Uhh…Don’t Punch Too Hard!


Ashley Wood

Beginning Reading

Rationale: Children need explicit, systematic phonics instruction to successfully learn to read. It is important that they understand that phonemes can be mapped onto words. In this lesson I will be teaching u = /u/.


            Letterbox set for each student in the class
            Elkonin boxes for each student in the class
            Dry Erase Board/ Chalkboard
            Teacher size letterbox set (large enough to be visible from the front of the class
                for all students) and Elkonin boxes
            A copy of Bud the Sub for each student in the class
            Primary paper
            Picture Worksheet with lunch, sand, drum, truck, dress, brick, club, and junk
            Poster with tongue twister “They were upset because they were unable to get the
                ugly umbrella up.”


1. Today we are going to be talking about the sound that the letter u makes. When we say this sound our mouth is open and our tongue stays down. Let’s learn some ways to remember this sound.

2. Have you ever been playing kind of hard and someone ran into you by accident and hit your stomach and you said /u/? Well that is the exact sound that the letter u makes! Now let’s practice saying it together. Every time that we say /u/ you are going to make a fist and touch your stomach (not punching, just pretending.) Okay, now let’s practice together. /u/!

3. Now let’s try a tongue twister with the /u/ sound in it. Reveal the chart and point to words. “They were upset because they were unable to get the ugly umbrella up.” Now everyone say it together. Good, this time we say it every time you /u/ I want you to stretch out the sound “They were uuuupset because they were uuuuunable to get the uuuuuugly uuuumbrella uuuuup.” Great!! Now let’s try one more thing. This time when we say the tongue twister, I want you to break off the /u/ sound from the word. “They were /u/ pset because they were /u/ nable to get the /u/ gly /u/ mbrella /u/ p! Great job!

4. Now I am going to say some words. If you hear the /u/ sound in the word that I say, I want you to make a fist next to your stomach like we did earlier. Fun, box, cat, tug, stick, pup, run.

5. Each student should now have Elkonin boxes and letterbox set on their desks. Model how to use them by first folding out three Elkonin squares. I use three square because there are three sounds in tug, /t/ /u/ /g/. Use teacher set for the entire class to see. If I wanted to spell the word tug, I would place t in the first box because the first sound that I hear is /t/. In the next box I would place my u because I hear the /u/ sound like punching my stomach. Last, I would place g in the third box because I hear /g/. Now I want you to try to spell some words. Have students spell: dug, cab, run, pup, jet, gum. Move on to four and five phoneme words: club, shred, lunch, crisp, trunk, strap, and sprung. Have the students read the words once they have spelled all of them.

6. Now pass out Bud the Sub to each student and give a short book talk. “This book is about a sub named Bud. The sub floats in water. But the tug hits an iceberg! Bud comes to the rescue, but I hope that no one is hurt. Let’s read to find out. Have the students buddy read the book and look for words that make the /u/ sound. After all students have finished reading, call on students to share some words that they read with /u/. Write them on the board.

7. For assessment, give students worksheets with pictures and review the names of each picture to prevent confusion. Students should color the pictures that’s word contains the /u/ sound. The worksheet should include pictures of each: lunch, sand, drum, truck, dress, brick, club, and junk. For additional assessment, students can one by one come to the teacher’s desk to read the book individually while a running record is taken.


Overstreet, Jill. Beginning Reading: Isabelle the Icky Iguana.


Parker, Jessica. Beginning Reading: Fuzz Gets an Unpleasant Buzz! 


(1990.) Phonics Readers Short Vowels. Bud the Sub. Carson, CA. Educational Insights.

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