Eddie the Elephant
Beginning Reading

Lizzie Fain


Rationale:   Children need to learn sight words to become proficient readers.  So it is very important for children to learn common correspondences. Studies have found that pre-readers knowledge was the single best predictor of first year reading achievemen, with their ability to discriminate phonemes. (Adams 36)  To be able to match letters to phonemes, children have to recognize phonemes in spoken word contexts.  Short vowels are often the hardest phonemes for students to identify.  The goal of this lesson is to help students learn the short vowel correspondence e.  This lesson will provide students with practice pronouncing the /e/ phoneme when shown the grapheme e in written words.  Students will learn to read e = /e/ and to write words that contain the e correspondence.  After this lesson, students will pronounce /e/ when shown e and be able to read words that have the e = /e/ correspondence.



1.      The lesson will be introduced by telling the students that our written language is a secret code.  Every letter of the alphabet has a special sound that goes with it.  Some letters can make more than one sound. Today we are going to work on the sound that the letter e makes.  The letter e says /e/.

2.       I will show them a card with the letter e on it on a door.  I will tell them to think of the sound for /e/ as a creaking door.  Can everyone show me how to open a creaky door?  I will show them how to move their arms to open the door.  I will ask the students to make the /e/ sound when they open the door.  We will make the sound together several times and then the students will make the sound on their own along with the motion.

3.      Now I have a tongue twister I want you all to say(on poster board).  First I am going to say it aloud.  I want you to listen carefully because then we will all say it together.  “Eddie the elephant with his egg met a pet on the elevator.”  Okay, now you repeat the tongue twister with me.  “Eddie the elephant with his egg met a pet on the elevator.”  Good Job!  Alright, this time we are going to use our door motion and hold out the /e/ sound when we are saying the tongue twister.  “EEEEdie the eeeeelephant with his eeeeegg meeeeet a peeeet on the eeeelevator.”  Great!

4.      Now I want you to get out primary paper and a pencil.  We can use the letter e to spell /e/.  Let’s write it.  Start your pencil just below the middle of the fence, make a straight line, curve up with your pencil to the middle of the fence, and come around as the shape of a half circle and touch the sidewalk bringing your pencil up a little above the sidewalk to a point. I am coming around to look at your e. Once I put a check by it, I want to make a row of e's just like that one. Practice saying what I said when you write the letters. When you see this letter you should recognize /e/ sound that a creaky door makes.

5.      Now I want you to make the /e/ sound and make your door motion if you hear the /e/ sound in the word I read aloud.- fed, mat, Ed, egg, dog, jet, vest, stress, mask, crept. You all did such a great job recognizing the sound /e/.  Now we are going to start our letter box lesson.  So get out your boxes and letters. (a, b, c, d, e, f, k, l, m, p, r, s, t, v)

6.      Students will get out their letterboxes and cut out letters.I will spell a couple of words using the letter boxes.  I will tell the students that I am going to spell the word Fred.  I will sound it out slowly...F-r-e-d, letting them hear the short /e/ sound.  I will need 4 boxes because there are 4 sounds.  The first sound we hear is /f/, so I will put an F in the first box.  Next I hear an /r/ so I will but an in the next box.  Now I hear that short /e/ sound, so it will go in my 3rd box.  The last sound we hear is /d/, so I will put a d in my last box.  I will have students individually spell the words I read aloud.- (3)-fell, met, cat, red, ran, rack, (4)- spell, vest, best, mask, (5)- slept, stress- I will read each word aloud along with a sentence.  Students will place letters in appropriate boxes(they will be in boxes by phonemes).  After students finish spelling all the words, I will have them written on a chalk board.  I will ask the students to read each word aloud to me.  Okay, since you all have shown me what awesome spellers and readers you are, We are going to read a book.

7.      We are going to read the book, Red Gets Fed.  Do any of you have a pet dog at home?  Well this is a story about a dog named, Red.  He is pretty hungry and will do just about anything to get fed.  He might be getting into some trouble, but we will need to read the book to see if he ever gets Fed.  Have student read the book aloud.

8.      Assessment:  I will hand out a work sheet with different pictures on it.  We will go over which picture is on the page.  I will ask the students to circle the pictures whose names have /e/.  (egg, nest, rock, boat, bed, boy, sled, vest, red, dog)  Then I will have the students read the book, "Red Gets Fed"(Educational insights).  I will assess them by taking a running record as they read aloud. 


Murray, B.A. and T. Lesniak.  (1999).  "The letterbox lesson: A hands-on approach to teaching decoding."  The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.

Ellen The Elephant by Joanna Hall- http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/discov/hallbr.html

'"Red Gets Fed" (Educational Insights, 1990)

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