Um, You're Under Uncle's Umbrella

                          Sammie Patton            


Rational: In order to have words, there must be vowels. Children must learn their vowels and their phonemes in order to read words. The short vowels are difficult to learn because they all sound similar and sometimes sound differently when paired with consonants. This lesson will teach students the short u phoneme which is /uh/. Through a letterbox lesson and activities such as tongue twisters and an activity to practice identifying the letter u and its phoneme /uh/ children will become more familiar with the short vowel, u.



Materials: Dry Erase Board & Marker

                 Tongue Twister: Um, you're Under Uncle's Umbrella.

                 Letter Manipulatives: u,b,g,s,d,t,j,p  and Letterboxes

                 Primary Paper


                 Picture of a person under an umbrella

                 Picture of a person with their finger on their chin & a puzzled look

                 Book, Bud the Sub

                      Letter /u/ Activity Sheet with pictures of items starting with the letter u
                  and some items starting with other letters than u.




1.     To begin the lesson, I will introduce students to the letter u. I will write the letter u on the board and tell them that "this is the letter u and it says /uh/. Have you ever not known the answer to a question and said /uh/? Then you were making the sound that u makes."�  I will then show them the picture of the person with their finger on their chin saying "uh" and that will help them to better associate the letter with its phoneme.


2.     Next, I will teach them a tongue twister to practice saying the /uh/ sound. "Can everyone repeat this tongue twister after me? Um, you're Under Uncle's Umbrella. Great Job!"� I will show them how to use their fingers to imagine drawing letter u in the air. I will model for them how to take their finger and "swoosh"� it down and then right back up and then draw a  straight line down. "Now, when we say this tongue twister, I want everyone to use their magic finger pencils and draw the letter u in the air when you say it in the tongue twister. Um, you're Under Uncle's Umbrella. Good job everybody!"� This exercise will help them learn how to write the letter u along with practicing what letter u says.


3.    Now that we know what the letter u looks and sounds like, we will practice identifying the letter u in other words. "We all know that there are words that start with the letter U like Umbrella and Uncle, but the letter u is also found in the middle of some words such as b-u-us, tu-u-g, and ju-ump. We have to listen extra close to find the u sound in these words." The activity will involve children listening to me say different words and then using their magic pencils to let me know if they hear the letter u in: Umbrella, Uncle, Frog, Cupcake, Bicycle, Snap, Mug. "Great job!"�


4.    I will now let the children practice writing their letter u's since we have practiced the phoneme. "Remember the imaginary u that we wrote in the air? Now we are going to really write letter on our paper!"�  I will give each child some primary paper and model how to write the lowercase u on the board. First we will start at the fence and curve down to the sidewalk; we will curve back up to the fence and then straight down to the sidewalk again. I will ask them to write the letter u five times. When we are finished, they will all say /UH/ real loud! Great job everybody!


5.    To introduce the letterbox, I will explain that when we say words, our mouths move differently for each sound in the word. When we say the word M-U-G, our mouth moves 3 different ways. Mmmm-Uuuu-Ggggg. This is why we need 3 letterboxes for this word. I will use the dry erase board and draw an example letterbox to show the students how to put each letter into which box. "Now, let's see if everyone can put the letters M-U-G into each box to make the word mug. Great job everybody!"� I will help the children when we get to the other words and make sure that they understand that each vocal gesture is given a box. The students will be given other 3 and 4 phoneme words to practice.


6.    We will read the story, Bud the Sub by Sheila Cushman. This story will better help them identify the phoneme /uh/ when reading words such as Bud, Sub, Gus, and Tugboat. "Listen to the words in the title of the story, Bu-u-u-d the Su-u-u-ub. Raise your hand if you heard the letter u. Great job! Now let's read the story and I want everyone to listen close for the letter u in this story!"�


7.    To assess the children's learning of the letter u and its phoneme, students will complete an activity sheet with pictures. The pictures will be of some objects that have the letter u such as cup, jug, and duck and some other objects without the letter u. The students will complete the sheet individually and by writing the letter u on top of the pictures of the cup, jug, and duck. This will help me better understand which children know the letter u and its correspondence, and which children may need more practice.




Cushman, Sheila. Bud the Sub. Educational Insights. Carson, CA:  1990

Saye, Maggie, Uhhh, I'm confused!

Return to Encounters Index