocal gestures and words.  A good place to begin phoneme awareness with beginning readers is with the short vowel sounds, as they are present in most words.  The following lesson is designed to teach the e=/e/ correspondence, or short e vowel sound.  It will involve completing a letter box lesson, reading words that contain the e=/e/ correspondence, and reading a book containing the e=/e/ correspondence. 


-phoneme graphic of the creaky door, e

-chart with tongue twister on it (Eddy elbowed the elephant in the egg)

-primary paper


-notecards containing the following words: egg, bed, leg, vent, went

-Elkonin Boxes and letter tiles

-the following letters: e, g, b, d, v, n, t, w, l

-Copies of Red Gets Fed for student and teacher

Red Gets Fed Educational Insights, Carson, CA. 1990.
- Notecards containing the following pseudowords: leb, bem, mez, pret, smett, sleck


1.  Show the phoneme graphic of the creaky door.  Explain that when you open an old creaky door it makes an eeeeehhhh sound which is the e=/e/ correspondence. Show them the hand gesture of opening up the creaky door. Can you make the creaky door ehhhh with me? Good job! It sounds just like a creaky old door opening. Now this sound is made by a short vowel, the short e.  This short e, always makes the eeehhhhh sound, so when you hear the creaky short e, make sure you open the creaky door.

2.  Now I am going to bring out the chart with the tongue twister on it.  I will first read the tongue twister demonstrating the creaky door e.  Next, I will have the student do the tongue twister with me, Okay ready to do it with me? Eeeddy eeeelbowed the eeelephant in the eeegg. Good job, you did great making the creaky door e sound. 

3.  Next, make sure that the student can distinguish the /e/ sound in words.  So, ask: Do you hear /e/ in bed or sat? Fed or box? Egg or Bat? Ask each one individually to make sure they are getting it.  Then ask if they can think of some words with the  /e/ sound. 

4.  Begin letterbox lesson after discussing some words with the short /e/ sound in them.  First, model the LBL for them to show them how to do it. Okay, I want to spell the word left. I have four boxes to place my letters in.  I am listening to the sounds that are in the word so that I know what letters I need to place in the boxes.  I know that I hear that creaky e sound, so I am going to get an e letter tile.  The first sound I hear is an /l/ so that is an l, then I hear a creaky door /e/ so that is an e, next an /f/ sound so that is the letter f, then finally a /t/ so that is a t.  Now, I have placed all my letters in their boxes, and I have the word left. Next, use the LBL and the letter tiles to complete a lesson using the words: 3 phonemes: {egg, bed, leg, neck}     4phonemes: {vent, went, smell}  These words will reinforce the creaky door e=/e/ correspondence that we have been working on.  Say the words for the student to spell, then when they make a mistake, pronounce the word as they spelled it.  Allow them to self-correct.  If they cannot self-correct, then model how to spell the word.  Let them know that it is okay to make mistakes and it was a tough word.  Continue through the LBL until the child has spelled all the words. 

5.  Then bring out the flash cards containing the words that they just spelled.  Have them read each word.  If they struggle with the words, then use the letter tiles to spell the word.  Then break the word down into small parts.  This is a tough word, let me spell in with the letter tiles (spell out vent) Okay, I am going to break down the word into smaller parts, I see the creaky door e, so I know that it makes an eeeehhh sound.  Then I have a v=/v/, so /v//e/, next, I have an n=/n/ so /v//e//n/ and finally a t=/t/ so /v//e//n//t/, okay vent.  Show them that they can cover up parts of a tricky word and sound it out part by part, or letter by letter.  Finish reading the words, and model as needed.  Allow time for self-correction.

6.  Now bring out the decodable book Red Gets Fed.  Today we are going to read a book about a dog who really likes to eat, a lot!  He eats so much that he goes around to the people in his family asking for more food.  I wonder if he gets the food he asks for?? Well, lets read to find out.

7.  Finally, bring out the primary paper and pencil and have the student pose a message.  Tell me about your favorite food.  Encourage them to use invented spelling. 

    Have the student read pseudowords containing the e=/e/ correspondence.  Use the following pseudowords {leb, bem, mez, pret, smett, sleck}  This will provide an excellent assessment of the students ability to read using this correspondence.    

Murray, B.A., How to Teach a Letterbox lesson

Thornton, BeLinda. The Squeaky Creaky Elevator

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