Beginning Reader's Design:

Eagles Eat Electric Eels Easily


Ashley Anderson


Rationale: In order for students to become successful readers, they must be able to make a grapheme to phoneme correspondence. To be able to write, they have to make the same correspondence of phoneme to grapheme. In this lesson, the students will learn to read and write the phoneme /E/ represented by ea. The students will be taught to recognize the phoneme /E/ through the use of a tongue twister and will complete a letterbox activity, as well as read pseudo words and a decodable text with the grapheme ea.



letterboxes (Elkonin boxes) for each student (2 up to 5, laminated)

letter tiles: s, e, a, b, n, h, i, c, c, k, l, t, r, m,

The Deep Sea. Matt Sims (High Noon Books, 1999)

Tongue Twister on a sentence strip, ''Eagles eat electric eels easily.''

Large cards with pseudo words: leat, det, beal, fea, tep, heak

Primary paper and pencils

Large cards with LBL words: sea, bean, shine, check, sneak, clean, chant, stream, scream

White board and dry-erase markers

Jean and Dean worksheet (URL below)



1. Sometimes when some of you are scared, you say ''Eeek!'' I want all of you to act like you are scared and say ''Eeek!'' We are going to talk about the /E/ sound that you make today. We learned earlier that to spell the sound /e/ we use the letter E or e, but this is a different sound. In this new sound, we open our mouth wider and close it slightly more /EEEE/. This sound is called long E. One way to spell this new sound is to use the letters ea. So anytime you see and e and a together like ea, remember to say /E/ (write ea=/E/ on the board).


2. Next, display the sentence strip with the tongue twister on the board. ''Let's try to read some long E words in this tongue twister. I'll read it first, and then you can read it with me. Eagles eat electric eels easily. Point to each word as it is read. Have the students read it with you twice. ''This time let's stretch out the long E sound. /EEEEEE/gles /EEEEEE/t /EEEEEE/lectric /EEEEEE/ls /EEEEEE/sily. Great job! We could really hear /E/ say his name!'' Do you hear /E/ in: bee or bay? seat or ate? street or road? creep or crawl?


3. Now that students can identify /E/ in spoken words, we will complete a letterbox lesson with the goal ea=/E/. Each student will use their individual sets of pre-selected letters and their 2 to 5 square Elkonin boxes. I will demonstrate the spelling and reading of the first word: scream. ''I have five letter boxes, so I know the word 'scream' has five phonemes or individual sounds. Listen while I sound it out slowly like I'm stretching out a piece of bubble gum. /sss/ /kkk/ /rrr/ /EEE/ /mmm/.  Now I'll listen for the first sound to put in the first box. /sss/- that is the first sound- s. /sss/ /kkk/.  I know that c makes that /kkk/ sound, so I am going to put it in the next box. /sss/ /kkk/ /rrr/- I here /rrr/- that is a r, it goes in the third letter box. /sss/ /kkk/ /rrr/ /EEE/- there is the /E/ sound, so I'll use an ea in the fourth letter box together because they make the /E/ sound together. The last sound I hear is /s/ /k/ /r/ /E/ /mmm/- m!  I will put a m in my last letter box. That gives me /s/ /k/ /r/ /E/ /m/- scream.


4. ''This time I want you to try to spell some words. I will walk around and check everyone's answer after each word. Listen carefully because I may throw in some words we have already talked about!'' The teacher should say each word and have the children spell them using their letters and Elkonin boxes. (2-sea, 3-bean, shine, check, 4-sneak, clean, chant, 5-stream, scream)


5. ''Now that we have spelled the words, let's try reading them.''  Pull out the cards with the words already printed on them, starting with sea.  ''I'll go first. When I look at this word I see the ea on the end, and that tells me it is going to say /E/. So this word is sea. Now I want you all to help me read the remaining words.'' Hold up each card that has a word used in the letterbox lesson. Begin by asking the entire class to think about how the word is pronounced, and then call on a couple of students to answer individually when they raise their hands.


6. ''Now that we have spelled and read all of our words, I want everyone to create their own words using ea=/E/. Remember that the words should be made up. Breat is an example of a made up word or pseudo word.'' Students should invent words using the correspondence ea=/E/. Have students share some of their words.


7. Students will be sitting next to a partner. ''Now with your buddy it's time to read The Deep Sea.''  Provide a short book talk: ''Dave and Bill have a sail boat. The name of their sail boat is The Rip Tide. One day they go sailing and come up on some BIG waves. What do you think will happen to Dave and Bill and their sail boat?'' 


8. Pass out worksheet. Students match the correct picture name with its picture. Students also have to write the correct picture name below the picture. All words have ea=/E/.


9. For assessment, call one child at a time to work at the desk.  To assess the student's knowledge of the correspondence ea = /E/ have them read the following pseudo words from small flashcards: leat, det, beal, fea, tep, heak. (Check to make sure students understand that ea=/E/ and e=/e/.)



Tongue Tickler:

Taylor, Hanna-Oh, Oh, Oh!

Freeman, Katie- Let���s go fly a kite!



Jean and Dean Worksheet

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