Excellent Explorers


Associate the uppercase letter E and lowercase letter e with the short /e/ sound in words such as egg, explode, and elephant.

Lesson Plan

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Target Words:

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


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

The children will explore the room to 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.

Literacy Activities
Be excellent explorers

  • Help the children make binoculars by taping toilet paper rolls (or rolled half-sheets of paper) and attaching a string (you may choose to make the binoculars before the activity to save time).
  • Place the picture cards around the room .
  • 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 a picture beginning with E, have him or her say, “I found an ___.”
  • Tell the children to write the letter E on the picture and then place it in an envelope.
  • Repeat the activity using word cards, and have the children circle the letter E on the word cards. Provide help with reading the written words.

The exploding envelope

  • Place uppercase 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 while they say, ”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.

More Practice
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 their fingers (end; 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 the children blend individual sounds into words by tapping their shoulder (beginning), their elbow (middle), and their fingers (end) and 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, 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

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



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1. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.1.D: Recognize and name all upper- and lowercase 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.