Juggling Bugs


Emergent Literacy

Jillian Wyatt


Rationale: Phoneme recognition is a very important step in learning to read. Children must learn and understand that each phoneme is represented by a letter or letters in the alphabet. They must also learn the phonemes in spoken language as well. This lesson is designed to help students learn the short u sound (u=/u/). Students will be able to recognize /u/ in spoken language by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol.


Ø      Primary paper

Ø      Pencil

Ø      Chart with “Three bugs juggled plums under an umbrella”

Ø      Set of flash cards with a picture of a bug on one side and an X on the other side.

Ø      Crayons and drawing paper

Ø      Book Fuzz and the Buzz by Sheila Cushman

Ø      Picture or flash cards with the pictures of bug, nut, bed, plum, tub, sun, pan, cup, rug, and pig

  1. Begin the lesson by explaining to the children that each letter of the alphabet has its own special sound, and that each sound is achieved by a certain way you move our mouth. Then ask the students to share with you the way they think you would write the letter u. Tell the students “Today we are going to learn about the letter u. The letter u makes two different sounds. The long u and the short u. We are going to learn about the short u. Today we are going to be looking for the short u sound in many different kinds of words.”
  2. Ask student:” Does anyone know what a foghorn sounds like? It makes the short u sound.” Model for them the pulling of the foghorn while also saying the short u sound. Then have them do the same. Explain to them that this is the sound we will be looking for in some words today. As I say the word bug listen for the short u sound: b-u-u-u-g-g. When you hear the short u sound I want you to make the foghorn motion.
  3. Then bring in the tongue twister: Three bugs juggled plums under an umbrella. Let’s all say it together, but this time when you hear the /u/ sound I want yall to remember to do the foghorn motion. Good job!
  4. Have the students take out their primary paper and pencils. The teacher will model each letter in the writing process as it comes. The letter u represents /u/. Let’s write this letter. Start at the fence, draw straight down to the sidewalk, curve over, and back up to the sidewalk; now, without lifting your pencil, draw straight back down to the sidewalk. Walk around to see everyone’s u.  Then have them write a whole row of u’s just like the one we wrote together.  Don’t forget—when you see the letter u in a word, that means it makes the foghorn sound (/u/).”
  5. Pass out flash cards to students.  “I am going to say some words one at a time.  If you hear /u/ in a word show me the side of the card with the bug on it; if you don’t hear /u/ in a word then show me the side of the with the X on it. Then read off the words one at a time: bug, nut, bed, plum, tub, sun, pan, cup, rug and pig.
  6. Read the story Fuzz and the Buzz aloud to the students then discuss it with them. Read it again stretching out the /u/ sound every time it comes up, and have the students make the foghorn motion. After you read the story, go through and write all of the words with the /u/ sound on the board. After that, have the students draw and color a picture to represent the story.

Assessment: The teacher will help the students identify the names of images on a picture sheet. The students will circle the pictures that have the /u/ sound in them. They can use inventive spelling to write the names of the pictures they circled.

Kristen Acuff
Juggling Bugs

Lesson adapted by: Jillian Wyatt
Writen by: Kristen Acuff

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