Beginning to Read

The Squeaky Creaky Elevator

BeLinda Thornton


     For children to gain the ability to write, they must first understand an important component of language, phoneme awareness.  Phoneme awareness is the recognition of vocal gestures when speaking.  Teaching children to recognize short vowel phonemes in words can aid them the most in the beginning and provides an important scaffold needed for them to gain confidence.  This lesson will provide children a correspondence they will need to build on, the correspondence of e=/e/ in text and writing.


Phoneme Graphic of rocking chair (picture attached)

Chart with tongue twister written on it (Everybody saw Eddie and the Eskimo enter the elevator on the elephant.)

Primary paper


A copy of Red Gets Fed for student

Flash cards with letterbox words written on them (beg, smell, egg, vent, let)

Elkonin boxes for student

Letter manipulative for student (b, e, g, l, m, n, t, and v)

1. Begin lesson with explaining the graphic provided.  Explain, "/e/ is like a rocking chair, it squeaks when it rocks back and forth making an eehhh, sound."  Demonstrate the gesture of rocking in the rocking chair and the /e/ sound.

2. Using the chart, lead students through the tongue twister stretching out the /e/ sound saying, "Let's see if we can make that /e/ sound together follow me Eeeeverybody saw Eeeeddie and the Eeeskimo eeenter the eeeelevator on the eeelephant (rocking every time you come to an /e/)  That was Eeexcellent guys!"

3. After practicing the tongue twister a few times test the student’s ability by asking students to identify the creaky rocking chair sound in words given a choice between two.  "In which word do you hear the creaky rocking chair /e/ sound in?  bed or sad?  Egg or bat?  Blend or bad? (ask individually.)Then allow children some freedom with their new found correspondence by letting them tell you which words they can think of that have the /e/ correspondence in them. 

4. Begin the letterbox lesson here.  Now that you are sure that the child has the correspondence needed to progress on, model the letterbox lesson for him.  Begin with LET ME SHOW YOU HOW TO USE THESE BOXES TO SPELL OUT WORDS.  FIRST REMEMBER THAT JUST BECAUSE A WORD HAS 3 SOUNDS DOES NOT MEAN IT HAS ONLY 3 LETTERS.  WE HAVE 3 BOXES HERE AND WE WANT TO SPELL THE WORD NECK.  I HEAR /n/, THAT’S AN N.  /e/ I HEAR A SQUEAKY ROCKING CHAIR.  THAT’S AN E.  ONE MORE SOUND TO GO.  I HEAR /k/.  I KNOW THAT CK SAYS /k/.  N-E-C-K.  THE LETTERS THAT WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE ONE SOUND SHARE THE SAME BOX.  Use the Elkonin boxes to complete a letter box lesson, have the student spell out the words 3-{beg, let, net} 4- {smell, tend, vent}.  This will reinforce the idea of the creaky rocking chair /e/ sound correspondence.  If the child incorrectly spells the word, pronounce it the way it was spelled and provide time for a self-correction, allow child to try time and then model how to complete the spelling, "vent, that is a difficult word, lets stretch that one out.  Vvvveeeeennnnnttttt, vent, hmm I heard that creaky rocking chair somewhere in there.  Let’s map it out using our letter boxes!  We heard that creaky rocking chair, that sound comes second in the word.  I wonder what could come first, vvvvvvent.  That has the same sound as video and vanilla."  Continue through with this process till the word is completed and then say the word that you have spelled. Continue the rest of the letterbox lesson until all words have been attempted. 

5. Provide a set of flash cards with each word from the letter box lesson.  Have the student read each of the words.  (It is also acceptable to use the letters from the letterbox lesson to spell out the words without using the squares.)

6. Next introduce the decodable book: Red Gets Fed.  "Guess what.  Today we are going to read a book about a dog that really like to eat, Red.  Red likes to eat so much that he asks everyone in his family for food.  I wonder if he can eat all the food that he begs for.  Let’s read and find out."

7. Pose a message topic for the child to write on such as "What is your favorite food?"

Take a running record while student reads decodable book.  

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

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

Wallach and Wallach-

Boggs, Adrienne. E’s are E-E-E-Excellent

Squeaky rocking chair picture

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