Beginning Reading

Ehhh, Goes Elmer the Creaky Door

By: Shea Brennaman

Beginning Reading

Rationale: In this lesson the students will be working on the short vowel correspondence, e=/e/. When students are learning to read it is critical that they gain phoneme awareness which means that should have an awareness of short vowel sounds. Students should be able to recognize phonemes in spoken words before they recognize the match between letters and phonemes. During this lesson, students will learn to read, recognize, and spell words that contain e=/e/. They will be provided with a meaningful representation (the sound a creaky door makes,) they will take part in an activity where they must differentiate between short e words and other words, they will do a letterbox lesson, and they will read a decodable text that focuses on the correspondence e=/e/.


  1. Big sheets of paper that have short e words on them as well as words that are not short e

  2. Markers to write on the big sheets of paper

  3. Pencils for assessment

  4. The book “Get the Pets” by Wayne Miller

  5. Letterboxes and letter tiles for each child

  6. Primary paper

  7. Poster with letterbox lesson words on it to hang on the board


  1. Say: “Today we will be working on short e words! Halloween is just around the corner and today I have a special activity planned for you all! Imagine you are in a haunted house and you heard a door behind you open very slowly and it makes a creepy ehhhhhhhhhhh sound! Say ehhhhhhhh with me! Very good! That ehhhhhhhhhh sound that we just made is the sound we will be working with today.”

  2. Say: “Now we will work on our letterbox lesson!

    1. Our first word is set, for this word lets stretch out the sounds ssseeettt, very good. Where did you all hear the ehhh sound in set? If you heard it in the middle, very good job, if you didn’t keep stretching out that word and listen carefully for that creaky door sound!

    2. The next word is best, as in “candy is the best” remember to stretch the word out!

    3. Next we have wept, as in “the ghost wept all night” wwweeepppttt

    4. I want you to use this process of stretching out the words and using them in sentences for the next few words: fell, dress, and help

    5. Let’s try this next word, fish “I have a fish in my hair” now stretch it out fffiiissshhh. Does this word need an e? Why or why not?” (It’s because the ehhh sound is not in this word).

  3. Say: “First we will look at several words on the big sheets of paper. I want you all to read these words to me, some of them will be short e words and some of them won’t be. Remember we are looking for the ehhhhhhh sound! Look out for the words that contain that ehhhhhh sound because those are our short e words!”

Short e words:

  • Neck

  • Bet

  • Step

  • Rest

  • Men

Not short e words:

  • Can

  • Run

  • Ant

  • Fist

  • Top

  1. Say: “Before I read us our book, I want you to grab a sheet of primary paper and write three sentences using our letterbox words from today, once you finish I want you to exchange papers with the person on your left and read each other’s sentences aloud. If you need any help remembering the letterbox words, I will put up a poster of our words from today.”

  2. Say: “Very good job on your letterbox lessons! Next I’m going to read the book “Get the Pets” to you all. In this book, Tam and Tom both have pets, Tam has a bunny and Tom has 10 ducklings. Tom is going to feed his baby ducklings by placing a pan in their pen when his baby ducklings escape from their pen! Will Tom ever be able to catch them all!? There’s so many of them and they’re so little, we’ll have to finish the book to find out! Whenever you hear me say a short e word I want you all to raise your hand as high as you can so I can see all of you!”

  • Assessment: students will write down as many short e words as they can and will read them aloud to the class.


Miller, Wayne. Get the Pets.

Tolleson, Lauren. “Ehhhh" Goes The Squeaky Door.