expanding engine

Expanding Engine

Expanding Engine
Target text


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

See Standards

Lesson Plan

Target Words:

  • engine
  • end
  • expand
  • explode
  • excellent


  • Engine graphic
  • Picture and word cards
  • E and e letter cards
  • Train car graphics
  • Word blending cards
  • Writing practice page

The children will play with an expanding engine as they practice saying the /e/ sound in words beginning with the letter E, such as end, engine, and explode.

Literacy Activities
An expanding engine

  • Cut, glue, and fold the engine graphic along the dotted lines to create an expanding engine.
  • Have the children help you expand the engine by unfolding the paper.
  • While emphasizing the target sound, tell the children that the expanding engine will hold pictures of things that start with the /e/ sound like engine.
  • Lay out the E and non-E picture cards and have the children sort the pictures.
  • Have the children label each picture by writing the letter E or e on each picture as they make comments such as “envelope starts with E.”
  • Let the children put the pictures that start with E in the pockets of the expanding engine.

The excellent engine

  • Fill the pockets of the engine from the previous activity with picture cards and E letter cards.
  • Comment that the engine is excellent.
  • Pull the ends of the train in and out quickly so that the picture and word cards fall out, then comment that the engine exploded!
  • Have the children "explode" by crouching down low and then jumping up high.
  • Comment that because the engine exploded, maybe it is not such an excellent engine after all.

Extending the train

  • Give the children word cards and have them circle the letter E at the beginning of each word that starts with E (support reading as necessary).
  • Have the children tape the word cards to the extra train cars.
  • Attach the train cars to the engine from the previous activity to extend the train.
  • Let the children put an E word at the end of the train.
  • Allow the children to drive the excellent engine around the edges of the room.

More Practice
Identify, blend, and manipulate sounds

  • Have the children identify the beginning, middle, and ending sounds of words by tapping their head (beginning), their shoulders (middle) and their hips (end) (e.g., met = /m/ tap shoulder, /e/ tap elbow, /t/ tap fingers).
    • red = r  + e  + d
    • set = s + e  + t
    • bed = b  + e  + d
    • pen = p  + e  + n
  • 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.
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SEEL lessons align with Common Core Standards. Please see the standards page for the code(s) associated with this lesson.