Pups in Suds

Beginning Reading Design

Kelsey Ray


Rationale: A crucial part of learning to read and write is to acquire phonemic awareness. This means that readers know the relationship between the written letter (grapheme) and the sound it makes (phonemes) when said aloud. In this lesson, students will learn to decode words with the short vowel correspondence u= /u/. They will practice using the short vowel u through reading a decodable book, spelling in a letterbox lesson, and writing words containing this short vowel. They will also refer to a meaningful representation (person thinking and saying "uhh") to better their understanding of the short vowel correspondence u=/u/.



-Decodable text: Fuzz and Buzz

-Baggie of letter tiles and Elkonin letter boxes for each student and teacher - (letters needed: s, s, u, d, t, g, b, c, l, p, k, m, n)

-Graphic image of puppies in a bucket of suds

-Typed list of words from letter box lesson

-Meaningful representation of a person thinking

-Primary paper, pencils, dry erase markers, whiteboard

-ELMO or projector for teacher to use as she models letterbox lesson and - displays the list of words for students to read aloud

-Assessment materials: printed word strips of 5 pseudowords




1. Say: In order to become even better readers, we must learn the code that tells us what sound to make for each letter. Previously, we have learned the code for a = /a/ that is heard in the word bat, e=/e/ that is heard in the word bed, i=/i/ that is heard in the word stick, and lastly o=/o/ that is heard in the word hot (Be sure to write these words on the board: bed, stick, hot). Today we will be learning the last short vowel sound for the code u=/u/. When I say /u/ I think of the sound you make when you are thinking really hard about something. When a teacher calls on you to answer a question, you might point to your head and say "uhh let me think about it for a minute". 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 twister with the "uh" sound in it. Repeat after me: Bud's pups run to the bucket of suds. Okay, not let's stretch out this tongue twister. Buuuuud's puuuuups ruuuun to the buuuuucket of suuuuds. 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 say the sentence one more time together and I want you to place your hand on your chin softly and feel your mouth open every time you make the "uh" sound. Bud's pups run to the bucket of suds. Did you feel your mouth move like I did?

4. Next introduce a letter box lesson. Say: Now that we have broken the code for u by learning how to write it and hear it, let's learn how to spell it. Suppose I wanted to spell the word suds. Suds are bubbles or foam. You might find suds in your bath tub or in the sink when you are washing dishes. Look at the picture of the pup in the buckets. The bucket is filled with suds that are cleaning the dog. To spell suds in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count: /s/ /u/ /d/ /s/. I have 4 phonemes, therefore I need 4 boxes. I hear the /u/ sound right after the /s/ sound so I will put the letter tile u in the second box. We know the word starts with s so we'll put that tile in the first box. After /u/ I hear /d/ and then /s/ so that must mean that d goes in the third box, and s goes in the fourth box. Now let's blend all the boxes together as we say ss-uu-dd-ss, ssuuuudddss, suds. There we go! Suds, like the bubbles in the puppy's bucket.

5. We will continue practicing with the letterboxes as a class. We will review with easier words such as tug, bat, and bud which only need three boxes. Then we will spell the words club, stick, pluck, and slug 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, thrift, and crust.

6. Say: "Now I am going to let you read the words that we have practiced spelling". Present a typed list of the words suds, tug, bud, club, pluck, slug, trunk, crust, and extra words plump and wuck (pseudo word) on the ELMO or projector. "I want you to read these words aloud together as a class now".

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 Fuzz and Buzz. Fuzz is a cub who wants to get some nuts from the top of a tree one day. The only problem is that the nuts keeps falling and bumping him on the head. Also in the tree are some swarming bugs. Will Fuzz be able to get any nuts? Let's read and find out! Turn and take turns reading with your partner Fuzz and Buzz. Before you turn the page, talk with your partner about what is happening in the story. You can also make any predictions about what will happen next. I will be walking around while you are reading to make sure you are on task. Once every pair has finished reading, we will read it aloud together as a class.  I will call on students to read a page and we will discuss events in the story.



Students will be pulled in small groups and asked to read aloud five pseudo words (puk, zan, mump, crug, and wib).This will assess their ability to read unfamiliar words with the u=/u/ correspondence.  While I pull small groups, other students will answer comprehension questions about the book Fuzz and Buzz. They will answer the following questions on their own paper and turn them in when finished.

-Why did Fuzz become tired? (He was running from the bees)

-What does Fuzz's mom do to make him feel better? (She gives him a bubble bath)

-Why did Buzz get stung by bees? (He was playing in the tree where the beehive was)



Fuzz and the Buzz. Phonics Readers. Educational Insights. 1990.  


Murray, B.A. & Lesniak, T (1999). The Letterbox Lesson: A hands-on approach for teaching decoding. The Reading Teacher, 52, 644-650


Amanda Gluckman, Uncle Understanding says Uhhh: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/projects/gluckmanbr.html


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