Meredith Pedersen

I. Rationale:
To learn to read and spell words, children need the alphabetic insight that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words. Before children can match letters to phonemes, they have to recognize phonemes in spoken word contexts. Short vowels are probably the toughest phonemes to identify. This lesson will help children identify /u/ (short u). They will learn to recognize /u/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then practice finding /u/ in words.

II. Materials

  • Primary paper & pencil
  • Chart with ãMy ugly uncle was upset because he was unusual.ä
  • Fuzz and the Buzz book
  • Crayons and blank paper
  • /u/ picture cards with duck, goose, walk, run, cub, kid, rain, sun, work, fun
  • Picture sheets with bag, bug, cub, cat, sun, rain, gum, grape, rug, rake, car, tub.

III. Procedures

1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that our written language is a secret code and that we must learn what the letters stand for. These letters can stand for different movements we make with our mouths. Today we're going to work on spotting the mouth move /u/. At first it will be tricky, but soon you'll be able to spot /u/ in all kinds of words.

2. Ask students: Has there ever been a time when you were confused or didnât know the answer to a question? Sometimes when that happens we make the /u/ sound. Thatâs the mouth move weâre looking for in words today. Letâs practice saying, ã/u/... I dunno, Mom!ä [place finger on cheek or scratch head and look upwards, as if confused] together!

3. Now letâs try a tongue twister [refer to chart]. ãMy ugly uncle was upset because he was unusual.ä Everyone, letâs say it together two times. Now letâs do it again, but this time stretch out the /u/ sounds. ãMy uuuuuuugly uuuuuuncle was uuuuuupset because he was uuuuuunusual.ä Nice work!

4. Ask students to take out their primary paper and pencils. Now we are going to use the letter u to spell the sound /u/. Letâs begin! Start by leaving the dotted fence and going down the sidewalk, curve around the block, back up to the fence, and now, without lifting up your pencil, go straight down to the sidewalk. When you finish, I will give you a sticker and you need to do it nine more times for practice.

5. Let me show you how to find /u/ in the word cub. Iâm going to stretch out the word very slowly. C-c-c-c-u-u-u-b-b-b. C-c-c-c-u-u-u. There it is! We do hear /u/ in cub.

6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /u/ in walk or run? Duck or goose? Cub or kid? Fun or work? Rain or sun? A picture card will be passed out to each student. Say: Letâs see if you can hear /u/ in some more words. Show me your ãUhhh· I dunno!ä cards if you hear the /u/ sound. My, ugly, uncle, was, upset, because, he, was, unusual. [Note: was has /u/].

7. Say: ãFuzz is a little bear cub. One day he is playing outside and gets chased by some buzzing bees. What do you think will happen to Fuzz? Weâll have to read this book in order to find out.ä Read Fuzz and the Buzz and discuss events of the story during the process. Then read it again, this time having the students make their ãUhh· I dunno, Mom!ä poses with confused faces. Record these words on the board, then have the children draw a bear and write a message using invented spelling. Display their work.

8. As an assessment, distribute the picture page and have students name each picture, then ask them to circle the pictures whose names have /u/.

IV. References