How to Teach Long E Words in Kindergarten

The long e sound is when you hear the name e in a word, as in bee or leaf.  There are many variations of what makes the sound in long e words. 

e, be or equal

ee, bee

ea, eat

ey, key

e_e, these

y at the end of a word, story

ei, receive

ie, cookie

In kindergarten, we mainly focus on the long vowel e words with the patterns ee, ea, and ey.  See the list below for examples. 

Short e vs Long e Sound Words

There is a difference between words with long sound e and the short e sound.  The short sound of e is found in words such as bed or pet.  Words with long e sound are in jeep or key; when you hear the name of the vowel.

Long e Words List

These lists are of the long e spelling patterns we taught in kindergarten. The patterns are ey, ee and ea words.  These lists are great to hang in your classroom to refer to while teaching. Or, play a fun game by cutting out the individual cards and placing all around your classroom.  Then have students search for and write down all the words with the long e they find. 

Teaching Words with a Long e

Using the below activities when teaching words with long vowel e will help students enjoy learning about this vowel.

Long e and Short e Words

The first activity helps students distinguish between short and long e sound.  We always teach this lesson after they know the short e sound.  This activity is very simple and can be done anywhere, but also very effective.  We say, “We’re going to play the long e game.  You need to listen for the long e sound in the words that I say.  Sometimes you’ll hear the long e sound, and sometimes you’ll hear the short e sound.  When you hear the long e sound, give a thumbs up.  When you hear the short e sound, give a thumbs down.”  Then call out a word and wait for students to hold up their thumb.  Use the short e vs long e words list from above to have words on hand to call out.  After doing this activity for a while, you can finish the lesson off by giving students a worksheet to demonstrate what they’ve learned.

Vowel Teams

The long e vowel teams we teach are ee, ea, and ey.  When going over any of these vowel teams, start by telling them, “When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking.”  Then show them how that works with some words on the board.  For example, write the word team on the board.  Then tell them the e is saying its name, but you don’t hear the a.  Then finish the lesson off by giving them a vowel team worksheet

Worksheets

Use these long vowel e worksheets to have students show what they’ve learned.  You can use them as your student work period or send them home for homework. 

More Long Vowel Practice

For a look at all the long vowels we taught in kindergarten, read Long Vowel Worksheets.  It’s not only about worksheets.  This article gives great long vowel activities, ideas, video recommendations and more.  If you are looking for specific long vowel practice, see below.

FAQs

The sound of long e is when you hear the e’s name as in jeep, be, and bean.

Words with e consonant e or the e_e sound are words like eve, Pete, theme, trapeze, compete. 

The list of long e words is included in our Long e Worksheets packet

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