The Duck Says “Cluck, Cluck”

Beginning Reader

Beth Montgomery



            In order to become proficient readers, children must recognize that letters represent vocal gestures or phonemes.  Also, children must learn correspondences in order to develop an understanding of words and letters.  By participating in this lesson, children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words that contain the correspondence u = /u/.





1.      Introduce the u = /u/ correspondence to the children by showing them a picture of a u.  “Today we are going to learn about the /u/ sound.  The u makes the /u/ sound.  Can anybody tell me what we do with our mouth when we make the /uuuu/ sound?  We open our mouths and keep our tongues still.  Imagine that someone asks you a question.  While you are thinking about the answer you say “uuuhhh”, and tap your chin with your finger.  This is the sound a u makes.  Can everybody practice making the sound a u makes?”


  1. Practice finding the /u/ phoneme in words by using a tongue twister, written on a poster board.  “I am going to say a silly sentence and I want you to say it with me after I finish.  Uncle was upset because he was unable to put his umbrella up.  Okay, everyone say it with me and listen carefully for the /u/ sound.”  Model stretching out the /u/ sound found in the tongue twister and then have students repeat.  “UUUUncle was uuuupset because he was uuuunable to puuuut his uuuumbrella uuuup.  This time, as you stretch out the /u/ sound, put your finger on your chin like you are thinking.”


  1. Practice finding the letter u in written text.  Have words written on cards and have the children decide which word contains the u = /u/ correspondence.  “I am going to hold up two cards and I want everyone to read the word aloud together.  Then, I want you to tell me which word has the /uuu/ sound in it.”  The words used will be cat and cut, duck and sink, tom and rug, and up and down.


  1. After this, I will model how to write a u and have the students practice on their paper.  “This is how we write a u.  We start at the fence line and draw down to the sidewalk, curve over, and back up to the fence line.  Without lifting your pencil, draw a line back down to the sidewalk.  Practice writing a u on your paper.   


  1. For more practice, do a letterbox lesson on the u = /u/ correspondence.  The teacher should place Elkonin letterboxes in a place where the children can see it, so they can watch as the teacher models what to do.  Each student should have his or her own Elkonin letterboxes and letter tiles.  Ask students to place the letter tiles on the lower case side.  “We are going to practice spelling words that have the /u/ sound.  I want everyone to look at my letterboxes and watch as I spell a word.  I am going to spell the word up.  Notice that I have 2 boxes that represent my two mouth movements as I say the word up.  The first sound I hear is /uuuu/.  That sounds like the sound we have worked on today, so I am going to place a “u” in the first box.  Next, I hear /ppp/, so I am going to place a p in the second box.  Now I have spelled the word up.  Let’s all practice spelling.”  Use the words cub, sun, rush, hug (3 phonemes), drum, bump, hung (4 phonemes), and strut, shrunk (5 phonemes).  Make sure each time the number of phonemes changes that the students are prompted to open up their letter boxes by one more box.  A review word should be included. 


  1. Next, write each letterbox word that was spelled on the board.  Model for the students how to blend the phonemes in the word.  “We are going to read the word cub.  First, I am going to cover up all the letters except for the u.  I know u says /u/.  Then I am going to add the first letter, c and now I have /ku/.  Last, I am going to add the /b/ in the end and so I have /kub/ or cub.  Do this with each word and let students take turn blending the words and have the other students repeat the words after they are read.


  1. The students will read Dr. Duck with a partner.  To introduce the book, I will say, “Dr. Duck lives on a farm and any time the animals on the farm get sick, Dr. Duck takes care of them.  But one day, Dr. Duck becomes worried.  What is going to happen if he gets sick?  Who is going to take care of him?  We are going to have to read the book to find out what happens to Dr. Duck and who is going to take care of him if he gets sick.”  While the students are reading, I will walk around and observe as the children are reading to each other. 


  1. Students will write a message using invented spelling.  “Now, I want you all to write a sentence about one thing Dr. Duck did on the farm and then we will share what you wrote with the class.”


  1. Assessment:

-         Each student will get a worksheet with pictures on it.  Each picture that represents a word with /u/ in it, should be circled. 

-         While students work on this, I will work with each one individually and do running records as they read Dr. Duck. 



            -Ehrlich, H. M., Dr. Duck.  New York:  Orchard Books.  2000.  30 p. 


-Braswell, Jamie.  The Tug says Uhh!

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