Ellie the Elephant Entered the Elevator Excitedly

Beginning Reading Design

By: Jessica C.R.



Rationale: The goal of this lesson is to teach phoneme awareness and vowel recognition for /e/=e. Phoneme awareness is a crucial skill needed for children to begin reading. Through activities such as a letterbox lesson and reading a decodable book, students will learn this correspondence and be able to put it into practice.



-Red Gets Fed (book for each student)

-Letterboxes for each student

-Letter tiles for each student

- Pseudowords (het, brez, steb, splef, wex)

-Large laminated picture of e

-Picture of old man (vowel sound picture)

-Tongue tickler to write on the board

-Picture of Ellie the elephant

-Assessment Worksheet



-Learning our letters is very important for all of us because we all want to be great readers. If we do not learn all of our letters and what each of them says, we will not be able to decode and read words. Today we are going to learn about the short vowel e.

-Introduce the letter by showing it to the kids on a large laminated piece of paper. Can anybody tell me what letter this is? This is the letter e and it is also a vowel. Today we are going to learn about the short sound this letter makes. Show them the picture of an old man cupping his ear like he cannot hear. The short e sounds like an old man who can’t hear and says eeeeee? Have the kids do this motion and sound with you to make sure they understand how it sounds. Next, show kids tongue twister (Ellie the Elephant entered the elevator excitedly) and picture of Ellie. Identify the short e’s on picture then have them say tongue tickler all together.

-Now that we know what short e sounds like, I want to see if you can pick it out when you hear these words. If you hear the ‘eeee’ I want you to raise your trunk like Ellie would do. Model the first word: egg. Go through list of words with short e: bed, help, slab, stress, gift, nest.

-Everyone should have letterboxes and letter tiles on their desks. Make sure all of the letters are turned over so you can see them. Model how to use letterboxes. My word is sped-ssssssspppppeeeedddd. I hear s so my first box will be an s. Next, I hear p so the second box will be a p. Next I hear e so my third box will be e. Lastly, I hear d so my last box will have a d. Now you try. Give children words: (3)red, (4)dress, bent, sled, (5)blend, (6)strength. As they do this, walk around the room and monitor the progress and assist where help is needed.

-Now I am going to let you read the words you spelled. I will model again how to read the word from my letterbox: sped. I hear s so my first box will be an s. Next, I hear p so the second box will be a p. Next I hear e so my third box will be e. Lastly, I hear d so my last box will have a d. Call on every student to read the word in their box, whether real or pseudo. Make sure to give praise!

-Next, we are going to read a book called Red Gets Fed. This book is about a cute dog named Red. Red is very hungry and he wants to eat as much food as he can so he goes to different members of the family to see if they will feed him. We have to read the book to find out if they figure out his plan or if they all end up feeding him! As you read this book, when you come to a word you don’t know, sound it out by using your cover up critter and remember the ellie e. Show the kids the picture again to remind them.

-For assessment, students will complete an activity sheet.  The worksheet has 10 different words that contain "e," and have various missing letters for the students to fill in.  There are also pictures that they can color after completing the words.



-Linne, Virginia. Red Gets Fed. Educational Insights, 1990. Print.

-Murray, Bruce. Reading Genie: Hand Gestures for Phonemes


1.      Assessment Worksheet:


2.      Timberly Farley: Elephant Elmo is Excited


Return to Epiphanies Page