Ella the Elephant
Beginning Reading Lesson
Christy Turner

    For children who are just beginning to read, vowels are very important concepts that need to be covered.  Short vowels, starting with a = /a/ and leading to e = /e/, and long vowels, such as a = /A/ and e = /E/, are the building blocks of our language.  By being phonemically aware, students will be able to recognize vowels and their sounds with greater ease and be able to successfully blend whole words.  This lesson will guide students to understand the correspondence of e = /e/ and assist them in reading and writing with this correspondence.

1. Copy of Red Gets Fed
2. Large-print typed copy of the tongue twister “Ella the elephant fed her pet gecko
3. Phoneme graphic of a creaky door
4. List of words for students to compare sounds
5. Whiteboard
6. Whiteboard markers
7. Letterboxes for each student
8. Letter manipulatives for each student
9. List of words for letterbox lesson
10. Paper and pen for running records

1.  I will begin the lesson by explaining that without language, it would be very difficult for us to communicate our wants and needs and ideas to one another.  I will then explain that the grapheme we will be covering is e. Next, I’ll model the word for the students.   “The sound 'eeeh' can be found in words like bed and dress.  Can you say bed?  “Now can you say dress? Great job!!”

2.  Next I will explain that the short e sound is like an old creaky door “eeeeh”.   I will show the class the phoneme graphic of the old door.  “Okay, now I want everybody to make the old creaky door sound with me, ready?”  [everyone] "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhh?”  “Great job!”

3.  We will then go over our poster with the tongue twister on it.  “Okay, I want eeeeeeeeeeeverybody to listen veeeeeeeeery carefully to the tongue twister because not all of the eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh sounds come at the beginning.  Ella the elephant fed her pet gecko.  Eeeeeeeeeella the eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelephant feeeeeeed her peeeeeeeet geeeeeeeeecko.  Now who can tell me where, besides the beginning, did some of the eeeeeh sounds fall…and in what words?”  [“In the middle of fed, pet, and gecko.”]  “Eeeeeeeeeexcelleeeeeeeeent!  Now let’s all do it together!”  The whole class will then say the tongue twister together, extending the eeeeeh sounds when they come to them.

4.  I will then ask students to compare sets of words with each other.  “Now we’re going to look at word pairs.  I’m going to read two words out and you’ll tell me whether you hear eeeeeh in one word or the other.  Are you ready?  Do you hear eeeh in bed or seat?  Do you hear eeeh in yellow or green?  Do you hear eeeh in pen or marker?  Do you hear eeeh in television or movie?  Good job!  You did eeeeeeeexcellent!”

5.  Next we will do a letterbox lesson to spell words.  I will hand each student a set of boxes to use for the lesson.  I will then explain, “For the letterbox lesson, I am going to read out a word, and I want you to spell it in your boxes.  Now, don’t forget that each little box represents ONE sound in the word.  For example [I will turn and draw three boxes on the board to portray my letterboxes] if I were to spell the word peck, I would put the p in my first box because I hear p-p-p, then I will listen for the next sound…eeeeeh.  So I will put an e in the next box.  Finally, I’ll go to the last sound of the word k-k-k.  But I know that it is ck because it is a digraph that follows a short vowel and since c-k makes one sound, both of those letters will go in the last box.  

6.  After I demonstrate the letterbox lesson, I will begin to administer the lesson to the class by reading off the following words as they spell them:  3: [end, fed, bell, jet]; 4: [smell, sled, nest, bend]; 5: [spent, trend].

7.  After we finish the spelling portion of the lesson, I will write the words on the white board and have the students read them to me one by one.

8.  “Now that we finished with the words from our letterboxes, I’m going to write down some pretend words and we’ll see how we can read them.  Now, these words aren’t real, but they may look like some real ones that you have come across before.”  I will then write the following pseudo words on the board : heb, sem, nep.

9.  “Great job with the letterbox lesson!  We’re going to read the book Red Gets Fed.  This book is about a dog named Red who is really hungry in the morning and needs to find somebody to feed him.  Do any of you have a dog at home?  Do you have any other kind of pets at home?”

 I will assess the students’ reading of Red Gets Fed by taking a running record while they read.

Cushman, Sheila.  Red Gets Fed.

Murray, Bruce.  The Reading Genie.  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/

Stevens, Elizabeth.  Elephants and Eggs.  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/odysseys/stevensbr.html

White, Amy.  E-E-E-E-Extra E-E-E-E-Effort.  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/odysseys/whitebr.html

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