Uhh?? Is There a Bug Under the Rug?


Beginning Reading

Kelsey Fourroux



Rationale: Students will learn about the letter u and how it makes the /u/ sound. In order to be a successful reader, children must first learn to recognize letters and be able to identify them with a specific sound. In this lesson, children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the letter u. The representation that children will learn to help them remember u = /u/ will be a person saying “uhh” as if thinking or pondering a tough question. Children will spell and read words containing the letter u in a letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence u = /u/.


Materials: Image of a person thinking, cover-up critter, Elkonin boxes for children, whiteboard/Smartboard Elkonin boxes for teacher, whiteboard/Smartboard letters for teacher, letters for each child: (d, b, u, g, f, n, h, j, m, p, t, t, r, s), list of spelling words on poster to read: (us, bug, fun, hug, bun, jump, hunt, trust, dust, lunch, sug), decodable text “The Mutt and the Bug,” and assessment worksheet (URL cited in references)



1.      Say: In order to become the best readers, we need to learn the code that will tell us how to pronounce words. Today we are going to learn about the letter u. This letter makes the /u/ sound. You can think of it like a person thinking really hard about something as they are saying “uhh…” (show image of person thinking here).

2.      Say: Now let’s think of how our mouth is moving when we say “uhh.” My tongue is touching the bottom of my mouth and my mouth is opened just a little bit to let out the air and noise. Now I want to hear you guys try to make the /u/ sound. Let’s put our finger on the side of our head to represent the /u/ sound and that we are thinking really hard about something.

3.      Say: Good job thinking really hard about the /u/ sound. Let’s look at the word mud like I love to play in the mud after it rains. When we see the word mud, we see the u in the middle so we know it is going to sound like “uhh.” This word has three sounds in it (show the following on the Elkonin boxes). I know the first sound is /m/ and the last sound is /d/. All I have to do now is blend them together m-u-d to read the word mud.

4.      Say: Now I want you to read some words for me using your letterboxes. Let’s start with the word us. “My sister went to the story with us.” This word uses only two boxes. Try putting the word us in these boxes and I will come around to see what you guys have. (Continue this process with these words: bug, fun, hug, bun, jump, hunt, trust)

5.      Say: Now I want you to read the words that you spelled (on the board with the same words and extra words dust and lunch and pseudoword sug.) Have students read the words in unison, then call on individual students to read through the list again, one word per student.

6.      Say: You guys have done such a great job spelling and reading words with the /u/ sound. Now we are going to read a book called “The Mutt and the Bug.” This story is about a mutt and a bug that live in a hut together. The bug jumps on the bug to play with the mutt, but the mutt doesn’t want to play with him. We will have to read it to find out if the bug will have a friend to play with. Let’s pair up and take turns reading the pages of the book together. (After this, the class can read the book chorally with the teacher).

7.      Say: You guys have been doing such a good job today reading words the /u/ sound in them. Now though, I want to see what you know about u = /u/. On this worksheet, you will see different pictures on the left side and on the right side you will see words with the /u/ sound. I want you to draw a line matching the picture to the correct word. (Collect worksheets for assessment)




Odell, Lauren. 2012. “Smush That Ugly U Bug.” Reading Genie: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/awakenings/odelllbr.htm


Ryan, Cheryl. The Mutt and the Bug. http://www.readinga-z.com/book.php?id=338.


Short U Words: Match the Words to the Pictures. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/alphabet/matchwordsandpix/shortu/


Ladybug. http://clipart-for-free.blogspot.com/2008/06/cute-bug-clipart.html

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