My Favorite Sub

Beginning Reading

Rachel Noto

Rationale: This lesson will help beginning readers to learn to spell and read words.  They will learn to recognize u = /u/ in written and spoken words.  They will practice pronouncing, reading and writing the u = /u/ correspondence using a letterbox lesson. 


-student copies of Bud the Sub
-letterboxes drawn on the board
-student letterboxes and cutout letters: c,u,b,s,m,r,t,g,l,p,d,n,k,
-cards with the letterbox words: cub, sum, rub, tug, sub, lump, club, dunk, truck
-activity sheets with a picture of a bed, a tub, a nut, a hat and a rug on it (pictures should be labeled with word underneath)


1. "Who can tell me what sound the u makes? It makes the uugghh like you are being punched in the stomach (show motion and make sound together). Does anyone remember what our mouth does when we make the /u/ sound?  Perfect, our mouth opens and our tongue just hangs out while we make the sound. Let's begin!

2. "Can anyone tell me a word that has the /u/ sound in it?"  Wait for response.  "Okay."  Here are a few more words that have the /u/ sound: up, rub, but."  Teacher will write these words on the board.

3. Underline the u in each of the words.  "The u's are underlined because that is the letter u that makes the /u/ sound. If I were to write the word tub, we would underline the u because it makes the /u/ sound. There are many other words that we say that also have the /u/ sound.  We are going to learn to find these words in books and writing.  Let's try a few more." Write bug on the board.  "Can some one come up and underline the letter that makes the /u/ sound?"  Wait for volunteer.

4. Write sentence on the board. It is fun to run and then jump in the tub. "Can anyone come up and pick out the /u/ sounds?" Allow volunteers to raise hands. "Good, run has the /u/ sound in it. Let us all say run but stretching out the uugghh sound so we can hear it really well. Rrruuunnn. Good! Now other volunteers are going to come up and practice finding the rest of the /u/ sounds in the sentence."

5. Now the class will use their letter boxes to do a /u/ letter box lesson. First ask students to get out their letters and letter boxes. Then remind students that each box holds only one mouth movement. "I am going to show you an example on the board."Fun in the sentence Reading is fun, has three movements: Ffff uhhhh nnn. So the f sound goes in the first box, the /u/ sound in the second box and the n sound in the last box." Remind students that only the lower case letters are to be used. "Now it is your turn to fill in your letterboxes after I say each word. The first word is cub. Can I have a volunteer com up to the board and fill in my boxes to show us cub? Good job! C goes in the first box, u goes in the second box and b goes in the last box"

6. Continue same way using these words: sum, rub, tug, sub, lump, club, dunk, truck."

7. "Now that we have spelled all of those words, let see if we can read them out loud." Hold up cards with those words on it. Let the children raise their hands to read and tell that word.

8. "I am going to give each of you a copy of the book Bud the Sub. This book is about a little submarine ship. Bud is friends with Tug the tugboat. One day Bud is out in the water and someone is in trouble. Bud needs Tug to help out. Now you need to read to book to find out what happens at the end to Bud and Tug. Go ahead and start reading" Walk around to observe and scaffold. Remember that if they ask you for help do not give the word immediately. "If you get stuck on a word, use your finger as a cover up."


Assessment: The students will be given an activity sheet.  The sheet contains 5 pictures with the name of the picture under it.  They are to circle all of the pictures/words that contain the /u/ sound in them.

Murray, B. A., & Lesnick, T. (1999) The letterbox lesson:  A hands-on approach for
teaching decoding

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