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Spooky Sound
Beginning Reading Design
Marthe Schreitmueller

Rationale:  In order for children to learn to read and spell words, they must first understand that letters stand for phonemes which map out the sounds in spoken words.  The ability to recognize phonemes in a spoken context is important in that this must occur before children can match letters to phonemes.  This lesson will help children identify the oo= /U/ (long U) correspondence.  They will experience a meaningful representation and letter symbol that will later help them practice how to recognize /U/ in both spoken and written words.

Materials:  Primary paper and pencil, chart strip with the sentence “Oodles of ooblick are oozing out,” word cards (Ooodles, of, ooblick, are, oozing, out), books - Goodnight, Baby Monster by Laura Leuck, picture pages with pictures showing: kid, troop, line, loop, zoom, fall, boot, shoe.


  1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that our written language is like a secret code.  "The hardest part is to learn which mouth moves different letters tell us to do when we read words.  Today, we’re going to work on the mouth move /U/.  Let’s think about and try to spot what our mouths do when we use that sound in different words."
  1. Ask:  "Did you ever see someone put their hands up to their face when they see something scary and maybe even cover their eyes?  Some people make a sound that says /U/.  Let’s pretend that something scares us now.  We’ll do the spooky movement (put hands to face) and then make the spooky sound that goes with it."
  1. Let’s try a tongue twister [on chart strip].  “Oodles of ooblick are oozing out.”  Let’s all say it three times together.  This time, when we say it again, we’re going to stretch the /U/ sound in the words and do our spooky movement whenever we hear that sound.  “Oooodles of oooobleck are ooozing out.”
  1. [Have students take our primary paper and pencils.] "We can use the letters oo to spell /U/.  Let’s practice writing two lowercase o’s together.  Don't forget to leave spaces between your pairs.  I would really like to see everyone’s pairs, so I'll walk around to look and help anyone that needs it. 
  1. "Let me show you how to find the /U/ sound in loop.  I’m going to stretch loop out very slowly so that we can listen for the spooky sound.  L-l-l-l-oo-p.  L-l-l-l-oo-oo-oo…there it is!  I hear our spooky sound, do you?  Now let's try writing a word with oo in it.  I will write the word zoom.  Start with the z...Next, is our spooky sound oo...Then, the last letter is m.  Z-z-oo-oo-oo-m.  Zoom!  Now you try writing it.  Are there any other words that you can think of that have oo in it?  Try spelling them!
  1. Pass out several different word cards to each student. Have students practice reading and identifying words with the /U/ sound by playing a game.  "Now, I’m going to pass out some word cards.  Let’s see who can spot the /U/ sound and mouth move. If I call a word with the oo sound in it, let's all make the spooky sound and movement!"  Call the words out loud in a mixed up order and have the students with that specific word card hold it up when they hear it.  Next, have students answer these questions and discuss how they knew:  "Do you hear /U/ in kid or troop?  Line or loop?  Zoom or fall?  Boot or shoe?    How about: The, spooky, witch, will, soon, swoop, on, her, broomstick, and, snoop."
  1. Say: “Did you know that baby monsters have to go to sleep too?  They have rules and certain ways that they like to be put to bed, just like you!  Can you guess what they like at bedtime?  You and a partner will have to read Goodnight, Baby Monster to find out!  After students read the story, go through the book together to find the words with the /U/ sound.  List them on the board and discuss any that are unclear.  Have students choose their favorite word from the list to put into a message (invented spelling).
  1. To assess, distribute the picture page and have them individually go through the page and match the the /U/ sound pictures with the word column.  Afterwards, go through the responses as a class and have students discuss how they got their answers.


Leuck, Laura.  Goodnight, Baby Monster.  Scholastic Inc. 2003.

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