Eh, What Was That?



Beginning Lesson Design

 By: Laura Lee Nevins



In order to become better readers and decoders, children need to understand that letters represent vocal gestures or phonemes. Before children can match letters to phonemes, they need to be able to recognize phonemes in spoken words. This lesson plan will help students to identify the correspondence e=/e/ by recognizing the sound of an elderly person ‘eh?’ throughout words.



Picture of a person who is hard of hearing (found at

Chart paper with ‘‘Eddie’s eleven elephants entered the elevator’‘

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

Elkonin boxes for each student and the teacher

The following letter tiles in plastic bags (one per student): b, e, d, f, p, t, s, n, l, t

Primary paper- one per student

Pencil- one per student

Matching worksheet with pictures that have the /e/ sound and a list of words that the student has to match to the correct picture.
(4 pictures include: bed, egg, tent, and elephant) (word choices include: bed, pillow, bath / egg, bacon, milk / tent, outside, camp / elephant, dog, hippo)



1.     I will start the lesson by writing the letter e on the board. I will ask, ‘‘Who knows what letter this is?’‘ ‘‘Good job! It’s the letter e!’‘ ‘‘What sounds does the letter e make?’‘ ‘‘That’s right! It sounds like what your granddad would say if he did not hear what you were saying’‘ ‘‘He would cup his ear and say ‘eh’ everyone do the motion with me and make the sound!’‘


2.     ‘‘Now let’s read this tongue twister together.’‘ ‘‘I’ll read it first then you echo me.’‘ ‘‘Eddie’s eleven elephants entered the elevator.’‘ ‘‘Now your turn.’‘ ‘‘Good job, now lets say it again and this time stretch out that /e/ sound. Remember to cup your ear like your trying to hear.’‘ Eeeeddie’s eeeeeleven eeeeelephants eeeeentered the eeeelevator.’‘



3.     ‘‘Now let’s see if you can tell me if you hear the /e/ sound in the word smell.’‘ ‘‘S-s-s-sm-sm-sm-e-e-e-e-l-l-l.’‘ ‘‘Did you hear it? Good job!’‘ I will write the word smell on the board and point to the appropriate letter as I model how to blend the word. Then I will have the students blend the word with me. ‘‘Now let’s see if you hear the /e/ sound in some other words, cup your hands to your ear when you hear it.’‘ ‘‘Do you hear /e/ in bed or door, egg or bacon, dress or skirt?’‘ ‘‘Great job!’‘


4.     ‘‘Now I need everyone to open up their plastic baggies with letters in them.  Turn them all so the letter if facing up.  Get your letter box and open it up as well.’‘  I am going to first model a word then we are going to do the rest together!  My word is bed.  Ok, I hear the /e/ (eh) in bed. I hear the sound /b/ before my /e/ so I will put the letter b then the letter e.  Ok now, b-e-d-d-d. I heard ‘‘d’‘.  b-e-d. Ok now you try with these words (I will say them one at a time and walk around to observe the students):  fed, pet, send, test, dent, blend, and slept. If a child has misspelled a word, I will read the word as they have spelled it to see if they will self-correct their spelling.  If they cannot self-correct the spelling, I will model the correct spelling for the child. I will then write the words on the board and have students read them. I will be observing as they read. If they struggle, I will help them by using body- coda blending.


5.      Now, I will introduce the /e/ themed decodable book Red Gets Fed to the students.  I will give a short book talk. ‘‘This is Meg and she has a pet dog named Red. Red is very hungry and can’t seem to wake anyone up to feed him this morning! I wonder if Red ever gets fed? I guess we’ll have to read it to find out! ‘‘When you hear the /e/ sound cup your ear with your hand!" The students will then divide into groups and read the book to eachother. Every student will read the book once. I will be observing and taking miscues.


6.     I will now let the students write a message about when they would have fed Red. They will each have a piece of primary paper and a pencil. I will walk around and observe the student’s writing.


7.     I will then assess the student’s by giving them a worksheet that has pictures of different things that have the /e/ sound in them. The pictures will have a list of four words next to them. The student will have to match the correct word to the picture.(Description in materials list)



Barton, Kimberly

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

Murray, Bruce. The Reading Genie

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