When You Don't Get What You Want

Stephanie Skinner
Emergent Literacy

Rationale:  Children have to learn the short u in order to read and spell words. The student will learn to recognize /u/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then practice finding /u/ in words.

Materials:  Primary paper; pencil; chart with The nutty bugs on the flying bus drove after the sun; Bud the Sub (book); a picture page with the pictures of a bug, bag, rag, rug, pet, pit, tug, tag; every student also needs a card with an angry child on one side and a happy child on the other side.

        1. Introduce the lesson by telling the students that writing and reading is tricky. The hardest part is learning to see and hear the mouth moves. Today we are going to make the mouth move for the short u. These mouth moves will be hard to spot at first, but the more you practice, the easier it will get.

        2. Have you ever not gotten what you wanted and said /u/? This is the mouth move we're looking for today. Let's stretch out the /u/ and see if we can say it like how you do when you don't get what you want. I'll try bus,  b-u-u-u-u-us.  I said /u/ right in the middle.

        3. Let's try a tongue twister (on the chart). The nutty bugs on the flying bus drove after the sun. Everyone say this together. Now say it again and this time stretch out the /u/ in the middle of words. The nu-u-u-u-utty bu-u-u-ugs on the flying bu-u-u-u-u-us drove after the su-u-u-u-u-u-un. Try it again, but this time break the /u/ out of the words. The   n /u/ tty   b /u/ gs   on the flying   b /u/ s   drove after the   s /u/ n. Very Good!

        4. Have students take out their primary paper and pencil. We can now use the letter u to spell /u/. Let's write it! Start at the fence line, draw down to the sidewalk, curve right, and up to the fence line again. I want to see everyone's u's. After I put a stamp on it, I want you to make one whole row of u's just like it. Every time you see a u in a word you will know to make the /u/ mouth move.

        5. Call on the students and tell how they know:  Do you hear /u/ in nut or not? Kite or cut? Damp or dump? Bug or bag?  Cup or cap? Let's see if you can hear the mouth move /u/ in these words. Remember to show your angry child if you do hear the /u/ and show the happy child if you do not hear the /u/.  Give these words one by one to the students to see if they can hear the /u/ in them:  the, nutty, bugs, on, the, flying, bus, drove, after, the, sun.

        6. Read Bud the Sub and talk about the story. Read it again. This time have the students clap their hands when they hear a word with a /u/ in it. List their words on the board. Now they can write a story about Bud using some of these words.

        7. For assessment, distribute the picture page and help students name each word. Ask the students to circle the words that have a /u/ in it.

     J. Lloyd Eldredge (1995). Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:  Merrill. Pp. 15-20.

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