Uh, Can you help me?

Beginning Reading Lesson

Janie Brady

Rationale: This lesson teaches the correspondence u = /u/. In order to be able to read accurately, students need explicit instruction on the different sounds that letters make. In this lesson, students will learn to recognize, read, and spell words containing the /u/ sound. They will learn a meaningful representation (cave man scratching his head saying "uuuu"), spell words using a Letter Box Lesson, and read a decodable book containing the correspondence u = /u/.


Decodable text Bud the Sub

Letter box lesson boxes and letter (bug, pat, rug, junk, runt, plus, plum, clump, blend, crust)

Graphic image of caveman saying "uuuuuu"

Typed list of words from letter box lesson

Primary paper and pencils

Dry erase board and markers


1. Say: In order to become even better readers, we must learn what sounds letters make when they are in different words. Before, we have learned a = /a/, e=/e/, i=/i/, and lastly o=/o/ (write examples on the board). Today we will be learning the last short vowel: u=/u/. When I say /u/ I think of the sound a caveman makes when he is thinking really hard about something. Can't you picture him standing outside of his cave thinking "uuuuuuu." Now let's look at the spelling of u. The letter u looks like a ramp that skateboards ride on. To write it, we start at the top of the ramp right under the fence, ride all the way down the ramp, and all the way back up to the top of the ramp under the fence. Let's practice writing the letter u with our fingers in the air.

2.. Have the students practice writing the letter u on primary paper. To help them learn the phoneme correspondence, ask them to say aloud "uh" each time they "ride the skateboard ramp" when forming the letter. Say: Now we are going to ride the skate ramp as we write the letter u on our primary paper. Each time you "ride the skateboard ramp" to form u, say aloud to yourself the sound "uh" that u makes.

3. Say: Now let's try a tongue tickler with the "uh" sound in it. Repeat after me: Uncle was upset because he was unable to put his umbrella up. Now let's stretch it out! Uuuuuuuncle was uuuupset because he was uuuuunable to put his uuuuuumbrella uuuuuup. How did your mouth move when we made the "uh" sound in this sentence? I noticed that my jaw dropped and my mouth opened whenever I made this sound. Let's try it together one more time and feel when our chins drop!

4. Next introduce a letter box lesson. Say: Now that we have learned how to write u and hear it, let's learn how to spell it. Suppose I wanted to spell the word clump. To spell clump in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /c/ /l/ /u/ /m/ /p/. I have 5 phonemes, therefore I need 5 boxes. I hear the /u/ sound right after the /c/ /l/ sound so I will put the letter tile u in the third box. We know the word starts with c so we'll put that tile in the first box. After /u/ I hear /m/ then /p/. Now let's blend all the boxes together as we say ccc-lll-uuu-mmm-ppp, cccclllluuummmppp, clump!,. There we go! Clump!

5. We will continue practicing with the letterboxes as a group. We will review with easier words such as bug, pat, and rug which only need three boxes. Then we will spell the words junk, runt, plus, and plum that need four boxes because they have four phonemes. We will use up to five boxes to spell words with five phonemes such as clump, blend, and crust.

6. Say: "I am going to let you read the words that we have practiced spelling". Present a typed list of the words bug, pat, rug, junk, runt, plus, plum, clump, blend, crust, and wuck (pseudo word) on the SmartBoard or on a projector. "I want you to read these words aloud."

7. Say: You have done a wonderful job learning how to read our spelled words with the "uh" sound. Now we are going to read a book called Bud the Sub! This book is about a little sub and his driver! They are driving around and they see a big boat crash! I wonder what will happen next…"



Read Psudowords

lunk, mulmp, zuck, tup, nush


-         Kelsey Ray; Pups in Suds

-         http://www.auburn.edu/~klr0016/RayBR.htm

-         Bud the Sub, Educational Insights, Carson, CA. 1990

-   Caveman GIF - http://www.animationbuddy.com/flag/Geography_and_History/Cavemen/10/260/



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