Up goes the Umbrella in a Thunderstorm
 beginning reading, short u, Letter Box lesson

 Rebekah Aldridge
Beginning Reading


The understanding of letters and the phoneme correspondence is the perfect beginning to a lifelong relationship with reading. This is why children must come to understand this relationship. To introduce this idea to students, begin with the short vowels and then work your way to other letters. This lesson will finish the short vowels, by using the short u. The lesson will help students identify the phoneme /u/ in spoken and written words. They will be able to recognize /u/ in spoken words by learning a corresponding hand gesture that goes along with the phoneme. A picture to represent the phoneme will also be introduced to the students. The students will also practice finding the /u/ in their reading text.


1.) Picture of an umbrella

2.) Poster board with "During the thunderstorm the umbrella must go up."

3.) Letter boxes and letters b, c, d, g, h, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, u, k. Word lists: 3-{cup, duck} 4-{plug, dump, thump} 5{crunch, scrub}.

4.) Fuzz and the Buzz Phonics Readers

5.) Sheets of paper with large print words. These words are pseudowords like: funch, tule,  fuver.

6.)Worksheet with pictures of object with /u/ in them. For example, a sun, a man running, an umbrella, or a hamburger or hotdog bun.



1.) Review the letters previously studied. "Today we will learn about the letter U, but first, who can tell me the short vowels and their phonemes that we have studied?"

2.) After reviewing the letter learned, introduce the lesson by explaining that we are going to learn about the short vowel u=/u/. Write u in capital and lower case.

3.) Introduce the letter and Sound. "This letter is the U. I have written it two ways, in upper and lower case. The u makes a very interesting sound. It makes the /u/ sound, like you're putting up an umbrella. Let's practice the sound while doing the hand gesture." For the hand gesture put one hand on the bottom of an invisible umbrella. Now move the other hand up, like you are putting the invisible umbrella up.

4.) "Does everyone have the hand gesture down. Great! Let's try the tongue twister now. During the thunderstorm the umbrella must go up! Let's say it three times to practice and make sure we have it. Great job at pronouncing those U's everyone! Now let's try it with the hand gesture and make sure to stretch out those U's. During the thuuunderstorm them uuumbrella muuust go uuup! Very good everyone."

5.) "Now I am going to show you how to find the short /u/ in a spoken word. I am going to find /u/ in thunder. I am going to stretch out thuuunder, thunder. Now let's stretch out a word together. Let's say the word shudder, Shuuudder. Good job everyone."

6.) Pass out letters and letter boxes. "I'm going to show you how to use these letters and letter boxes. First, I am going to use it to map out the phonemes in spoken words and I will begin with three. To start with, fold out three letter boxes. Remember each phoneme goes in one box. I'll show you how. The first word we will map out is cup. So, I'm going to begin by saying c-u-p. I hear the /u/ sound. So, I will put the u in the second box, and I hear the /c/ in the first. To finish the word I hear /p/; I'll put a p in the last box." Continue to map out the phonemes with the provided list. Provide each child with a list of words or write it on the board.

7.) "You are all doing so well I think you can find /u/ in words in a book. Now you are going to read Fuzz and the Buzz. In this story Fuzz runs around in the hot sun. He plays around trees with bees in it and he gets into trouble. To see how he gets out of it we'll have to finish reading it. Pass out books and have students read silently, "when you're finished shut your book."

8.) "Now I want you to read these funny words on these pieces of paper. I want you to do your best and read them." Show them the pseudowords.

9.) For assessment, I am going to pass out a worksheet that has pictures that when you describe them the word has the/u/ in it.



Ward, Marybeth, Uuuuuuuhhhhh? I don't understand!. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/encounters/wardbr.html

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