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Uhhh, Can you repeat that?

Uhhh, Can you repeat that?

Beginning Reading Design

Allie Black


Rationale: This lesson teaches children the short vowel correspondence u= /u/. In order to be able to read, children must learn to recognize the spellings that map word pronunciations. In this lesson children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the letter u. They will learn a meaningful representation (saying “Uhhh, Can you repeat that?”), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence u=/u/.


Materials: Graphic image of confused man; cover-up critter; whiteboard or smartboard Elkonin boxes for modeling and individual Elkonin boxes for each student; worksheet (link attached below) for students, Decodable text: Bud the Sub (1990); list of spelling words on poster to read: up, hum, duck, shut, jump, plum, truck


    1. In order to become expert readers we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. When I say /u/ I think of a funny little confused boy saying, "Uhhh, Can you repeat that?" [Show graphic image]. When you say “uhhh” you make the /u/ sound.” I know this is important to get the student seeing what symbol we are working with and hearing the sound we are going to make with /u/.

2. Before we learn about the spelling of /u/, we need to listen for it in some words. When we say /u/ our mouth is open, our tongues are down in a spoon shape, and we are making the uhhh sound from the back of our throats. [Make vocal gesture for /u/.] I'll show you first: dump. I heard u say its name and I felt my tongue make a spoon shape. There is a long U in dump. Let’s see if we hear short u in use. Hmm, I didn’t hear the sound our confused /u/ sound in use. If you hear /u/ scratch your hear like you are confused like the caveman. Do you hear /u/ in cup or sip? duck or dip? Trunk or track? Drop or Pump? Slump or stomp? 

3. Say: “Now let’s look at the spelling of words with the confused /u/ sound that we are learning about today! What if I said, to find the /u/ in plum? I am going to stretch the word out and listen for the /u/ sound. Ppp-lllll-uuuu-mm. I’m going to say it again slower, ppppp-llllllll-uuuuuu-mm. Both times I felt my mouth open, my tongue made a spoon, and I made the sound from the back of my throat. I bought a plum at the grocery store. 

4. Say: “Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start out with two boxes up. The bird went up and away; up. What should go in the first box? What goes in the second box? I’ll check your spelling while I walk around the room. [Observe progress.] You’ll need three letterboxes for the next word. Listen for the beginning sound that goes in the first box. The word is dust. The girl walked through a wave of dust on the road. [Allow children to spell words.] Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: d-u-s-t and see if you’ve spelled it the same way. Try another with three boxes: shut; He shut the door behind him. ‘Did you remember that the /sh/ sound makes one sound but we use the letters s and h together to make the /sh/ noise. [Have volunteer spell it in the letterbox on the front board. Repeat this step for each new word] (Have students spell plug and fluff). Now let’s try 5 phonemes: skunk; the skunk smelled very badly. Remember to stretch it out to get the big word.”

5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you've spelled. [Have children read words all together. Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.]

6. “You’ve done a great job at reading words with our new spelling for /u/. Now we are going to read a book called Bud the Sub. This is the story of a submarine named Bud. But, Bud is small. Gus is Bud’s boss. When Gus wants to go somewhere he gets in the sub and sets Bud up. Once, he presses go, Bud is off in the water. Bud is humming a lot in the water when he sees a tug. Oh no the tug has hit some rocks! While Bud be able to help the tug? .] Let's pair up and take turns reading Bud the Sub to find out what if Bud will be able to help. [Children pair up and take turns reading alternate pages each while teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After individual paired reading, the class rereads Bud the Sub aloud together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]

7. Say “Okay let’s review. (Show the word runs.) Say: ruuuuns. (Scratch head and make a confused face while saying the word.) Okay, do you hear /u/ in sssiiiingg or sssuuunnng? Sung.” (Scratch head and look confused while hearing /u/ fluff, soon, sun, stuck.)

  8.  Pass out worksheets on “u.” Students will complete a worksheet which has them draw a line to the picture that have /u/ in them. As students are working on this, I will call back students and see if they can recognize /u/ in words I say to them and recognize u in words I write down.


 Worksheet: http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/vowels/u-begins1.htm 

Bud the Sub, 1990. Phonics Readers, Educational Insight

Catherine Edwards, http://www.auburn.edu/%7Ecce0004/edwardsbr.htm

Geri Murray, http://www.auburn.edu/~murrag1/BRMurrayG.htm


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