U-u-under The U-u-umbrella!


Beginning Readers Design

By: Lauren Faucett

Rationale: Beginning readers need to be able to recognize that phonemes and letters correspond with each other in order to become a proficient reader. Through this activity and the knowledge gained, students will learn to recognize, spell, and read words that contain the correspondence u = /u/.

Student copies of Bud the Sub by Sheila Cushman, Educational Insights, 1990                             
Elkonin letter boxes and tile letters for each student                                                                  
Letters: b, u, d, e, t, r, c, k, s, m, l, s, h, p, t, n, c                                                                                 
Dry erase board and markers
Primary paper                                                                                                                              Pencils                                                                                                                                           
Words for board:  sun, duck, bug, scuff, snug, sprung, etc…
Word list: bud, bed, truck, step, drum, slush, lamp, pest, crunch, trust                                    
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. So now I want you to make the /u/ sound like you are a little confused with something and I even want you to put your finger up to your mouth, “uhhhh!” Now can anyone tell me what your mouth is doing when you make that /u/ sound? That is right, our mouth is open and our tongue stays still.  Great job!  Lets say it again, “uhhh!” Good! Now I am going to need your help to make a list of words with that /u/ sound on the board. Let’s see, I know a word, duck. What words can you guys come up with? (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.  Have each student come up and underline the u in one word on the board.  Alright, great! Now we are now going to look up to the board and underline the u=/u/ in each word and then read the word out loud to everyone.  I will go first, duck, I underlined the u because it makes the /u/ sound and then I say “duck”.  I want everyone to have a chance to come up to the board and underline the letter u in each word and say it.

3.  Write a tongue twister on the board.  “Uncle was upset because he was unable to put up his umbrella.”  Now has anyone heard a tongue twister before? Well I have a great one here that will help us practice reading words with that /u/ sound! Can anyone raise their hand and tell me a word in this tongue twister that has /u/ in it?  Yes!  That is right uncle has the /u/ sound.  Let’s all say uncle and draw the u out when we say it and I want you to put your finger to your mouth each time we say it like “uuuuncle.” Let’s say it, “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 read several words out loud.  If the words have the /u/ sound I want everybody to hold up their umbrellas way up high so I can see them, and if it doesn’t, you are just going to have to sit it the rain, so we’ll say “bummer!” For example, if the word was bug, you would hold that umbrella up very high! But if I had said “mad” you would say what? “Bummer!” Right!  Does everybody understand?  Okay, now let’s play the game.  List of words may be bud, bed, truck, step, drum, slush, lamp, pest, crunch, trust, etc.

5. Draw Elkonin boxes on the board and all the letters that are going to be used so the teacher can model.  Class, we are going to practice spelling words with the /u/ sound. First, I want everyone to take out their letter boxes and letters.  Turn all of your letters that are listed up here with the lowercase side up. Everyone is paying attention very well. Now 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 “under.”  So the first mouth move we make is uuuu and the second mouth move we make is nnn, then dddd and errr. So we would put the u in the first box and the n in the second box, d in the third, and the diagraph er in the fifth letter box.  Now let’s all get some practice. I am going to give you a word, how about “hug.”  How many boxes will we need for this word, how many mouth moves does out mouth make?  That is right three.  H will go in the first box then u in the second and g in the third.  Great job looking for the sound that each letter makes!  The students will use these words that I give them to continue with the letterbox lesson: 3[rub, bug, sun, gum, lap, cub,] 4[stub and bust] Make sure that each time the number of phonemes changes that the students are prompted to open their letterbox up by one more box. (A review word should be included.)Now I am going to 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 these same words that we just spelt on the board.  For example, I will read this word: ll-uuuuu, (there’s that uhh sound), luu-ck, luck! I want you to raise your hand and then I will call on you to answer. 

 7. Children will be placed in pairs to read the book Bud the Sub.  I will do a book talk to get the children interested. “Bud is a Submarine who has a very important job to do when a tug boat gets hit! Can Bud save this hit tug? We’ll have to read to find out!” Now I want each of you in your pairs to read this book to each other.  The teacher will walk around and observe and assist.

 8. Assessment: I will write a message topic on the board that the students will use to prompt their journals; If I were a tug… Remember that when we make the letter u that we start at the fence line and draw down to the sidewalk, curve over and back up to the fence. Now, without lifting your pencil, you should draw a line back down to the sidewalk.  (Children should use invented spelling.) Each student will then read aloud their message to the class. The assessment will be how well the students write and read aloud their messages to the class.

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

Wallach and Wallach’s Tongue Twisters- http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/twisters.html

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

Braswell, Jamie.  The Tug Says Uhh! http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/begin/braswellbr.html

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