When You Want to Scream “UGH!”, A Hug Makes You Feel Snug


Beginning Reading Design  
Jackie Erd

At this stage in reading, children need explicit instruction in matching their phonemes and graphemes in different correspondences in order to become fluent readers.  These are the building blocks to their success down the road.  The short vowel correspondences are some of the most crucial because they are found in almost all of our beginning words.  This lesson is designed to work on the u=/u/ correspondence through meaningful application and then follow up with a letter box lesson that lets them see the correspondence in written words.



  1. First, lets talk about the letter U.  Who can draw a u on the board for me?  Very good.  Today we are going to learn about u and the sound that it makes often times in our reading.  
  2. Most often, the letter u makes the /u/ sound.  What does that sound like to anyone?  To me, that’s the sound that your mom or teacher may make when she is frustrated with you.  She will throw up her arms and say, “Ugh!!”.  Everyone get frustrated and put their hands up and say, “Ugh!!”  Respond: “Ugh!!!”
  3.  Take out the chart with: When you want to scream, “Ugh!!”, a hug makes you feel snug.  Read the chart to the students and ask, “Do you hear the /u/ sound in some of those words?  Say it with me this time and stretch out the words and throw up your arms in frustration when you hear the /u/ sound.  “ When you want to scream, UUUUUghh!!, a Huuuuug makes you feel snuuuuuug.”  Very good. 
  4. We hear the /u/ sound in Ugh, Hug, and Snug.  Write those words on the board as you talk about each of them.   Do we hear  the /u/ sound in  dog?  (no)  How about  pig?  (no)  And  bug?  (yes) 
  5. Now we are going to read the book Bud the Sub.  Introduce: Bud is a Sub-marine that gets to meet and do lots of things with his owner Gus.  Lets see what he gets into today in Bud the Sub!  Break the kids up in partners to read and help each other out.
  6. Pass out letter box and letters to each child.  This should be an activity they are familiar with from previous lessons, so we will tell them that we are going to work with words with the /u/ sound today in our lesson.  Give them an example by starting with the words Bud and Sub that they should have seen in the book.  Show them how the sequence usually goes and then tell them to start with 3 boxes out and spell the word Run.  Check the students to see if they are catching on, help those that may need it, and then follow with the words tug, mud, bun, nut, luck, hunt, fund, and stump.
  7. Instruct the students to take their Bud the Sub books and get back with their partners and work to find all the words with the /u/ sound.  Have them take their pencil and paper and make a list of the words.
  8. Bring the group back together and write the words on a chart to make a word wall of /u/ sound words that they have discovered in Bud the Sub.  If any were missed by the whole group, point them out and then review all words at the end.
  9. Finally, for assessment I want to have them do an oral assessment with me in individually to read the pseudo words: huz, nug, fut, kun, and jup to see if they have mastered the correspondence.


Adams, Marilyn J. "Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print". (1990). Pinell, Gay S., Fried, Mary D., Estice, Rose M. "Reading Recovery: Learning how to make a difference."

Wallingsford, Darby. (2003)  Rub a Dub in the Tub.  Retrieved: March 14, 2004, from: http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/openings/wallingsfordbr.html

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