Edgar Elephant

Laura Gibson

Beginning Reading


Rationale: When learning to read, it is very important for students to become phonemically aware. Phonemically aware simply means that students should have an understanding of short vowel sounds. The goal of this lesson is for students to learn the correspondence e=/e/. In this lesson, students will practice writing, spelling and reading words with the e=/e/ sound.

Tongue Twister Chart " Edgar elephant ate eighty Easter eggs."
Set of Elkonin letterboxes for each student.
Set of plastic letters (p, e, g, b, d, t, r, s, n, t, a, l) for each student.

Red Gets Fed book for each student and teacher.
Worksheet for Assessment.
Set of Elkonin letterboxes and letters (p, e, g, b, d, t, r, s, n, t, a, l) for teacher.
2 sheets of Primary Paper for each student.
Letterbox Word List for each student and teacher.
Pencils or Crayons

1). Introduce lesson to the students. "Today, we are going to learn what sound short e makes. Explain to students that when pronouncing words our mouth moves in different ways. We are going to be able to know which way our mouth moves when we see short e words in our book.
2). Ask students: "Has anyone ever heard an old creaky door open?" Tell students that whenever I hear an old creaky door I hear the /e/ sound. To make the mouth movement for /e/ we need to slightly open our mouths with our tongue sitting on the bottom. Have students practice by telling them to open the old creaky door and make the /e/ sound.
3). Say: " Now let's try a tongue twister using our chart. Listen closely as I say it to you. Edgar elephant ate eighty Easter eggs. Say it with me three times. Good Job! This time when we say it whenever you hear the /e/ sound I want you to stretch it out and pull the old creaky door. Eeeeedagr eeeeelephant ate eeeeeighty Eeeeeaster eeeeeggs.
4). I want you to listen really close when I say some words to you. I want you to raise your hand and tell me which word you hear the /e/ sound in. For example, if I said red or ran, the answer would be red because I hear the creaky door sound. Do you hear /e/ in:
bed or floor?
Ted or Dan?
leg or arm?
full or fed?
pig or peg?
5). Give a sheet of primary paper to each student. Explain to them we are going to practice writing the letter e. Start halfway between the fence and the sidewalk.  Draw a straight line towards the right window and curve up and touch the fence. Go towards the left window and draw a curve down to the sidewalk. Go towards the right window with a little curve. You should finish halfway between where you started the e and the sidewalk. (Model it for the class). After you have practiced writing the letter e one time, raise your hand and I will come around to check your work. When I put a check on your paper I want you to write it five more times.

6). Next, we are going to spell words with e. We are going to use our letterboxes and our letters for this activity. Explain to students that each box represents a mouth movement. Model for them how to use the letterbox with an example. I am going to spell the word red. How many movements does my mouth make in /r//e//d/? Good Job just three. So, my first letter in my first box is going to be the letter r to represent the /r/ sound. My next letter should be the letter e to represent the /e/ sound. This letter goes in my second letterbox. My last letter should be the letter d to represent the /d/ sound. This letter goes in my last letterbox. Now, I want you to try spelling some words on your own. These words are (3) {peg, bed, get}. (4). {rest, tent, bead} (5) {trend, bread, slept}. After the students have had a chance to spell all the words pass out a word list for them to read as a class.
7). To help the students apply this lesson, I will give them a brief book talk and read Red Gets Fed. I will read the story one time to the students and just have them listen. The next time I read the story, I will ask the students to raise their hand every time they hear the creaky old sound. I will ask them to remember some of the words they heard and write them on the board.
8). I will then pass out another sheet of primary paper. I will ask the students to write a short message about a pet they might have or want.
9). For assessment, I will ask the students to take out a pencil or crayon. I will give them the worksheet in which they will have to circle the correct picture that makes the /e/ (creaky door sound). For example, number one might be a picture of a lion or elephant. The correct answer would be the elephant.


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

Murray, Bruce. Mouth Moves and Gestures for Phonemes. http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/mouthmoves.html

Britton, Kristen. Ellen's Elephants. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/constr/brittonbr.html

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