Under My Umbrella


Stephanie Howard

Beginning Reading Lesson



Rationale: Before becoming skillful readers, children must understand the relationship between graphemes and phonemes. This lesson is designed to have the children recognize, spell, and read words that contain the correspondence u=/u/.  The students will learn meaningful representation of the letter and have plenty of practice with written and spoken words which contain u=/u/.  




White board and marker

Picture with a man in deep thought (linked below)

Poster with tongue tickler: Uncle Ulmer left his Umbrella Under the rug.

Assessment Worksheets

List of the following read-aloud words: sunk, float, brush,comb, rung,rank, jump, stand

List of letterbox words:

3: run, puff, yum, not

4: plug, grin chug, bump, shop

5: trunk

Letterboxes for each student

Letter tiles (one set for each student): b, c, f, g, h, i, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, t, u, y

Copy of "Bud the Sub" for each student, and one for teacher (Phonics Reader, 1990)



1.      Today, class, we are going to learn about the letter u and the sound it makes.  The letter u makes the sound uhhh. When I think of the uhh sound, I picture someone with their hand on their head as if they were in deep thought. Look at the picture of the man in deep thought. This picture can help us remember the uhh sound. Practice that sound with me uhhhh. Make sure to put your hand on  your head like this! Great job!


2.      (Hold up poster with tongue twister) Now, I am going to tell you a funny sentence that can help us remember the sound that u makes. Listen to me read the sentence, Uncle Ulmer left his Umbrella Under the rug.  Now, I am going to slow it down and I want you to listen for the uhhh sound: uuuuuncle uuuuulmer left his uuuuumbrella uuuuunder the ruuuuug.  Could you hear the uhhh sounds that time?  Now, say it with me slowly and when you hear the uhhh sound.  Remember to put your hand on your head when you hear the uhhh sound!  Uuuuncle uuuulmer left his uuuumbrella uuuunder the ruuuug.  Great job!  Let's break off the uhhh sound in each of these words: /u/-ncle, /u/-ulmer, /u/-mbrella, /u/-nder, r-/u/-g.  Very good class!


3.      Now, I need you to listen very closely! I am going to say some words and I want you to listen for the /u/ sound. If you hear the uhh sound than put your hand on your head. Words: sunk, float, brush,comb, rung,rank, jump, stand


4.      Since we now know what the u sound makes, I am practice spelling some words in my letterbox. Watch me spell the word club. I hear four different sounds in this word, therefore, I know that I need four letterboxes for each sound. (Model how to spell club by placing one phoneme in each box on the letterbox drawn on the white board.) 


5.      Now, I want you to practice spelling the words. I am going to pass out your letterboxes and letter tiles.  Do not start working until I tell you to. I will tell you the number of the letterboxes needed for each word. I am going to say each word one at a time. (Word List: puff, yum, not, plug, grin, chug, bump, shop, trunk).  Everyone did a great job spelling these words!


6.       Now, I am going to write each of these words on the board. I am going to use my fingers to count down from three to one. When I get to the number one, I want all of you to read the word. I need to hear everyone.


7.      To get some more practice with the letter u we are going to read "Bud the Sub". This book is about Bud, a submarine who accidentally hits a tugboat. Bud is shocked by the accident and must find a way to help the tug boat. What will he do? (Pass out books to the students and let them know they can raise their hands if they need help).



As students are doing the activities described above, I will be observing them as a means of informal assessment.  For a more formal assessment, students will complete an activity sheet.  The worksheet asks students to choose the correct word under each picture. Once the students have completed the worksheet, they can color the pictures.



Short U Worksheet:

Bragg, Allison:  Beginning Reading Lesson Design.  Uhh, But My Umbrella...

Cushman, Sheila. Bud the Sub.  Educational Insights. Carson, CA:  1990.

"Uhhh" Graphic:

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