Unopened Umbrella

 Beginning Reading

 Lindsay Boshell


Rationale:  Having a strong understanding and identification of common correspondences develops proficient readers.  It is extremely important to be familiar with vowel correspondences. Through this lesson, the goal is to teach the vowel correspondence u=/u/.  This lesson will help children identify u=/u/ in written words, as well as, identify the appropriate placement of u=/u/ when spelling, by learning a meaningful representation and letter symbol, and then gaining some practice in using u=/u/ to read and spell.



Student copies of Bud the Sub by Sheila Cushman, Educational Insights, 1990

Elkonin letter boxes and cutout letters for each student

Letters:  b, g, m, n, p, r, s, t, and u

Chalkboard and chalk

Primary paper


Word cards: bug, horse, hot, books, sun, boat, duck

Assessment word list: bud, bed, duck, cat, drum, stick, thump, hit

Tongue Twister: Uncle was upset because he was unable to put up his umbrella.



1.  Introduce the u=/u/ correspondence and how to spot it in written text. Today, we are going to work with the letter u in written text.  Can anyone tell me what mouth move is made when we say /u/?  That is right, our mouth is open and our tongue stays still.  Great job!  Now I want everybody to make the sound /u/.  Good!  I want to make a of words that contain /u/ on the board.  I know a word, slug.  Now I want help from everybody to make our list. (Some of the words may not contain u but write all the words they say) That was great.  You all did a great job with this!

 2.  Use the list of words on the board and have each student come up and underline u in one word on the board.  Class, we are now going to look up to the board and underline u=/u/ in each word and then read the word.  I will go first, slug, I underlined the u because it makes the /u/ sound and then I say slug.  I want everyone to have a chance to come up to the board and underline the letter u say the word.

3.  Write a tongue twister on the board.  “Uncle was upset because he was unable to put up his umbrella.”  I am going to say the tongue twister and then I want everyone to repeat it. Can anyone raise their hand and tell me a word that has /u/ in it?  Yes!  That is right uncle has the /u/ sound.  Let’s all say uncle and draw the u out uuuuncle.  Great job!  Continue this process until every word has been called out. 

 4.  Now we are going to play a game.  I am going to show you a card that has a word on it.  If the words has the /u/ sound I want everybody to say “umbrella” and if it does not I want everybody to say “rain.”  For example, if the card had bug on it you would say umbrella, but it the card had mad on it you would say rain.  Does everybody understand?  Okay, now let’s play the game.  List of words may be rug, ran, boat, rung, fun, sat, bump, get, etc.

5.  Draw Elkonin boxes on the board so the teacher can model.  Class, we are going to do a letterbox lesson using /u/ sound.

First, I want everyone to take out their letter boxes and letters.  Turn all of your letters with the lowercase side up. Everyone is paying attention very well. Class, I want you to look up here on the board.  I have two letter boxes drawn.  Can anybody tell me why I have only two boxes?  Yes, that is right, because the word has two mouth moves.  For example, I want to spell the word up.  So the first mouth move we make is uuuu and the second mouth move we make is ppp So we would put the u in the first box and the  in the second box.  Now let’s get some practice doing this. I am going to give you a word and let’s try it run.  How many boxes will we need for this word, how many mouth moves does out mouth make?  That is right three.  R will go in the first box then u in the second and n in the third.  You all did a great job!  The students will use these words that I give them to continue with the letterbox lesson: 3[rub, bug, sun, gum] 4[stub and bust]  Class, I will come around after I call out each word and see how you all are doing. Everybody did a great job!  Now I want you to put your letterboxes and letters up.

 6.  Now, I will write each of the words on the board.  I will have the students read the words orally.  Class, we are going to read some words that I write on the board.  I want you to raise your hand and then I will call on you to answer.  (Use the words from the letterbox lesson) up, rub, bug, sun, gum, stub, bust

 7. Children will read the book Bud the Sub.  I will do a book talk to get the children interested.  Children get into your reading pairs and each of you read the book to each other.  The teacher will walk around and observe and assist.

 8. Assessment: I will call some words out to the children and have them write the word that contains the /u/ sound. In what word do you here /u/?  Bud or bed? Duck or cat?  Drum or stick? Thump or hit?


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

Murray, B.A. & Lesniak, T. (1999).  The Letterbox Lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding.  The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.

Wallach and Wallach’s Tongue Twisters-

Wells, Lisa.  Ugly Umbrellas.

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