Let’s Eat and Read at the Beach!


A Beginning Reading Lesson

Leah Hooks


Rationale: 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 word pronunciations. In this lesson children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling ea. They will learn a meaningful representation (confused man saying Oh?), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence ea = /E/.



Graphic of woman with open hands shrieking

Cover-up critter

Whiteboard or smart board

Elkonin boxes for modeling and individual Elkonin letterboxes for each student

letter manipulatives for each child

Magnetic or smart board letters for teacher: e, c, d, k, n, o, p, r, s, t

List of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: eat, each, sea, beam, seat, beach, mean, cream, least

Decodable text The Mean Geese and assessment worksheet. 


Procedure: 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 pet, and today we are going to learn about long E and how ea is used to make E say its name, /E/. When I say /E/ I think of a woman who has been scared by a mice running by saying “Eek!! That squeaky and sneaky mouse made me squeal!! [show graphic image]. Now let’s look at the spelling of /E/ that we’ll learn today. One way to spell /E/ is by combing e and a to make ea, and when these letters are put together they say /E/. [Write ea on the board.] 


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 e say its name /E/ and my Mouth opens with my tongue my behind bottom teeth. [Make vocal gesture for /E/.] I’ll show you first: meat. I heard e say its name and I felt my mouth open and my tongue behind my bottom teeth [show mouth opening]. There is a long E in meat. Now I’m going to see if it’s in pet. Hmm, I didn’t hear e say its name and make the sound like the lady did when she saw the mice. Now you try. If you hear /E/ say, “That sneaky mouse made me squeal!” If you don’t hear /E/ say, “That e is not on this team.” Is it in snow, mean, pants, seat, nose, lips? [Have children listen for the E say its own name]


3. What if I want to spell the word beach? “I will go to the beach this summer to swim in the sea.” Have you ever been to the beach? It is the place where sand and the ocean are located. To spell beach in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /b//ea//ch/. I need 3 boxes. I heard that /E/ just before the /ch/ so I’m going to put an ea in the 2nd box. The word starts with /b/, that’s easy; I need a b. Now it gets a little tricky so I’m going to say it slowly, /b//ea//ch/. I think I heard /ch/. What two letters make the ch sound? Yes, we will place this after the ea. [Display poster with beach on the top 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-ea, /bE/. Now I’ll put that chunk together with the last sound, /bE-ch/. Oh, beach, like “It was very hot when we went to the beach.”


4. Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start out easy with two boxes for eat. 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 that you will need an e and an a in these words to make the /E/ sound.  Here’s the word: mean, He was being mean on the playground when he took the swing from her; mean. [Allow children to spell remaining words, giving sentences for each word: each, sea, beam, seat, beach, cream, least.]  


5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you’ve spelled. [Show the words eat, each, sea, beam, seat, beach, mean, cream, least. 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/: ea. Now we are going to read a book called The Mean Geese. The geese in this book are not very nice at all!! First they scare Scat’s kittens, and now they are after Lad! Oh no I think they are after Ben too! We will have to read to see what these mean geese do! Let’s pair up and take turns reading The Mean Geese to find out what they do next. [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 Mean Geese chorally, stopping between page turns to discuss the story.] 


7. Say: Before we finish up with our lesson about one way to spell /E/ = ea, I want to see how you can solve a reading problem. On this worksheet, we have some words missing. Your job is to look in the box of word choices, and decide which ea word fits best to make this short story make sense. First, we are going to read all of the choices in the box and then read the sentences to see which one fits best. After we choose the words in the sentences, we will reread all of them again to make sure they all make sense. [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.]



Ali Long, Eek! Run from that Bee!: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invitations/longbr.html


Assessment worksheet:http://www.funfonix.com/book1/ffonix_book1_2.gif

Murray, G. (2004) The Mean Geese. Reading Genie: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html


Davis, Courtney. Wee with EE! http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/solutions/davisbr.htm




Return to the Rendezvous Index