Uh! Yucky U Stuff!


Beginning Reading

By: CaSandra Yarbrough


          To become successful readers, students must learn to identify letters and the sounds that those letters make. The student will learn the correspondence u=/u/. The student will learn how to correctly say the phoneme and correctly identify the letter and have plenty of practice with written and spoken words which contain u=/u/, they will do this using (Uh! Yucky U Stuff!) and the letter symbols U and u. Students will practice identifying the phonemes in spoken words and phonetic cue reading words. They will then further their understanding of this phoneme through a letterbox lesson.

Materials: Poster with tongue tickler, picture of a bowl of slime for each student, Elkonin letterboxes for each student, plastic letters (d,u,g,s,h,r,b,n,k,l,c,c,t,p,m,p,z,z) for each student, document camera, word list typed out (dug, shrug, buzz, dunk, slug, crunch, hunt, lunch, plump, bust), book Hunches in Bunches by Dr. Seuss to read to class, 1 copy per 2 students of decodable book The Ugly Umbrella for assessment in a small group, worksheet on /u/ sound for each student.


1. Say: Today we are going to work with the sound /u/. You say this sound when you see something yucky--like bowl of slime. "uuu. . .there's a yucky bowl of slime over there!" We spell this using the letter u. (Pass out a small picture of a bowl of slime to each student and have them keep them out on their desk).

2. Say: So we said that we use the sound /u/ when we see something yucky. Let's think about how our mouth is moving while we are saying "uuuu". My tongue is touching the bottom of my mouth and I am opening my mouth just a little bit and pushing the air out "uuu…uuu" Now you try it with me. When you make the /u/ sound I want you to pretend you are squishing that yucky slime through your fingers. (Demonstrate squishing pretend slime through your fingers and saying the /u/ sound) "uuu…uuu"

3. Say: Good work squishing out those U's now let me show you how to find the /u/ in a word. I am going to use the word umbrella . I am going to say the word and then I am going to stretch it out so that I really hear that /n/ sound. Umbrella. Uuuu-mbrella. Yeah I heard my yucky U in umbrella. Now let's try it together with the word umpire and funny.

4. Now, let's try a funny tongue tickler to practice our yucky U's (poster). Ursula put up her umbrella before she went under the rain. Let's say it together. [Repeat tongue tickler together]. Now let's stretch out those yucky U's so that we can really hear them. /U/rsula put /u/p her /u/mbrella before she went /u/nder the rain.

5. Next, as a class, go over cue words to see if they are hearing the phoneme. Say: I am going to read some words. If you hear our yucky /u/ sound anywhere in any of these words I want you to squish that yucky slime like we practiced. Show the students ugly [written out on card] and model how to decide if it has the /u/ sound or not. Uuu-gly. The /u/ sound I hear tells me to squish that yucky U. Ready? Do you hear /u/ in up or down? In pretty or ugly? In bored or fun? In sun or cloud? In munch or eat?

6. Next, take the Elkonin letterboxes out and place them at the front of the room, so that everyone can see it, for teacher to use during this part of the lesson. Give each student a letterbox and letter tiles. Tell the students to turn the letterbox tiles on the lower case side. "We are going to practice spelling words with the u sound. Look at the board and see how there are four spaces for five mouth moves. Right now, I am going to spell the word hump. The first box is for the first sound in hump, the /h/. The second box is for the second sound, the /u/. Remember how the /u/ sound makes the sound we say when we see a bug (Uh, yucky U). The third box is for the third sound in hump the /m/.The fourth sound is the /p/. Now, you can practice with the following words: (3)-dug, bug (4)-shrug, dunk, slug, hunt, lunch, bust (5)-crunch, plump (Call the words out and walk around making notes on the progress of each child, be sure to go over each word so that student see and hear the correct pronunciation and spelling. Make sure and tell the students when you make the change to words with more phonemes) Say the word, count the sounds, make the number of boxes on the board, and have the students tell you the sound they hear.

7. Get out the typed list of all the words just spelled in the letterbox lesson and put them on the document camera. Start with the model word and show the student how to read the words. Read all the words from the letterbox lesson.

8. Read Hunches in Bunches by Dr. Seuss. Say: We are going to read the book Hunches in Bunches by Dr. Seuss As we listen to the story if you hear a word that has out yucky /u/ sound I want you to squish that yucky slime. This book will be good for students because it will make them really listen and think about words that have the /u/ sound. The book is lengthy so I will only pick a few pages on which to listen for the sound on so that students do not get frustrated. After reading talk about a few of the words that you hear the /u/ sound in and write them out on the board.

9. For assessment, students will come to the teacher's station in groups of 3-4 students. In this group students will read the printable and decodable book The Ugly Umbrella (teacher will have one copy per 2 students, can be printed from website listed in references.) The teacher should have the students read at least one page aloud noting miscues in order to keep a running record of students' progress. Once she has heard each student read aloud alone, the teacher may have the students buddy read the rest of the book listening as the groups read and continuing to note miscues. As the teacher works with small groups other students may be further assessed using a worksheet of short /u/ words.


Dr. Seuss. Hunches in Bunches. Random House. 1982.

Lightsey, Julia; Uh, Squish That Yucky U Bug!


The Ugly Umbrella.http://www.readinga-z.com/book.php?id=441. Online, printable, decodable books.

Worksheet. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/themes/letters/shortu.shtml.

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