Excellent Explorers


Associate the letter E (and lowercase e) with the short /e/ sound (e.g., egg, explode, elephant).

Lesson Plan

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Target Words:

  • excellent
  • explorer
  • elephant
  • egg
  • envelope
  • explode


  • Binoculars (made from toilet paper, paper towel rolls, or half sheets of paper rolled into cylinders and taped together)
  • Word and picture cards (see below)
  • Envelope
  • Letter cards (see below)
  • Magnifying glass or picture of a magnifying glass (see below)
  • Word blending cards (see below)
  • Writing practice page (see below)

State and model the objective

Tell the children they will explore the room and find pictures of words that start with the /e/ sound as they practice saying the /e/ sound in words that begin with the letter E such as excellent, explorer, and egg.

Practice the skill within an activity

Be excellent explorers

  • Help the children make binoculars by taping toilet paper rolls (or roll half sheets of paper into cylinders) and attaching a string (you may choose to make the binoculars before the activity to save time).
  • Place the picture cards (see below) around the room (elephant, egg, envelope, elk, elevator, emerald, elf, end of the elephant).
  • While emphasizing the target sound tell the children to use the pretend binoculars to explore the room for pictures of things that start with the letter E.
  • When a child finds a word or picture beginning with E have him/her say, “I found an ______.”
  • Tell the children to write the letter E on the picture then place it in an envelope.
  • Repeat the activity using word cards (see below) and have the children circle the letter E on the word cards. Provide help with reading the written words.

The exploding envelope

  • Place letter E (and lowercase e) letter cards in an envelope.
  • Make the Es explode out of the envelope by turning it inside out then show the children the empty envelope.
  • Let the children examine the Es with a magnifying glass after they explode from the envelope.
  • Have the children gather up the letter cards and put them in the envelope saying, ”I put an E in the envelope” or “Will the envelope with Es explode?”
  • Repeat the activity using picture and word cards beginning with the E sound (optional).

Pretend to be exhausted

  • Comment on the things the children did (e.g. explore for elephants, examine Es, make envelopes explode) and say, “Wow, that’s exhausting!!! Are you explorers exhausted?” You may want to explain that to be exhausted means you are very tired.

Apply the skill (choose from the following)

Identify, blend and manipulate sounds

  • Have children identify the beginning, middle and ending sounds of words by tapping their shoulder (beginning), their elbow (middle) and end (fingers) (e.g. cat = /c/ tap shoulder, /a/ tap elbow, /t/ tap fingers):
    • red = /r/ /e/ /d/
    • let = /l/ /e/ /t/
    • pen = /p/ /e/ /n/
    • end = /e/ /n/ /d/
  • Have children blend individual sounds into words by tapping their shoulder (beginning sound), their elbow (middle sound) and fingers (ending sound) then clap to say the whole word (e.g. /c/ tap shoulder, /a/ tap elbow, /t/ tap fingers = cat clap hands)
    • /r/ /e/ /d/ = red
    • /l/ /e/ /t/ = let
    • /p/ /e/ /n/ = pen
    • /e/ /n/ /d/ = end
  • With word blending cards (see below), have the children make new words by changing the vowel or either of the consonants:
    • Change the beginning sound: pet → net; red → bed
    • Change the ending sound: let → led; met → men
    • Change the middle sound: set → sat; pen → pan; net → not

Write the target letter with a practice writing page (see below)

  • Help the children write the capital letter E and the lowercase letter e using the practice writing page. Then let them draw pictures of things they found while exploring that start with E.



See More

1. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.1.D: Recognize and name all upper and lower case letters in the alphabet.
2. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.3.A: Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary sound or many of the most frequent sounds for each consonant.