RATIONALE: Alphabetic insight will help children to read and spell words. The most important component of this insight is the understanding that a letter can represent a phoneme, and this grapheme-phoneme relationship is what enables spelling and reading. Of all the phonemes, short vowels are probably the toughest to identify, and also the hardest to read and spell correctly. This lesson will help children identify u = /u/ in written words, as well as identify the appropriate placement of u = /u/ when spelling, by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then gaining some practice in using u = /u/ to read and spell.
· 2 pieces of blank white chart paper and marker
· Large lower-case “u” printed on chalkboard
· Large set of Elkonin boxes (full-sized sheets of construction paper which can be hung side-by-side on the chalkboard)
· A small set of Elkonin boxes for each student (in a set of 2 boxes and a set of 6 boxes)
· Large set of Alphabet Tiles (8 ?” x 11” sheets of white paper with one large lower-case letter printed on each) Letters Needed: b, g, j, k, k, l, m, n, n, p, s, u
· Student-size set of Alphabet Tiles (1” x 1” laminated with one lower-case letter printed on each) Letters Needed: b, g, j, k, k, l, m, n, n, p, s, u
· Worksheet with Elkonin boxes printed down the right hand side in a column. The first set contains 2 boxes, the second set contains 3 boxes, the third set contains 4 boxes, and the fourth set contains 5 boxes
· Text for each child: Zig-Zag, Buzz and Hum (Steck-Vaughn Phonics Readers, Book 5 Short U)
1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that letters make different sounds and that to become good readers, we need to be able to match letters to their sounds. "Last week we learned how to print the letter u, and today we’re going to use the letter u and the mouth move it makes to read and spell some words."
2. Point to letter on board. "This letter packs a big punch! The mouth move we make when we see the letter u is like when somebody punches us in the stomach. We say /u/!! Let’s all say /u/ several times so we make sure we know what mouth move to make."
3. "Now that we know how to make the mouth move for the letter u, let’s try to put together a sentence with a bunch of words that have /u/. Brainstorm words on chart paper words can begin with u, end with u, or have a u in the middle as long as it is a short u. Wow, those are some great words! Let’s put these words together so we make one big silly sentence with /u/." Brainstorm a possible sentence and decide which one to use. "This is fun let’s all say the sentence together." Say sentence for first time. "Good, now that we know the sentence let’s stretch out the /u/ when we hear it." Say sentence for second time.
4. "You did a great job with the sentence now let me see who remembers the /u/ sound and can find it in words." Call on students to answer the following: hut or hat? bib or bug? men or mum? job or jump?
5. "We’re going to use our boxes to spell some words remember, we put one mouth-move in each box." Hand out student-sets of Elkonin boxes, and prepare the large set on the chalkboard. Model the spelling of up for the students, making sure to stretch out each letter to hear the mouth-move it makes. Then invite them to spell bug, gum, nun with 3 boxes; jump, plum with 4 boxes; skunk with 5 boxes. Walk around room to ensure students understand the /u/.
6. Pass out copies of “Zig-Zag, Buzz and Hum” to class. "We’re going to read a story that gives us some practice with all of the mouth moves we’ve learned so far." Review past mouth moves with class (a = /a/, e = /e/, i = /i/, o = /o/). Read story.
7. (For assessment, do the
"Now I’m going to give you each a worksheet with the boxes we used
drawn on it. I’m going to read you some words, and I want you to
spell the words in the boxes going down the page. Remember
each box only gets one mouth-move!" Read words to students in
order: us, hug, bump, and clump. Collect papers and assess.
Murray, B.A., & Lesniak, T. (1999). “The Letterbox Lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding” The Reading Teacher Volume 52, Number 6. March 1999.
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