In order for students to become competent and self-assured readers,
first become aware of phonemes and their uses in the everyday
The short vowels are tremendously significant for the young and
to understand due to their high frequency and required usage in written
spoken language. This lesson is specifically designed to help
and be able to use and spell words with the correspondence u = /uh/. This is accomplished through the use of a
letterbox lesson, reading a short story, and writing a message.
Picture of a confused man to hand
out to students.
- A printed out copy of
to display on overhead projector or smart board.
- Five piece letter
boxes (one set
of boxes per every two students, and a set for the teacher).
- Letter manipulative:
one for the teacher
and one per every two students -(u,p,s,b,d,g,r,c,l,j,n,k,l,m,t,g,e,a,h,i).
- Primary paper
- /u/ worksheet
- Sentence strip
was upset because he was unable to put his umbrella up."
- Bud the Sub
(one copy per every
1. The first thing
that we will do is to review a, e,
i, and o sounds before
learning the u sound. We will
do this by writing them on the board and allowing the students to say
the letter and its sound together. The next thing that I will do is to
display the u
on the smart board and tell the children that this is the letter u and
short vowel sound is /u/. Then
I will tell the children how to easily remember this sound. I will put
of the picture of the confused man up on the overhead projector or
Then I will say /uhhhhh/, stretching the sound out as I
I will then instruct the students to say it with me. We will all say it
together and then I will show them the gesture for u. The
be to scratch their chin and display a confused look on their face,
can't quite remember." We will then practice it together as a
several minutes until all of the children seem to be able to say it
2. Next we will
practice a tongue twister to help them
use the phoneme. The sentence strip will be displayed on the board and
read slowly so that all of the children can hear it clearly and
was upset because he was unable to put his umbrella up."
After I say
it aloud, the students and I will say it together twice. Then we will
say it over
again very slowly, stretching out the uh every time we hear it:
"Uuuuncle was uuuupset because he
was uuuunable to puuuut his uuuumbrella uuuup." We will
with the tongue twister again, but this time we will do the gesture for
the uh sound while we
stretch it out. Each
time the students hear the uh and
stretch it out, they will scratch their chins and have a confused look
3. After the tongue
twister I will help the students
find the u sound in several
different spoken words. The students will listen as I say two
they hear the words, they will have to tell me which of the two words
the u sound in it. To help the
students understand how to do this, I will first to an example to
point. The first words I will do as an example will be the following:
hear the u sound in under or over?" As
I ask them the question and give them the words, I will not stretch the
uh sound out. The students must listen
to see if they can hear it on their own. For the example, I will say
clearly, but I will not say "Uuuunder."
Then I will tell the students that I hear
the u sound in uuuunder,
not over. I will be sure to stretch out the u
sound when giving the answer to the students. I will ask the students
to say each word slowly to themselves and to look for the u sound in the following words:
Up or down? Stuck or slap? Undo or redo? Bush or comb? Bunt or hand? Hug or
kiss? Put or pat? Budge or bridge?
the students are given their sets
of letter boxes and letters, I will model how to hear and then
the sounds in each word in our exercise. I will then display three
and tell the students that each colored box will represent a different
hear. My word will be bud and I will start by saying it once and
slowly stretching it out listening to the different sounds my mouth
as I say the word bud. I will then display the letter boxes and
will start with "bbbbud,"
and I hear the b sound
in bud so I will put the b in the first box. Now let's
the next sound, buuuud. There
is the uh sound, which means that there is the
letter u in that part of the
word. A u will be
placed in the second box
of the letterboxes. Now let's listen for that last sound in budddd. That
sound is the letter d, so now I will put the letter d
third box. Last, I will remove the boxes and then read the word bud
the students. They will repeat the word two times after I say it.
5. The students will
be given letterboxes and letters to
share between two students. I will read them the following words
one by one, and check to see that each group of students fully
watching them place the different letters for each word in their
words will be: get, up, sub, hat, spud, club, junk, plump, cash,
completing the letterbox practice, I will
check for the students' understanding by seeing if they can read the
they had just spelled out in their letterboxes. Each word will be
on the board and the children will be encouraged to sound out each
read the word. Students will be called on randomly to pronounce a
particular word up on the board.
7. Next, the
students will be given the book Bud
the Sub. A book talk will be given on the book to help the
become interested in it. Students will be in pairs and each student
turns reading one page to another. If they finish early, they
encouraged to reread the book for extra practice.
8. After they have
all read the book at least one time,
I will hand out the primary paper and the students be writing a
message titled "Up or Under?" They will be encouraged to use sound
and to spell them on their own using invented spellings. The will
required to write at least five sentences for this creative message.
The students will be constantly and consistently evaluated during each
the u = /uh/ lesson, the letter box lesson, reading with a partner, and
message. Miscues will be noted and additional scaffolding will be
provided as needed. A worksheet will also be provided to help the
Harden, Adriane. Uhhhh... I Can't
Remember What Sound the U Makes. http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/connect/borders/html
- Adams, Jennifer. Jack and the Fat Cat. http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/connect/borders/html
- Educational Insights.
- Murray, B.A., &
(1999). The Letterbox Lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching
Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650.
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