Beginning Reading Lesson Design

  Up, Up, Up, and Away!!!

 By: Beth Gamble

Rationale: It is necessary for beginning readers to be able to recognize that letters map out phonemes in spoken words. Vowels are often hardest for children to learn. In this lesson, the children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words that contain the correspondence u = /u/. This correspondence will be learned by giving the children a meaningful representation and by giving them practice with both written and spoken words that contain u = /u/.

    Word cards with the following words printed on it: tuck and dog, bat and but, fun and tag, bug and pat,
    mat and run.

Sentence strip with tongue twister: Uncle was upset because the balloons went up up up.

Letterboxes for each student.

Large cards with the following words written separately on each: cub, luck, pug, slum, hump, grub, pluck, strut, cat, den, sent, cup

Letters; a, b, c, d, e, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, u (per student)

Chalk or white board, eraser and marker

 Fuzz and Buzz (Educational Insights book)

   Primary paper and pencil



1.  Introduce the u = /u/ correspondence and how to spot it in written words. Today we are going to work with the letter u in things we read. (hold the letter u card for the students to see). The letter u makes the /u/ sound. How does our mouth move when we say /u/? Our mouth is open and our tongue stays still. This is like the sound we make when we see our balloons going u-u-up in the sky.  Let’s all say the /u/ sound and point up like we are seeing our balloon go uuup uuup uuup in the sky.

2. To practice recognizing the letter u in written text, I will hold up two cards at a time (cards with words tuck and dog,, bat and but, fun and tag,, bug and pat, mat and run written on them). Model for them first showing and saying duck and dog.  “I hear /u/ in duck, not dog. The u is here between the d and the c.  Now you all try!” Ask students which word contains the letter u. Hold up one card and as a group say it together, then do the same with the second card. Ask “Which word has the /u/ sound in it?”  Call on students to answer and point out where they see u in the word.

3. Now I want us to practice saying our silly sentence together. Uncle was upset because the balloons went up up up. Say it together several times. Now I want us to say our tongue twister, but let’s stretch out the /u/. Uuuncle was uuupset because the balloons went uuup uuup uuup. Point up when you hear the /u/ sound like you are pointing as your balloons go up up up.

4. Draw Elkonin letterbox on the board for teacher use during this part of the lesson. Give each student an Elkonin letterbox with his or her own letter tiles. Ask the students to make sure that their tiles are lower-case side up. We are going to practice spelling words with the /u/ sound. Look at the board and notice that I have two boxes drawn—this is for two mouth movies. Right now, I am going to spell the word cup. The first box is for the first sound in cup, the /c/. The second box is for the /u/, like the sound of our balloon going uuup uuup uuup, and the third box is for the /p/. Now you are going to practice with the following words: (3)-cub, luck, pug, cat, den  (4)-slum, hump, grub, sent  (5)-plunk, strut.  Make sure that each time the number of phonemes changes that the students are prompted to open their letterbox up by one more box. Review words have also been included in this lesson to review the short vowel correspondences already learned.

5. Get out the letter box words that have been written on the big cards.  Show students the model word.  We are going to read the word cup. Let us start with the /u/, next let’s add the /c/--/cu/. Say it together. Now let’s add the last /p/ - /cup/. Our word is cup. Call on one student to read the word, and then have the class repeat the word as a group.   Repeat the rest of the words calling on students to sound out the word and then repeat the word as a group.

6. The students will be placed in pairs to read Fuzz and Buzz. Book talk: This book is about a bear who loves honey, but this bear, while getting honey one day, gets into some trouble, to find out what happens to Fuzz you and your partner will have to read Fuzz and the Buzz.

7. Assess the students:  Hand out worksheets containing pictures that have the u correspondence.  “I want you to look at each picture and decide if the word contains our /u/ sound in it.  When you find a picture with that sound, color it.”  You might even encourage students to spell the word by writing it under the picture.  Walk around and check students as they do the worksheet. While students work on the picture page, I will call students up one at a time to assess their reading of Fuzz and Buzz and their understanding of u = /u/ in print and spoken language. I will be using a running record.


Autumn Aldrich, Uh Oh, It's U

Maria Jackson, Balloons Go Up, Up, Up in the Sky.      

Brittany Moore, Up, Up, and Away With the Letter U

Murray, Dr. Bruce. Teaching Letter Recognition.

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