Eeehhh?  What was that?

 Beginning Reading

Katie DeFoor


Rationale: Students have to become familiar with the phoneme and shape of each letter to be able to become a fluent reader.  It is important to begin teaching short vowels before teaching long vowels.  During this lesson I will teach the e=/e/ correspondence.  I will teach this lesson by using a letterbox lesson.  I will use a tongue twister, letterboxes, and a decodable book.





Picture cards that have words beside the picture and has /e/ in them

Letterboxes (one set for each student)

Letter tiles (w, a, g, d, e, n, f, p, c, k, s, t, l, b)

Red Gets Fed. Educational Insights, c. 1990

Picture of hand gesture

Tongue twister: "Elmer Elwood led elderly elephants"

Words: wag, den, fed, peck, sent, flag, bend, west

Primary writing paper



  1. Today we are going to learn about the sound the letter e sounds.  It makes the /e/ sound.  Say it with me.  Good job.  Do you know a word that has the /e/ sound in it?  Bed has the /e/ sound in it.
  2. Now we are going to practice writing e.  Everyone needs to get their writing paper and a pencil out for this.  Now to make the letter e you need to get in 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.
  3. Now we are going to work on recognizing e when we see it and know what sound it makes.  Do you sometimes get confused and ask, "Eeehh?  What was that?"  When you do that do you put your hand around your ear?  That's what we're going to do now whenever we hear or see /e/.  Can you do it with me?
  4. This time I am going to say a sentence and when you hear /e/ I want you to cup your hand around your ear and say /e/ like when you’re confused.  "Elmer Elwood led elderly elephants."  Good job.  Now I want you to stretch out the /e/ in the words. "Eeeelmer Eeeelwood leeeed eeeelderly eeeelephants."  That was so good!  Now let’s break off the /e/.  "/e/ lmer /e/lwood l/e/d /e/lderly /e/lephants."
  5. Now I am going to say some words and I want you to tell me which word you hear /e/ in.  Pet or dog?  Paper or pencil?  Bed or house?  Great job.  Now let's look at some words and I want you to tell me if they have /e/ in them.  Red or brown? Fed or ate?  Hen or animal?  Thank you for working so hard!  Everyone is doing great!
  6. Now everyone needs to get their letterboxes and tiles out.  Our first word is going to be sent.  It will need four boxes.  I am going to show you how to do this one.  The first sound I hear is /s/ so I am going to put s in the first box.  Can everyone see that?  (Walk around and show the children your letterbox and check theirs).  The second sound I hear is /e/ so what letter do you think we should put there?  That’s right!  We put e in the second box.  Now I hear the /n/ sound so I will put n in the third box.  Can everyone see?  And lastly, I hear /d/ so I am going to put d in the last box.  Now I want everyone to practice doing what I just did.  I will tell you how many letterboxes you will need for each word.  I will walk around helping you.  (The students will spell wag, den, fed, peck, sent, flag, west).  I will model and help as needed.  After they have spelled the words I will give each student a list with those same words on them.  I will have them read these words as a group.
  7. Everyone did such a great job on the letterboxes.  Now I am going to give everyone a copy of Red Gets Fed.  You are going to get in partners and read this book.  Red is a dog that is hungry.  He is really hungry and wants to be fed.  Red wakes up Meg and her dad.  Will Red get fed?



I will assess by giving the students picture cards.  The card will have one picture on it and four different words.  One of the words will represent the picture and will have the /e/ sound in it.  The student will write the correct word for the picture and then can color the picture.  If they get the word right then I will know that they have mastered e=/e/.



Sarah Jane Brock "Eeeehhh, What Did You Say?"


Red Gets Fed. Educational Insights, c. 1990


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