Uh, I don't know.



A Beginning Reading Lesson

 By: Taylor Freeman

Rationale: This lesson aims to teach children about the short vowel correspondence u = /u/.  In order to read, children must learn that letters are the key to pronouncing words.  In this lesson, students will learn how to recognize, read, and spell words containing u = /u/.  They will learn a visual correspondence (a man saying, "Uh, I don't know.") and verbal correspondence (actually saying, "Uh, I don't know.").  By using a Letterbox lesson, students will learn how to spell and read words containing this correspondence.  Students will practice decoding short u words by reading a decodable book which focuses on u = /u/.


Materials: Image of thinking man; whiteboard or Smartboard letterboxes for modeling, individual letterboxes for each student; letters for each child and student (b, c, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, u), Bud the Sub, and assessment worksheet.



1. Say: In order to become great readers, we have to learn how to read the code.  We have to learn how to pronounce each letter.  Today, we are going to learn about short u.  When I say /u/ , I think of a man thinking and saying "Uh, I don't know." (Show image of man).  /u/ is spelled with the letter u.


2. Before we practice spelling /u/ we need to listen for it in some words.  When I listen for /u/ in words, I think of a man saying "uh, I don't know" (show image).  When I say /u/, I feel my jaw drop and my mouth open. For example, when I say bug, I hear /u/ like the thinking man says, and I feel my jaw drop and my mouth open.  Now I'm going to see if /u/ is in mule. I didn't hear /u/ in mule.  My jaw did not drop, and my lips kind of looked like a fish.  Now let's try all together.  Say, "Uh, I don't know" if you hear /u/ in a word.  If you don't hear /u/, say, "It's not there." Do you hear /u/ in rug, bike, sail, run, cat, slug, mud?


3. I want to spell the word truck.  "Noah drove his truck to work.  A truck is a vehicle.  To spell truck in letterboxes, we need to count how many phonemes we hear in the word.  Let's stretch it out and count.  /t//r//u//k/. There are four sounds so we will need four boxes.  I heard the /u/ just before the /k/, so we will put the u in the third box.  First, I heard /t/ which is a t, followed by /r/ which is spelled with an r.  Those will go in the first and second boxes.  We only have one box left, but we know that /k/ can be spelled several different ways.  In this word /k/ is spelled by using ck.  Ck will go in the last box.  Now, I'll show you how to read a hard word.  (Display slide or poster with struck at the top and model how to decode and read the word.)  First, I'll start with /u/.  Next, I will add the beginning sounds.  S-t-r-u.  Add it all together now.  What does it say? Yes! Stru-.  Now, let's add the last sound.  Stru-k.  yes! Struck! Like, "He struck the ball with the baseball bat."


4. Say: Now it's your turn to try to spell some words in letterboxes.  Let's start out with the word run.  We will run around the bases at the baseball game.  What do you think goes in the first box? Good! You heard /r/ and knew r went in the first box.  What about the second box? Absolutely. Did you hear /u/ and think, "uh, I don't know."? Good! U goes in the second box.  And what about the last box? N, great! (Walk around the room and make sure each child understands and follows along.)  The next word is cup.  (Follow same protocol as above for cup.  Give the children the following words and allow them to spell them: tug, sub, luck, lunch, grump, sprung.)


5. Say: Now, I'm going to give you all a chance to read a word you've spelled.  (Go around the room allowing students to read one of their spelled words until everyone has received a turn.)


6. Say: I am so proud of all of you! Thank you for following directions! Now we are going to read a story called Bud the Sub.  This book is about a boat that can operate underwater called a submarine, or sub for short.  Bud the sub hears about another boat who has been hit.  He rushes to rescue the boat.  You will have to read the story to see if Bud is successful in saving the other boat.  (Put children in pairs.  Allow them to buddy read while the teacher walks around the room.  After everyone finishes, read Bud the Sub as a class.  Stop between pages to ask questions, review short u words, and discuss plot.)


7. Assessment- Say: Before we finish, I want you to show me what you know! On this sheet, we have some pictures with words written in them.  I want you to color the pictures that have a short u sound.  Does everyone understand? Okay, good! You can begin. (After everyone finishes, collect worksheets and evaluate each child's knowledge of short u).



Bud the Sub. Carson. Educational Insights, 1990. p. 1-9. 


Daniel, Collier. The Reading Genie.



Short U, Set 04.  http://www.schoolexpress.com/fws/worksheet.php?id=65842


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