Wow!  I Rock at Reading!

Beginning Reader

Kristy Persson


Rationale: Before children can grasp understanding of the alphabetic principle, they must understand that sounds are paired with letters in spoken words.  It is important in the learning process to understand how to recognize phonemes.  This lesson will help children notice the phoneme /e/ (short e).  They will learn to recognize /e/, and they will discover the short vowel’s existence and separability from other phonemes.  They will learn this by completing a variety of tasks, such as learning the meaningful representation and letter symbols, practice spelling with /e/, and practice finding /e/ in words.


Materials: Primary paper and pencil; chart with “Eddy and Elle entered on an elephant and ordered eggs”; drawing paper and crayons; Red Gets Fed(Educational Insights); picture page with tent, nest, dress, and eggs.  Also, pictures of other short vowels, so the children can depict what is /e/ and what is not, such as dog, cat, rat, and bug.



1.  Introduce the lesson by explaining to the children that our written language is a difficult and slow process.  There are many sounds and letters in words, but today we are going to learn about /e/.  This is short e.  Notice how your mouth moves when you say /e/.  It will become more evident as we study it closer.

2.  Ask students: Have you ever heard the /e/ sound when you are sitting in a rocking chair, and it creaks?  (Demonstrate the motion and sound).  That’s the sound we will be working on today.  Can everyone say it with me?  Can you hear /e/ in pet?  What about bed?

3.  Now let’s try a tongue twister [on chart].  “Eddy and Elle entered on an elephant and ordered eggs.” Let’s all say that together now.  This time, let’s say the /e/ sound longer.  “Eeeedy and eeeelle eeeentered on an eeeelephant and ordered eeeeggs.”  Try it again, and this time , let’s break the /e/ off of each word.  “/E/ ddy and /E/ lle /e/ ntered on an /e/ lephant and ordered /e/ ggs.”  Great job!

4.  Ask students to take out their primary paper and pencils.  Now we are going to use the letter e to spell the sound /e/. Let’s begin!  Start at the middle of the sidewalk and walk straight, then curve up to the fence.  Go back towards the sidewalk and pass the middle of it, going to the very end.  Curve around the very end of the sidewalk, and curve back up.  It looks like a snake curling up, doesn’t it?  When you are correct, I will give you a sticker on your paper, and you are to continue practicing writing the letter e. 

5.  Let me show you how to find /e/ in the word bed.  I’m going to stretch out bed slowly, and listen for the sound of that punch.  B-e-d.  B-b-b-e-e-e. . . There it is!  I do hear that Rocking chair sound /e/ in bed.  Do you?  Do you hear /e/ in smell or bug?  West or ball?  Run or fed?

6.  Call on students to answer how they knew: Do you hear /e/ in dog or red?  Sun or den?  Cup or men?  Skunk or bed? [Pass out a card to everyone.] Say: Let’s see if you can hear the rocking chair /e/ in some words.  Rock (push elbows back and forth) if you hear /e/. Eddy, and, Elle, entered, on, an, elephant, and, ordered, eggs.

7.  Say: “Red Gets Fed.  Red is a dog.  During the story, he is very hungry.  His family is busy.  Do you think red will get fed?  You will have to read the rest of the book to find out.  Read Red Gets Fed and talk about the story.  Read it again, and have the students make a rocking motion with their elbows when they hear /e/.  List the words on the board.  Then, have the students draw a dog and write a message using invented spelling.  Display their work. 

8.  For assessment, hand out the picture page and have students name the pictures.  Ask the students to circle the pictures whose names have /e/.  If there is time allowed, also have students write two sentences containing the /e/ sound.  Model a sentence for them.  “The red bed where Ed slept was a mess.”



Beck, Isabel L.  Making Sense of Phonics: The Hows and Whys.  New York: Guilford.


Red Gets Fed.  Educational Insights, 1990.

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