Eh? I Can't Hear You!

Mary Lawrence Chandler

Beginning Reading

Rationale: When learning to read, it is important that beginning readers understand that each letter has a vocal gesture or phoneme.  Hearing those sounds in spoken words can be difficult but must be learned as well.  This lesson helps introduce the short vowel sound of e=/e/. Learning short vowels will help identify phonemes within words that may be hard to detect. We will practice making this sound as well as listening for it and writing it.

Materials:  Pencil, primary paper, dry erase board and markers, tongue twister “ Every egg lets Edgar get excited  to be fed out of bed”, picture of person making the “eh” hand gesture,  Elkonin boxes for each student and teacher, the letters , e, r, d, n, b, p, c, k ,s ,t, w, a, and g, list of words to be used in letter box lesson that includes (2) egg (3)red, peck, (4) west, (5)bend, copies of the book Red Gets Fed by Shelia Cushman, Pat Millie and Patti Briles.  Educational Insights: Carson, California, 1990.


1)  Today we are going to learn more about the letter e and one of the sounds this letter can make. Sometime e makes the sound /e/.  It reminds me of the sounds my grandmother makes when she can’t hear. She cups her hand around her ear and says “eh?” Let’s try making that sound together. Pantomime gesture and show the picture of grandma. Suggest that the group tries the gesture and sound together as well.

2)  One primary paper we will practice making our own lower case e. I will model on a dry erase board with primary lines.  "To make a little /e/, we will start at the center of the space below the fence, go toward the door (right), up to touch the fence, then around and up like you are making a little c." Students will then practice on their own primary paper.

3)  Now we are going to listen for that sound grandma makes in a silly sentence called a tongue twister. Every time you hear that /e/ sounds I want you to cup your hand around your ear like she does.  Slowly I will read “Every egg lets Edgar get excited to be fed out of bed.”

4)  Now we’re going to try that again with our hand gesture but this time let’s hold out our short e sound. Like when I say egg we’ll say eeeeegg.  Let’s try that together.

5)  Now we’re going to play a game where we try to guess which word has that /e/ sound in it. I’m going to give you two and then raise your hand and tell me which one has our special sound. Ready? Do you hear /e/ in red or raid? Beg or big? Egg or bog? Ted or toad? Let or lit?

6)  I will give each student a set of letterboxes and lower case letters for a letterbox lesson. Each student will have only the letters needed for the words we will use. “Now we are going to use our letterboxes to spell some words. Remember that each box stands for one sound that you hear. Watch me as I spell out the word leg. I hear /l/ so I know there is a l in the first box, then I hear that /e/ sound like grandpa makes so I know e goes next, and last I hear /t/ so I know t goes at the end. “I will call out each word and then after everyone completes the word, I will have one student come show the whole class how he/she did it. After we go through every word, I will spell the words out myself without the letterboxes and have the students read the word back to me. Pet, wet, fret, west, spend, strength.

7)  Next we will pass out the book Red Gets Fed by Shelia Cushman, Pat Millie and Patti Briles.  Educational Insights, 1990. Before reading, I will give a book talk. "In this book there is a dog named Red. Red is always so very hungry and loves to be fed. He gets so hungry that he wakes up his owner in the middle of the night! I wonder what will happen to Red and if he’ll ever get fed. To find out we’ll have to read the story."

Assessment: In order to asses each child we will have a worksheet to be done in class. The sheet will reinforce the short e sound that was covered in the lesson while providing feedback on what was learned by each student.  In this worksheet, students will identify pictures of words with the /e/ sound.  They will draw a line from the picture to the box where all the short e sounds go into. T


Barton, Kimberly. "Ehh? Says Grandpa Edwards."

Brock, Sarah Jane.Eeeehhh, What did you say

Cushman, S. Red Gets Fed (1990). Carson, California: Educational Insights.


Return to the Projects Index