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We Want YOU!

We Want YOU!

Beginning Reading

Katherine Joa


Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence u_e = /U/.  In order to be able to read children must recognize the spellings that map word pronunciations.  In this lesson children will learn to recognize, spell, and read words containing the spelling u_e.  They will learn a meaningful representation (Pointing like Uncle Sam: “We want you.”), they will spell and read words containing this spelling in a Letterbox Lesson, and read a decodable book that focuses on the correspondence u_e = /U/. 


·      Graphic image of Uncle Sam pointing

·      Cover-up critter

·      Whiteboard or smartboard Elkonin boxes for modeling

·      Individual Elkonin boxes for each student

·      Letter manipulatives for students: u, s, e, h, g, m, d, f, l, t, s, p, r, c

·      Magnetic whiteboard or smartboard letters for teacher: u, s, e, h, g, m, d, f, l, t, s, p, r, c

·      List of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: use, huge, tune, mud, flute, spruce

·      Decodable text: The Huge Tube

·      Assessment worksheet


1.    Say: In order to become expert readers we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words.  We have already learned to read short vowel words with u, like cup, and today we are going to learn about long U and the silent e signal that is used to make U say its name, /U/.  When I say /U/ I think of Uncle Sam pointing and saying, “We want you.” [Show image.]

2.    Say: Before we learn about the spelling /U/, we need to listen for it in some words.  When I listen for /U/ in words, I hear u say it its name /U/ and begin with my lips in a normal position then bring them closer together.  [Make vocal gesture for /U/.]  I’ll show you first: rude. I heard u say its name and I felt my lips make little u.  There is a long U in rude.  Now I’m going to see if it’s in grub.  Hmm, I didn’t hear u say its name and my lips didn’t move together.  Now you try.  If you hear /U/ I want you to point like Uncle Sam.  If you don’t hear /U/ say, “That’s not it.” Is it in fuse, fuss, cute, mood, tune?

3.    Say: Now let’s look at the spelling of /U/ that we’ll learn today.  One way to spell /U/ is with the letter u and a signal e at the end of the word to tell me to say U’s name.  [Write u_e on the board.]  This blank line here means there is a consonant after u, and at the end of the word there is a silent e signal.  What if I want to spell the word prune?  I need to prune back the shrubs.  In this sentence prune mean to cut back.  To spell prune in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word so I stretch it out and count /p//r//U//n/.  I need 4 boxes.  I heard that /U/ just before the /n/ so I’m going to put a u in the 3rd box and the silent e signal just outside the last box.  The word starts with /p/, that’s easy, I need a p.  After the /p/ I heard /r/ so I’ll put r right after the p.  One more after the /U/, hmm, /p//r//U//n/, I think I heard an /n/ so I need an n.  [Point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word /p//r//U//n/. 

4.    Say: Now I am going to have you spell some words in letterboxes.  You’ll start out easy with two boxes for useTo use something is to utilize it.  “She will use her key to unlock the front door.”  What should go in the first box?  [Respond to children’s answers].  What goes on the second box?  What about silent e did you remember to put it outside the boxes?  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.  Then listen for /U/ and don’t forget to put silent e at the end, outside the boxes.  Here’s the word; huge, There was a huge mess in the kitchen after I cooked dinner; huge.  [Allow children to spell words.]  Time to check your work.  Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: h-u-g-e and see if you’ve spelled it the same way.  Try another with three boxes: tune; I sang to the tune of the song. [Have a volunteer spell it on the board on the front for students to check their work.  Repeat this step for each word.]  Next word.  Listen to see if this word has /U/ in it before you spell it: mud; the dogs played in the mud.  Do you need a silent e?  Why not?  Right, because we don’t hear u say its name.  We spell it with our short vowel u.  Now let’s try to 4 phonemes: flute; I learned how to play the flute.  One more and then we’re done with spelling, and this time you’ll need five boxes: spruce; I put flowers around my house to spruce it up.  Remember to stretch it out to get this tough word. 

5.    Say:  Now I am going to let you read the word you’ve spelled, but first I’ll show you how I would read a tough word.  [Display poster with spruce on the top and model reading the word.]  First, I see there is a silent e on the end; that’s my signal that the vowel will say its name.  There’s the vowel u.  It must say /U/.  I’m going to use a cover-up to get the first part.  [Uncover and blend sequentially before the vowel, then blend with the vowel.]  /s//p/ = /sp/ + /r/ = /spr/.  Now I am going to blend that with /U/ = /sprU/.  Now all I need is the end, /s/ = /sprUs/.  Spruce; that’s it! Now it’s your turn everyone together.  [Have students read words in unison.  Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.]

6.    Say: You’ve done a great job reading word with our new spelling for u_e = /U/.  Now we are going to read a book called The Huge Tube.  This story is about Luke and Bruce going to visit their friend Nate.  They offer to let Nate go for a ride on their tube, but Nate is too big for the tube.  Let’s pair up and take turns reading The Huge Tube to find out what happens with Nate when him and his friends go swimming.  [Students pair up and take turns reading alternate pages each while the teacher walks around the room monitoring progress.  After individual paired reading, the class rereads The Huge Tube together, and stops between page turns to discuss the plot.]

7.    Say: That was such a neat story.  What happened with Nate?  That’s right, they got a tube big enough for Nate to swim in and all the boys had fun.  Before we finish our lesson about one way to spell /U/ = u_e, I want to see how you can solve reading problems.  On this worksheet you will circle words that make the long u sounds and then identify the pictures with their long u word.  [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual students progress.]


Christian, Grace, Make a Stinky Face with u_e!: https://sites.google.com/site/ctrdgracechristian/beginning-reading-lesson

Murray, Geri, Oh, I didn’t know! http://auburn.edu/~murrag1/BRMurrayG.htm

Murray, Geri, The Huge Tube. Reading Genie: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html

Assessment worksheet: http://www.education.com/files/412201_412300/412212/learning-long-vowels-u-words-2.pdf

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