EEEEK! There’s a Mouse!


Beginning Reading Lesson

By: Elizabeth Thomas



Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence ee = /E/. In order to be able to read, children must learn to recognize the spellings that map word pronunciations. In this lesson children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling ee. They will learn a meaningful representation (a scared elephant saying EEEEK when it sees a mouse.) They will spell and read words containing this spelling in a letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence ee = /E/.


Materials: Graphic image of scared elephant; cover-up critter; whiteboard or smartboard Elkonin boxes for modeling and individual Elkonin letterboxes for each student; letter manipulatives for each child and magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher: e,b,d,f,g,s,t,r,l,p,w,k; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: Seek, Greek, steel, street, bleed, greed, speed, sweep, fleet, bled, dreek; decodable text The Bee Tree, and assessment worksheet.


1. Say: In order to become expert readers we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. We have already learned to read short vowel words with e, like bled, and today we are going to learn about how the letters ee make the long E sound. When I say /E/ I think of a scared elephant that says EEEK when it sees a mouse! [Show graphic image]. Now let’s look at the spelling of /E/ that we’ll learn today. One way to spell /E/ is with the letters ee [Write ee on the board.] The two little e’s together make one big E sound.


2. Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /E/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I

listen for /E/ in words; I hear ee say its name /E/ and my lips spread apart like I am smiling but my mouth does not close. [Make vocal gesture for /E/.] I’ll show you first: Seek. I heard ee say its name and I felt my lips make a smile [make a swiping motion around smiling lips]. There is a long E in seek. Now I’m going to see if it’s in bled. Hmm, I didn’t hear ee say its name and my mouth was open like a yawn. Now you try. If you hear /E/ say, “EEEK!” If you don’t hear /E/ say, “That’s not it.” Is it in swing, dress, smell, block, clam lips? [Have children make swiping motion from the left side of the smile to the right when they feel /E/ say its name.]



 3. Say: What if I want to spell the word green? “Today I will try on a new green pair of shoes.” To spell green  in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /g//r//ee//n/. I need 4 boxes. I heard that /E/ just before the /n/ so I’m going to put an ee in the 3rd  box The word starts with /g/, that’s easy; I need an g. Now it gets a little tricky so I’m going to say it slowly,

/g//r//ee//n/. I think I heard /r/ so I’ll put an r right after the g. Now time for the E. Since the ee makes the E sound it will go in the 3rd letterbox. But with ee it will go in the same box because it makes one E sound. You do not hear two different sounds. Together they make the scared elephant sound.  [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /g//r//ee//n/.] Now I’ll show you how I would read a tough word. [Display poster with spoke on the top and model reading the word.] I’m going to start with the ee; that part says /E/. Now I’m going to put the beginning letters with it: g-r-ee, /grE/. Now I’ll put that chunk together with the last sound, /grE-n/. Oh, green, like “My favorite color is green.”


4. Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start out easy with two boxes for see. See means to look, “I can look out of the window and see a big bird!  What about ee, did you remember to put both ee in one box? I’ll check your spelling while I walk around the room. [Observe progress.] You’ll need three letterboxes for the next word. Listen for the beginning sound to spell in the first box. Then listen for /E/ and don’t forget to put the ee in one letterbox. Here’s the word: need, I need a new book, need. [Allow children to spell remaining words, giving sentences for each word: Seek, Greek, steel, street, bleed, greed, speed, sweep]


5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you’ve spelled. [Show the words Seek, Greek, steel, street, bleed, greed, speed, sweep, the extra words fleet and bled, and the pseudoword dreek. Have children read words in unison. Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.]


6. Say: You’ve done a great job and reading words with our new spelling for /E/: ee. Now we are going to read a book called The Bee Tree. When Mary Ellen gets bored with her reading, Grandpa knows a hunt for a bee tree is just what she needs. Half the town joins the exciting chase, but it’s not until everyone returns home that Mary Ellen makes a discovery of her own: Sometimes, even the sweetest of things must be worked for. What is the discovery that Ellen makes? We will have to read to find out!  Let’s pair up and take turns reading The Bee Tree to find out what happens. [Children pair up and take turns reading alternate pages each while teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads The Bee Tree chorally, stopping between page turns to discuss the story.]


7. Say: Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /E/ = ee, I want to see how you can solve a reading problem. On this worksheet, we have hidden words that have ee spellings in them. Your job is to look in the box of word choices, and find the ee words that are hidden in the puzzle. First try reading all the words in the box, then choose one of the ee words to search for. Highlight the word once you have found it! Reread all of the highlighted words to make sure they make sense!


Assessment: I will have the students read a story that have the ee correspondence along with other Long E and short e words. They will have the circle only the words with the long E sound.



Online Reference: Murray, G. Reading Genie:


Oh My! By: Traci Leech


Book: Patricia Polacco, The Bee Tree, Puffin, C. 1998 p. 1-32

Return to Rendezvous Index