Ehhh, I Think So…




A Beginning Reading Lesson

Courtney Jones


Rationale: The goal of this lesson is for students to gain an understanding of the vowel correspondence e = /e/.  Children must have an understanding of this concept in order to begin reading.  Also, this understanding will allow them to move on the next short vowel correspondence since they are taught in alphabetical order.  After students completer this lesson they will be able to spell and read words containing e = /e/.  The short e sound will be memorable to them through from the "ehhh, I don't know" phrase.  Students will gain spelling knowledge through a letterbox lesson.  Learning to read words with the short e sound will be accomplished through the use of decodable text.



Picture of confused man (shown above)

Decodable book- Elf in the Tent

Elkonin letter boxes for each student

Letter tiles for each child: b, d, e, g, h, l, n, p, r, s, t (2), w           

Enlarged Elkonin boxes for teach to use during modeling

Magnetic letters for enlarged Elkonin boxes

White board

List of words for white board: bed, lend, west, help, slept, spend, strength, pent, past, and blept

Expo marker

Assessment worksheet



1. Say: We are going to continue learning the sounds that short vowels make so that we will be able to read more words and books.  We just finished with short a, so now we're moving on to the short e sound.  When e is in the middle of a word it says /e/.  A saying that helps me to remember that sound is, "ehhhh, I think so." (Show image.) Spelling with e is very simple.  It just goes in between two consonants. For example, wet. (Write w-e-t on the board.  Point out that e is between two consonants.)


2. Say: If we want to be good spellers we have to be good listeners first.  Listen for words /e/ in the words I'm about to say.  When my mouth makes the /e/ sound it opens up just a little and my tongue isn't touching my teeth or lips. (Show mouth movement for /e/).  Since my mouth only opens a little you'll have to look really close.  Watch me: leg.  I heard that /e/ sound in the middle of leg. Did you notice how my tongue was touching my teeth in /l/ and /g/?  Let's see if our /e/ sound is in hop.  I didn't see or hear /e/ in that word.  My mouth opened too wide.  Now let's practice together.  If you hear /e/ in my words I want you to say, "Ehh, I think so."  If you do not hear /e/ in my words I want you to say, "No way." Cent? Dime? House? Tent? Left? Right?


3. Imagine what you would do if you wanted to spell the word shred.  "I shred cheese to put on my taco." Shred just means you cut something into little pieces.  Before we spell shred in our Elkonin boxes we need to know how many phonemes the word has.  Let's count the sounds as I stretch it out: /sh//r//e//d/.  I counted four phonemes which means we need four boxes.  I heard /e/ right before the d at the end so I'm going to put e in our third box.  Our first sound is a little tricky.  It has an s and an h together to make the shhhh sound.  Both of those letters will go in the first box since they work together to make a sound.  Shred. Now, I think I heard that r sound between shhhh and ehhhh.  So let's put an r in our second box.  Now we just need an ending sound.  Shred. That sounds like a d to me so I'm going to add that letter to the last box.  Since you got the hang of that I'm going to show you and even harder word.  (Write spent on the board). I will start with the letter e since we know what sound that makes now.   Next, I'm going to add the beginning letters to the e: s-p-e /spe/.  Now we just have to finish it up with the n and t. S-p-e-n-t. /spent/.  As in, "I spent my allowance at the toy store."


4. Say:  It's your turn to spell some words on your own using your boxes. Let's start with a simple word.  Bed.  My bed is very comfy.  Did you remember to put your e between two consonants? (Walk around and check spelling.)  This next word will need four boxes. Remember the e goes between two consonants. Your job is to figure out which two.  The word is lend.  Lend means to give someone something helpful.  Could you lend me a few dollars?   (Continue the same process for the following words: (west, help, slept, spend, strength).


5. Say: Now we're going to read the words you spelled on your own.  (Write the words bed, lend, west, help, slept, spend, and strength on the board.  Also add pent, past, and the pseudoword blept. Students will read the words together as a class.  Next, chose one student to read one word.  Continue until each student has read a word.)


6. Say: You've done so well reading the words from the board I think it's time to move on to a book!  The title of our book is Elf in the Tent.  This book is about a girl named Jan who gets a tent.  She really wants to go camping.  Her dad takes her and her pet.  I want you to buddy read with your partner and let's find out what it's like to take a pet camping. (Walk around as students buddy read.  After each pair of students has finished, read the book aloud to the class as they follow along.  Stop throughout the book for comprehension questions.)


7. Say: We have one last thing to do that will give us practice with that /e/ sound.  The first step on this worksheet is to look at the picture.  For example, the first picture shows us a pen so that is the word we're going to spell.  Start with the first sound.  Once you find that letter next to the picture, you will connect the first letter to the second.  Then you connect the second letter to the third.  Once you've chosen your letters read them to make sure your word tells you what the picture is. (Take work up once it is complete.  Check each individual's success.)




Murray, G.  Elf in the Tent. Reading Gene:  


Assessment Worksheet:


Ick! by Kayla Wesley:


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