"Uhh...That's Yucky!"

Beginning Literacy Design
by Erin Pringle



My goal for this lesson is to teach my student the u = /u/ sound.  It is vital to children’s reading development to be able to accurately identify phonemes written in words.  Phonemes are the sounds or “mouth moves” from which spoken words are made.  In addition, it is essential that students learn to identify the graphemes found in words as well.  Graphemes are the written letters (or symbols) that represent sounds.  It is essential that children also learn the correspondences, in order to launch the reading process.  This lesson will focus on the correspondence u = /u/.  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.



     - Primary paper & Pencils for each student
     - Chart paper w/my saying on it, “The ducks were stuck in the yucky mud.” 
     - Letter Boxes and Letter Manipulatives for each student.
     - The Book, “Ducks in Muck.” (Enough for every other child to have a copy.) 
     - A picture page with the following pictures on it: a ladybug, a basketball, a drum, a cookie, a toothbrush, the sun, a nail, a nut, a tree, a duck, and children hugging. 


  1. <>I will begin my lesson by discussing the letter “u.”  I will write it on the board so that I know everyone is thinking about the right letter.  I will then tell my class, “The letter “u” is code for saying a certain sound.  The sound that you say when you see this letter is (u = /u/) “uhh.”  Look at how my mouth moves when I say that sound.  Now you try.  Today, we are going to go on an adventure.  We are going to be searching for the sound /u/ in our reading and our writing.  It may be tricky at first, but with practice, you will become an expert!

  2. <>Have you ever been out to play after a rain storm?  Well, I know that when I was young I loved to go outside and play, since I had been inside the whole time it was raining.  But, one thing I did not like so much was the yucky mud that the rain made!  Well, let’s let this story help us remember the mouth move and sound we make when we think of the sound /u/.  Pretend you are grossed out because you got stuck in yucky mud, and say, “/uuuu/.”    That is the mouth movement that we are going to be searching for in words today.  Let’s pretend that we are outside playing after a rainstorm and we are stuck in yucky mud [/u/].

  3. <>I have created a tongue twister to help us hear and remember the /u/ sound.  This little saying is full of /u/’s so let’s look at it together!  (Hold up chart paper) “The ducks were stuck in the yucky mud.”  Now, we are going to say it all together, three times.  [Say three times]  Now, we will say it once more, this time; stretch the /u/ sound that you hear when you hear it at the beginning of a word.  “The duuucks were stuuuck in the yuuucky muuud!”  This time, we are going to try in once more.  I want you to *clap* every time that you hear the /u/ sound.  “The d*ucks were st*uck in the y*ucky m*ud.”  GREAT JOB!!!

  4. <>Okay I would like for everyone to take out your paper and a pencil, please.  The sound that we have been practicing, /u/ can be written using the letter ‘u,’ like this, “u.”  Let’s all write it on our paper.  Start at the fence, draw a line down to the sidewalk, and when you hit it, curve back up until you reach the fence again, then drop your line straight back down and make a little tail on the side.  This is a “u.”  After I have put a J on your paper, I would like for you to write 9 more “u’s” just like your first one.

  5. <>Now, we are going to work on spelling out some words with the /u/ sound in them.  We are going to place only one sound in each of our boxes when we spell the words.  I am going to show you an example on the board.  I am going to spell the word SUN.  First, I lay out three boxes.  (Draw the boxes on the board.  And then, I put one sound in each box, watch.  The first sound I hear is /s/, so I place an “S” in the first box.  Then I hear our vowel sound, /u/, so I put a “u” in the second box.  The third sound that I hear is /n/.  So I put an “N” in the last box.  (Write one phoneme in each box.)  Are there any questions?  Let’s work on spelling some words together.  I will then have my students spell the words:  (2) up, us, at, (3) sun, mud, sip, set, tub, duck, (4) under, stop, and drum.  Very Good!! Now we are going to go back and read the words that we just spelled.  This time I will do the hard part.  I am going to spell the word, and I will call on different people to read them for me.  (I will go through my words again calling on my students to read.  I will repeat some of the words so that all of my students read a word.)

  6. <>Today we are going to read a book that has a lot of /u/’s in it.  The book we are going to read is called, “Ducks in Muck.”  Before, we begin reading, I would like everyone to look to your left, and this is your partner.  If you do not have someone sitting to your left, raise you hand and I will pair you up.  This is a book about some things getting stuck in the mud.  There are a lot of things that get stuck, and everyone in the book wonders how they will get out!  To find out, you guys will read, “Ducks in Muck” in partners.  I would like for the first reader to read pages 4-17 and the second reader to read pages 18-32.  After we read, we are going to talk about some of the places we heard the /u/ sound in our story, so listen carefully as your partner reads.

  7. For our assessment, I will give everyone a picture page.  I will go through the names of all of the pictures with the student’s out loud, to make sure they can identify everything.  Then I will ask my students to circle the picture whose name contains the /u/ sound somewhere in it.  Their performance on this assignment, will determine how well they have internalized the /u/ sound.  To assess their reading skills, I will have each student read their answers to me, individually.  I will note their reading strategies and accuracy. 



o       http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insp/hallbr.html (“Isabelle the Iguana” by: Jennifer Hall)

o       http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insp/wattsbr.html (“Aaaaaa!!!! It’s Okay, Baby!!” by Emily Watts)

o       http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insp/sandersbr.html (“Poor Crying Baby” by Anna Sanders)

o       Haskins, Lori.  Ducks in Muck.  SCHOLASTIC © 2000.  New York.  ISBN: 0-439-22155-2.

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