Target text
Ten Hens in a Pen


Read and write words that end with -en.

Lesson Plan

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Target Words:

  • hen
  • pen
  • ten
  • men
  • Ben
  • Ken


  • Paper cup
  • Hen graphics
  • Craft sticks
  • Drum & mallet (or spoon and pan)
  • Word blending cards
  • Ten Hens in a Pen target text
  • Paper hen
  • iPad with the Hideout application installed, specifically the -en Hen activity (optional)

The children will pretend to put ten hens in a pen as they read and write words that end with -en, such as hen, ten, pen, and men.

Literacy Activities
Click here to view a video demonstration similar to this lesson.

Get ten hens in a pen

  • Explain to the children that a pen is a fence that keeps farm animals from getting away.
  • Place a paper cup with the bottom cut off on the table and tell the children that it is a hen pen. 
  • Write the words hen and pen so the children can see them.
  • Point out that the hens on craft sticks all have names that end with -en, then read the names aloud with the children.
  • Count the hens together as a group, then write the word ten so the children can see that it ends in -en as well.
  • Let the children take turns being men who put the ten hens in the pen and count as each hen is placed in the pen.
  • Once all the hens have been put in the pen, lift up the cup so the hens fall out and tell the children that the hens got out of the pen.
  • Repeat the activity, letting all the men (children) help read the names as they get the ten hens back in the pen.

More Practice
Identify, blend, and manipulate sounds

  • With word blending cards, have the children make new words by changing the vowel or either of the consonants:
    • hen pen, men ten, Ben Ken
    • pen pin, men man, ten → tin
    • men met, pen peg, yen yet

Read target words in a text 

  • Read the Ten Hens in a Pen target text together with the children.
  • Read the target text again, fading support.
  • Let the children take turns beating the drum when they hear a word that ends with -en as the other children clap or pat their laps. 

Write about the activity using target words and patterns

  • Play "pass the hen" with the children:
    • Have the children sit in a circle and take turns passing a paper hen.
    • As the children get the hen, have them say a new word that ends with -en.
    • Write each new word on the board.
  • Repeat the game, but this time, have the children write each word on the paper hen to practice writing -en words.

Continue to practice the skill on Hideout (optional)

  • Download or install the Hideout application onto an iPad.
  • Within the app, open the -en Hen activity.
  • The children can take turns, individually or in groups, playing with the -en sound within the application.

SEEL Target Texts

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Ten Hens in a Pen

Ben and Ken are men.
Ben and Ken have ten hens.
Ben takes five hens to the hen pen.
Ken takes five hens to the hen pen.
Now all ten hens are in the pen!
Now the ten hens can live in a pen.


SEEL At Home

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Read and write words that end with -en.


  • Hen graphics
  • A strainer or bowl

Activity: Ten Hens

  • Help your child write a name that ends with -en (e.g., Ken, Ben, Gwen, Jen) on a piece of paper.
  • Invite your child to write Hen Pen on a piece of paper and attach it to an upside-down strainer or bowl.  
  • Have your child close his or her eyes as you hide the ten hens around the room, then tell your child that all the hens have escaped from their pen.
  • Use phrases with -en words to encourage your child to find the ten hens and put them in their pen (e.g., "Ben, can you put Gwen the hen back in the pen?").
  • Switch jobs so that you cover your eyes as your child hides the hens, and have fun hunting for the hens again.

Hen Graphics


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CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.3.B: Associate the long and short sounds with the common spellings (graphemes) for the five major vowels.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.2.D: Isolate and pronounce the initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in three-phoneme (consonant-vowel-consonant, or CVC) words. (This does not include CVCs ending with /l/, /r/, or /x/.)