"WEEEEE! This is fun!"


Beginning Reading Lesson Design

 by: Bess Findley




        This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence  ea = /E/. In order to be able to read, children must learn to recognize the spellings that map out how words are pronounced. In this lesson, children will learn to recognize, read, and spell words containing the spelling "ea" . They will learn a meaningful representation  (saying "WEEE!" sliding down a slide with hands in the air), and they will participate in a letterbox lesson that will help them learn to read and spell the words. They will also read a decodable book that focuses on the ea = /E/ vowel correspondence.



Dry erase board, dry erase markers, assessment worksheet, image of kid sliding with arms in the air, pencils, The Mean Geese (copy for each student pair), letterboxes and letter tiles (for each student)



I will say, "If we are going to become expert readers, we have to learn the special code that tells us how to pronounce the words we want to read. If you turn your thinking caps on, you can remember that we already learned the part of the code that tells us how to pronounce words with the /e/ sound, like "met". Well, today we will crack the part of the code that tells us how to pronounce words with the long /E/ using the signal "ea" that is used to make "E" say its name, /E/.  When I say /E/ I think of sliding down a long slide and saying "Weee!" as I lift my hands in the air." (I will show an image of a boy sliding down a slide with his hands in the air) "In our special code, there is more than one way to spell the /E/ sound. One way to spell /E/ is with the letter "e" attached to the letter "a" that tells us to say "E's" name." (I will write "ea" on the white board) "The special code tells us that if you see "e" and "a" together in a word, you say "E's" name.

Lesson Reviews - I will say, "First, let's listen to some words and see if we can hear the /E/ sound in the words. When I listen for the /E/ sound in words, I hear "e" say its name /E/, and my lips open and spread apart, almost like I'm smiling really big." (I will demonstrate my mouth description and make the vocal gesture /E/) "I'll say some words with the /E/ sound to show you what I'm talking about first: beach. I heard "e" say its name, and I felt my lips open and spread apart really wide." (I will show the vocal gesture again, and point it out as I demonstrate) " There is a long E in beach. Now, I'm going to see if the long /E/ sound is in the word pet." (I will say the word pet two times) "Well, I didn't hear "e" say its name, and my lips didn't open and  spread apart, so the word pet doesn't have the long /E/ sound in it. Now I want you to try! I'm going to say some words, and if you hear the long /E/ sound I want you to carefully put your hands in the air, and say, "WEEE! This is fun!". If you don't hear the long /E/ sound, say, "That's not it.". Is the long /E/ sound in the word meet? seat? tall? reach? long? bit? meal?" (I will pause in between each word to give the students time to respond)

Model - I will ask, "What if I wanted to spell the word teach? I love to teach you everyday. Teach means to help you learn in this sentence. to spell teach in letterboxes, first I nee to know how many phonemes are in the word, so I stretch it out and count as I go: /t/ /E/ /ch/. I need 3 letterboxes. I hear that /E/ right before the /ch/ sound, so I'm going to put the "e" in the 2nd letterbox, and since I know we are using the "ea" letter combination today, I will put an "a" in the 2nd letterbox too.  The word starts with /t/, that's easy! I need to put a "t" in the first letterbox.  After I have made the first part of the word, the ending of the word might be a little trickier. I'm going to say the word slowly so we can figure it out together, /t/ - /E/ - /ch/. I heard the /ch/ sound at the end of the word, so who can remember what letters make the /ch/ sound?" (I will pause for student response, and they will most likely know that c+h = /ch/) "That's right! The /ch/ sound is made when "c" and "h" are together, so I will put a "c" and a "h" in the 3rd letterbox. Now I will show you how to read a tough word." (I will display the word bleach and model reading the word) "I'm going to start with the "ea"; that part says /E/. Now I'm going to put the beginning letters with it; b-l-ea, /blE/. Now, to finish the word, I will put that word chunk together with the last sound, /ch/. /blE-ch/. Ohh, bleach, like "My mom uses bleach when she is doing laundry."

Activity Part One (spelling) -  I will say, "Now I'm going to have you spell some words in your own letterboxes! You'll start out easy with just two boxes for the word tea. Tea is a drink that can be sweet or bitter like in the sentence "My mom loves sweet tea, but my dad only drinks unsweet tea." So, in the word tea do you remember where would you put the "ea" in your letterboxes? I am going to walk around and check everyone's spelling." (I will observe as students attempt to spell the word in their letterboxes) "Okay, great! Now, you will need three letterboxes for our next word. Listen for the the beginning sound to help you spell the first part of the word in the first box. Then listen for /E/, and don't forget to put the "e" and "a" together to make "E" say its name. The word I want you to spell is read, like in the sentence "I love to read at home!"; read." (I will observe as the students spell the word read in their letterboxes, and then I will have them spell the remaining words, giving sentences for each word. The words are: pea, steam, peach, beam, and cream

Activity Part Two (reading words) - After the students are finished spelling the words in their letterboxes, I will say, "Now I am going to let you read the words you've worked so hard to spell!" (I will display the words pea, steam, peach, beam, and cream the extra words please and streak. I will also display the pseudo-word sleard) "As I point to a word, I want you all to read it out loud together." (I will point to each word as the students read the words they have spelled in unison) "These last three words are new, so let's read them together." (I will point to the two new words, and then the pseudo-word and guide the students as they read them in unison) "I am going to call on the quietest volunteers to come up and read a word to the class off of the white board." (I will call on volunteers until each student that wishes to attempt has had a turn)

Activity Part Three (whole text reading) – I will say, "You've done a wonderful job reading words with our new spelling for the long /E/: "ea". Now we are going to read a book called The Mean Geese. This is a story of a dog named Lad who goes to a stream one day for a drink of water and discovers his friend, Scat the cat, and her kittens being bullied by some mean geese. Let's pair up and take turns reading The Mean Geese to find out what Lad does next." (I will walk around the room and observe the students as they take turns reading the book, monitoring their progress. After all of the students are finished, I will re-read The Mean Geese to the class. I will stop after every page and we will discuss what is going on in the story as a class.)



To assess the students' understanding of the new vowel correspondence ea = /E/, I will have them solve a reading problem. I will say, "Before we are finished with our lesson about one of the ways to spell the long /E/ sound, ea = /E/, I want to see if you can solve a reading problem! On this worksheet I am about to pass out to each of you there are some missing words. Your job to help solve this reading problem is to look in the box of choices at the top of the page, and decide which "ea" word fits best in the blank to make sense of this short story. Start by reading each of the words in the box so that you are familiar with your choices. Then, read each sentence until you come to a blank, and choose which word to put each space. After you choose a word for a blank, re-read the sentence to make sure it makes sense. When you have filled all of the blanks on the worksheet, you should re-read the story to make sure it all makes sense. When you are finished, and you have re-read to check your work, bring them to the basket on my desk. After everyone is done, I will call on special volunteers that worked help me read the story to the class." (Before I choose volunteers to share, evaluate students' work)




"Oh, I didn't know!" by: Gerri Murray http://www.auburn.edu/%7Emurrag1/BRMurrayG.htm


Murray, G. (2006) The Mean Geese. Reading Genie: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html


Assessment Worksheet: Original – Attached below





Name: _________________________________


Short Story Word Search with /E/



Using the /E/ words in the word bank below, fill in the blank spaces to make the short story make sense. Re-read to check your work.


                                       /E/ Word Bank:













Short Story:

        One Summer day, Ted and Sarah were bored.  They wanted to go to the __________ beach to play in the sand.  Ted asked his mom, "Mom, will


 you  __________ take us to the beach?"  Ted and Sara's mom agreed. The drive was very long, but once they __________ the beach, they were very


 happy.  The sun was ___________ down on the sand. Ted and Sara began to build a huge sand mound, as their mom began to __________ her book.


  Ted and Sara took turns __________ over their sand mound. They all had a great day!

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