Uhh, Has Uncle Jud Seen My Ugly Umbrella?

Beginning Reading Design

Claire Simpson




Rationale: Before becoming successful readers, students must first understand a grapheme/phoneme relationship. In this lesson, students will learn the correspondence u = /u/.  They will be given a sound representation to help them identify /u/ in spoken words, and together will review written representations to identify u in written words.  



- dry erase markers for whiteboard

- picture of someone deep in thought (to illustrate /u/ sound)

- pencils for students

- letter tiles (u, p, s, n, c, b, r, g, l, k, h, t, m)

- Elkonin boxes

- copy of Fuzz and the Buzz for every other student

- assessment worksheet: (see link under References)



1. Introduce the lesson to the children, say: Today we are going to learn a secret code for the letter u. [Draw a u on the board]. Once we can break the code for u's sound, we will be able to hear it in the words we say and when we see it in written words.


2. Say: Can anyone tell me what sound the letter u makes? That is right, the u sounds like this: [I will put my fingers to my chin in a U shape, look deep in thought, and say, "uhhh"]. I will put a picture of someone deep in thought making the "uhh" sound on the board. "Now, I want everyone to make the 'uhh' sound with me and look like you are in deep thought. Do not forget to shape your fingers like a u and place them on your chin! Good job! That is the sound the letter u makes in words. Point to the letter u on the board and say, Dont you think the letter u looks a little like an upside down umbrella? This is how we can remember to write a u!


3. Say: Now I am going to write a silly sentence on the board. I will read it first, and then you can repeat it after me, ok? [Write The ugly bug hugged my Uncle Jud and ran under the umbrella]. Read tongue twister to students, then have them repeat it. Say: Good job everyone! Now lets read it again, but this time lets stretch out the /u/ sound every time we hear it. Dont forget to make your u fingers and place them on your chin every time you hear the sound, ok? The uuugly buuug huuuged my Uuuncle Juuud and ran uuunder the uuumbrella. Good!


4. Now boys and girls, I am going to say some sets of words. I want you to tell me which ones have the /u/ sound in them, ok? Do you hear /u/ in BUG or BEE? DIRT or MUD? RUN or WALK? TENT or HUT? CUT or SLICE? Great!


5. Now that we know what the letter u sounds like, lets practice spelling words with the /u/ sound. Spread your letterbox letters on your desk. Remember, you only need to put one sound per box (model the word fun for students on the letterbox you drew on the board, putting only one sound per box). Have students do the following words by themselves: 2 (up); 3 (sun, cub, rug, luck, shut); 4 (thump); 5 (crust). Say: When you think you have the word, raise your hand and I will come around to check! After the students have completed all the words, make sure they can read them write them on the board, point to a word one at a time, and have the kids read the word aloud together.


6. Say: Now, we will read Fuzz and the Buzz. This book is about a silly bear named Fuzz. He likes to play outside and shake the trees, but there are animals in   the trees that do not like to be shaken. Can you think of an animal that might not want to be shaken? Well, to find out what animal is in the tree and what happens to Fuzz, we need to read the book! I want each of you to find a partner. One of  you will read pages 1-4 and the other person will read pages 5-8, ok? Try your best to read it, but if you need help, raise your hand and I will come to you.


7. For assessment, distribute worksheet. Children are to circle the word that represents the picture, and then write the picture name on the line below.



- Bailey, Pamela. Uhh, I Dont Know. 2008.  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/passages/baileybr.html

- Cushman, Sheila. Fuzz and the Buzz.  Educational Insights. Carson, CA:  1990.

- assessment worksheet: http://www.phonicsworld.com/shortu1.html


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