Grade Levels: K-3

This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about the long e sound. It is designed to complement the  Long E topic on BrainPOP Jr.

 Before you begin, we recommend screening the following BrainPOP Jr. phonics movies for review: Short Vowels, Silent E , and Long A. In the Long E movie, Annie and Moby introduce the long e sound and explore different vowel patterns that form the sound.  We suggest turning on closed captioning while watching the movie to support children’s development of word and sound recognition skills and to build phonemic awareness.

Remind children that vowels (a, e, i, o, u, and y) can have a short or long sound depending on other letters in the word and the pattern they make. Review short vowel sounds together by writing and saying words that make each sound (e.g., cat, bed, sit, mop, tub) and encouraging children to think of more words for each short vowel sound. Repeat the exercise with the long vowel sounds, coming up with a word for each (e.g., late, seed, kite, boat, and cute.)

Write the word beet on the board. Review with children that a double e pattern always makes the long e sound. Together, brainstorm words with ee, such as bee, feet, see, tree, sleep, and green.

Point to the months of January and February on a calendar and read aloud the names of the months, exaggerating the final long e sound. Ask children where in the word they hear the long e sound–the beginning, middle, or end. Point out that the y at the end of these words makes a long e sound. Give another example of a word that ends in y and makes a long e sound, such as happy. Then have children brainstorm other examples.

Now compare the words met and meat. Ask children how they are alike and different. They should recognize that while both words start and end the same, the vowel pattern and sounds are different. Remind children that when a single vowel appears between two consonants (cvc), like in met, the vowel sound is short. Review that the vowel pair ea almost always makes long e sound, as in meat. Together, brainstorm other long-e words with the ea vowel pattern, such as leap, mean, peach, teacher, and seat. Note that there are some exceptions to this rule, such as head, sweat, and bread.

Show a picture of a piece of pie (or use a real piece of pie!). Ask if they would like a piece of pie, and write piece and pie on the board. Ask children how piece and pie are alike and different. They should notice that both have the ie vowel pair, but piece makes a long e sound, and pie has a long i sound. Tell them that ie sometimes makes the long e sound, and it always does when the pair appear at the end of a word, such as cookie and goalie. Challenge children to think of words in which ie makes a long e sound. Some examples include: field, thief, brownie, believe, and niece.  

Remind children that when they come across a new word, they should try pronouncing it in different ways until it sounds right. Encourage them to keep a notebook of new words and to read and write every day.