Uh…I Don’t Know!!
Emily Borders


Rationale:  Before students can decode words, they must learn to separate spoken words into phonemes, or, sounds.  Next, they must realize that these phonemes are mapped out in the spellings of words.  In this lesson, students will become familiar with the short u sound and identify it in spoken words by practicing recognizing the /u/ sound in many words.

Materials:  1.cards with words (cup, ugly, umbrella, under, duck, luck, puddle, muddy,
hug, shut, stuff)
picture pages (ex: sun, run, jump etc...)
primary paper
Bud and Sub


 Begin by having a conversation with the children about reading and writing.  Discuss why we need to learn how to say words and spell them (so we can talk and write to each other, to learn etc..). Explain to the students that they will be learning about one of the sounds that u makes.  Ask the students, “Hs anyone ever asked you a question that maybe you didn’t know the answer to right off?  Well, sometimes when this happens, I kind of look up and say UHHHH.”  Show the students the motion that goes along with the /u/ phoneme. (Look up and put your finger on chin like you are thinking really hard).  “One of the sounds the letter u makes is our UHHHHHHHH sound.  Everyone make the sound and do the motion with me. UHHHHHHH (all together). 

  1. Read this tongue twister to the students and have them repeat it after you:  The Ugly Duck lunged under the umbrella.  Repeat this.  Next, remind the students of their “thinking motion” and ask them to do it when they hear the thinking, or, /u/ sound.  Read the tongue twister.  Next, have the students say the tongue twister with the teacher, stretching out the /u/ sound.  The UUUUgly dUUUUUck lUUUUUnged UUUUUnder the UUUUUmbrella.
  2. Have the students practice making u on primary paper.  Model how to make a capital u.  “Start at the ceiling and come down past the stairs and make a curve that just hits the basement.  Go back up to the ceiling.”  Have the students practice making 20 u’s independently. 
  3. Divide the students into pairs.  Pass out a set of word/picture cards for each child.  The cards should have words and pictures that have the /u/ in the word.  Allow the partners to take turns coming up with tongue twisters using the cards.  (The students may use a, an, and the as needed).  Once a partner has made a tongue twister, the other partner will read it and stretch out the /u/ sound while making the thinking gesture.  The partners will swap jobs. 
  4. Give a book talk for the book, then read Bud and Sub once all the way through.  Read the book a second time, and have the children make the thinking gesture when they hear the short u sound.



Have children complete a worksheet with pictures of objects or actions that have the /u/ sound in the words.  (You might need to go over the pictures with the students before they begin).  The children will observe two pictures at once, and will circle the picture that has the /u/ sound in the corresponding word.


Mari Manning, http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insp/manningel.html  Going to the Doctor

 Sarah Asbury, http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insp/asburyel.html  "Eeehh What was That?"

Bud and Sub, Educational Insights, 1990

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