Under my Umbrella
Beginning Reading Lesson
By: Lauren Meredith
Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the short vowel correspondence u = /u/. It is important for children to have explicit instruction when learning a new vowel correspondence. Vowels are a part of our everyday language. This lesson will serve as practice to help children identify u = /u/. They will learn to recognize /u/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then practice finding /u/ in words. . Students will learn how to recognize the /u/ sound in spoken words, practice spelling the /u/ sound by using Elkonin letterboxes, and identifying and decoding the /u/ sound in written text.
Materials: Tongue Twister written on large piece of paper, Letterbox tiles and letters, large umbrella to fit words underneath, list of words (from LBL), words on notecards to put under umbrella, books Bud the Sub, small paper umbrellas
Procedure: I will begin my lesson by discussing the letter "u". I'll write it on the board to make sure everyone knows exactly which letter we are talking about. "In order to become expert readers we must learn the code that helps us pronounce words. Today we're going to be talking about the letter "u" and the sound it makes. As you've already learned from previous lessons vowels have long and short sounds. When "u" makes its short sound it sounds like /u/ = uhhh. Watch my mouth as I make that sound. Your tongue stays in place with the mouth making a small hole. Now you try it. Every time you hear the /u/ sound I want you to pretend you are opening an umbrella. (this is a hand gesture the students will do)"
"Now I'm going to call out a list of words and I want you to tell me which ones have that /u/ = uhhh sound. If you hear the /u/ sound then I want you to open your umbrellas, if you don't hear the /u/ sound shake your head no. Be sure to listen carefully and watch your mouth as you listen for it. I'll show you an example first. Tug. /t/ /u/ /g/. I hear that "uhhh" sound in tug so I'm going to open my umbrella. Now you try some. Tap, do you hear the /u/? Next word duck. Play, bluff, run, ball, nut."
"Now we are going to try a tongue twister using our new short "u" sound. [Have tongue twister written on a sheet of paper for the whole class to see.] Our tongue twister is: "Uncle is upset because he's under an umbrella with an upset umpire." I want you to say it with me now slowly. Every time you hear that /u/ sound I want you to open your umbrellas. Let's go. [say tongue twister slowly] Now we are going to draw out that /u/ sound in every word we hear it. "Uuuncle is uuupset because he's uuunder an uuumbrella with an uuupset uuumpire."
"Now we are going to practice with some words in a letter box lesson." Draw letter boxes on the board big enough for the children to see. "I am going to start with the word tug. The tug floated by on the water. I hear the /t/ /u/ /g/. So I'll need 3 boxes for this word. The 't' will go in the first box, the 'u' will go in the second, and the 'g' in the third. Now let's try one together with the word 'drum'. /D/ /r/ /u/ /m/. How many sounds do you hear? [wait for response] 4, that's correct! Now how about you all try these words and I will come around to make sure they are correct and to answer any questions you may have." Call out words one at a time and walk around to make sure the students are correctly answering. Be sure to use each word in a sentence as you say it.  -sub, luck  - thump, mend, jump  - scrub, stump. After the students have done all of the words have them read the words aloud from a list to make sure they can properly read them.
Have the children take out their book or pass out a class set of Bud the Sub, so that each child has a book of their own. "This book is about a boat that can operate underwater called a submarine. 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". The teacher can pass out a small paper umbrella to each child. The teacher will give brief book talk about the book giving the names of the characters and the initial interesting event. Instruct the children that as we read the book, when we hear the /u/ sound, we need to raise our umbrellas high in the air and twirl them around. Then put them down and wait for the next /u/ word to appear or be read. Model this activity with the tongue twister that is still hanging in the front of the room for all to see. The class reads through the book, following along when others are reading and reading themselves if selected.
Assessment: We will play a game in order to test the children's ability to hear the /u/ sound. There will be a picture of an umbrella on the board. I will say a list of words one-by-one. If the word I say has the short "u" sound then the class will say umbrella if it doesn't make the short "u" sound then the class will say rain. If the word makes the /u/ sound then we will put it under the umbrella. If it doesn't then we will put it outside of the umbrella. A list of words may be rug, ran, boat, rung, fun, sat, mend, lump, rush, milk, rump, bump, get, etc. Have enough words so that each child will get to answer once. Also have children come back one-on-one and test them with these words individually for more practice.
References: Murray, Geri. Oh, I didn't know. Example on Blackboard.
Tidwell, Casey. The Reading Genie Website. Up…Up…Umbrella. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/explor/tidwellbr.html
Keel, Ashley. The Reading Genie Website. Under the Umbrella. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/catalysts/keelbr.html