"Eeeehhh, What Did You Say?"

Beginning Reading

Sarah Jane Brock


Rationale: In order for our students to read with fluency, they have to become familiar, not only with the phoneme of each letter, but with the way it is written as well. They have to learn the importance of decoding written words which will lead to reading and comprehending words fluently. It is imperative that we teach our students consonants but most importantly vowels as well. During the lesson, I will focus on vowel correspondence e=/e/. This correspondence will be taught with a memorable letterbox lesson, which involves the use of gestures, tongue twisters, letterboxes, and reading a decodable text. The students will learn /e/ by using many different methods.


-         Worksheet that has pictures whose name has /e/ in them and a list of words beside each picture

-         Pencils

-         Crayons

-         Red Gets Fed book (copy for each student)

-         Overhead projector

-         Letterboxes (for each student and teacher)

-         Letters: E,e,d,n,b,p,c,k,s,t,w,f,l,a,g,

-         White board and dry erase markers

-         Picture of ear and hand gesture

-         Word list for each student of words spelled in the letterbox lessons: (2)-Ed, (3)-Den, bed, peck (4)-sent, west, flag, (5)- bend.


1. "Today we are going to learn about the sound that the letter /e/ makes. We read a lot of words everyday that have the letter /e/ in them. Can you tell me some words that have /e/ in them? The letter /e/ says /e/. Everybody says it with me now. Good Job!"

2. Before we can learn how to recognize the letter /e/ and pronounce it we first need to work on writing it. Everybody get out your white boards and lets write it together (go ahead and put primary lines on the board). Everybody follow me and listen to what I say. "To make a little /e/, you should 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 sometimes it is hard to remember all the letters and how they sound; so today we are going to learn how to remember /e/ when we see it." "Have you ever seen your grandfather cup his hand behind his ear and say, 'sweetie can you say that again?' Well that motion can help us every time we hear the sound /e/. "Let’s practice together." Make sure the children are all following along.

4. "Now I want you to practice recognizing the recognizing the/e/ in a sentence." "Every time you hear /e/ I want you to cup you hand behind your ear. Are we ready?" Read following sentence at a slow pace allowing the student to have time to put their hands behind their ears. Ok, 'Everybody saw Eddie and the Eskimo enter the elevator on the elephant.' Good job class!"

5. "Now it’s your turn to say the sentence with me. Make sure you remember to put you hand behind your ear when you say /e/." Say the sentence with the students twice.

6. "Now the next thing we do is going to be a little different but still involves the hand behind the ear. So this time I want you to carry out the e-e-e-e every time you hear the/e/ in one of the words in the sentence. For example, when we say Eddie I want you to say ‘EEEEDDIE’ ok?" Say the sentence with the students twice.

7. "Now, everyone look at the white board. I have lots of different words written up here. I 'm going to read two of them to you, and I want you to tell me which one has /e/ in it. Remember it is important to use our hand gesture when saying the word." The following words written on the board: pet and dog, paper and pencil, led, and lost, stronger and weak.

8. "Now we are going to practice spelling and reading words that have /e/ in them." "Okay, now I want everyone to get their letterboxes and letter tiles out. Your eyes need to be up on the board while I show you how to use our letterboxes on the overhead. I have put four letterboxes up on the overhead, so I know my words have four sounds in the word. Our first word is bend. My first sound is /b/. Do you hear it? So now I want each one of you to put the /b/ in the first letterbox. Our second sound we hear is our vowel, /e/. So in the second box, I want you to put the letter /e/. Thirdly, I hear the sound /n/ so we are going to put an n in the third letterbox. And lastly, I want to hear a /d/. So put a /d/ in our last letterbox. Okay, now I want you to all try and spell some words on your own the same way I did." I will then read the words individually and with a sentence. I will also tell the students how many letterboxes they need to use so that they know how many sounds are in the word. The following words will be used: (2)-Ed, (3) den, bed, peck (4)- sent, west, flag, (5)- blend.  I will walk around and make sure each child is doing it correctly. If they cannot self correct it themselves that I will model it for them.

9. "I am going to read a new book today called Red Gets Fed. This book is about a dog name Red. Red is a very hungry and wants to be fed. He goes around and wakes up his owner, Meg, and her dad. We will have to find out if Red ends up getting fed or not." I will pass out a copy of the book and the students will be divided up into partners and read to each other.


 For the individual assessment, I will give the students a worksheet that has pictures of words whose name has /e/ in them. Beside each picture is a list of words. One of the words is the name of the picture. The students must read each of the words in the list to determine which word represents the picture. The students should then write that word below the picture. If they get it correctly then they have mastered the phoneme. For example, if the picture is of a bed, then the three words will be Bob, bed, blob. And the student would have to choose bed.


Cadrette, Mallory. (2007). Eeeehhh? I can’t Hear You!! A Beginning Reading Design.

            Auburn University Reading Genie Website: Retrieved on March 9, 2008



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


Murray, B.A.,& Lesniak, T. (1999). The Letterbox Lesson: A hands-on approach for

            teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.


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