Eh? I cannot hear you!

Beginning Reader Design
Hannah Pipkin


Children should recognize the phonemes that are represented by letters in spoken words.  Children need to be able to recognize phonemes in spoken words before they can match letters to phonemes.  One part of this process is recognizing individual phonemes.  In this lesson, children will learn to identify the phoneme /e/ and read words with the /e/ sound.


White board

Dry erase markers


Primary Paper

Picture cards with /e/ sound in it (press/hat, kick/set, dog/tent, bed/go, and tent/ball)

Chart with tongue twister “Eddie Edwards has an elephant that elevates when he sleeps.”

Letter Box Words: jet, fed, west, bed, shred, at

Letter Box list for teacher

Plastic letters (j, e, t, f, d, w, s, b, d, s, h, r, a)

Pseudowords: des, bep, jep, mes, cen

The book, Pen Pals, Cushman, S (1990)



1.   To begin the lesson, I will explain to the students that our mouth and lips help us make different sounds in words. Today we will be working with the mouth movement that helps us make the sound for the letter /e/.  This is what the letter e looks like (I will write it on the board in order for the students to be able to see what the letter e visually looks like.)  This sounds like Eh; kind of like the sound someone makes when they cannot hear you. (I will cup my hand around my ear and lean toward the children asking the question) Did anyone hear the sound the letter e makes when I just responded back?  Good job; Eh is correct.

2.     Now I want you to listen to this tongue twister as I read it. (I will model and point to each word as I read it)  Eddie Edwards has an elephant that elevates when he sleeps.  Will you all read it with me this time?  We will all read it together as I continue to point to the words in the tongue twister.

3.     Let’s say the tongue twister one more time, but this time every time you hear the sound /e/ I want you to cup your hand around your ear as if you cannot hear.  Eddie Edwards has an elephant that elevates when he sleeps.  Great! Now I want you to stretch out the /e/ sound every time you hear it.  EEEEddie EEEEdwards has an eeeelephant that eeeeleveates when he sleeps.  Good job!

4.     Let’s play a game to see if you can pick out the /e/ sound in the pictures I show you.  I will hold up two different cards with two different pictures on them.  I will hold up the picture hat and say hat, then hold up a picture of someone pressing something and say press.  Does hat or press say /e/? Great; it is press.  I will continue the game by holding up pairs of pictures of the words kick/set, dog/tent, bed/go, and tent/ball.

5.     I will hand each student a set of letter boxes and lower case letters for the letter box part of the lesson.  Now we are going to use our letter boxes to spell out a few words.  Keep in mind that each box stands for one movement of the mouth, not a single letter.  I will model the word shred for them then ask them to do the same thing in their letter boxes with the plastic letters.  This time I would like for you to spell out the word on your own.  After I call out each word and give the children some time to spell It out we will talk about the word and why each letter went in the box it did.  This list of words the children will spell will be: jet, fed, west, bed, shred, at.

6.     Next we will read the book Pen Pals; I will introduce this book by giving the children a small glimpse of what the book will be about.  In this book there is a little baby that is in his baby pen; his name is Ben.  He begins to yell and yell for his pet, Ted, but Ben is stuck in his pen because he is too small to get out along.  Ben and Ted are not happy so Ben cries for his Dad.  Do you think his Dad will come get him out of his pen?  Let’s read to find out.



I will give the students a list of pseudo words and have the children come up to me individually to see if they are able to decode the /e/ sounds.  I will tell the children to remember that these words are not real words but I want to see if they can figure out the silly words I have put together.  Words they will read: des, bep, jep, mes, cen.


Katie DeFoor “Eeehhh? What was that?

Reading Genie Sight

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