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"UHH??" Said Dug the Caveman

“UHH??” Said Dug the Caveman

Courtney Boyd

Beginning Reading Lesson



Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the short vowel correspondence u = /u/. In order to be able to read, children must learn to recognize spellings that word map their pronunciations. In this lesson children will learn how to recognize, spell, and read words containing u = /u/. They will learn a meaningful representation (confused Dug says UHH?), 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 Dug the confused Caveman saying UHH??; cover-up critter; whiteboard or smart board Elkonin boxes for modeling and individual boxes for each student; letter manipulatives for each student and magnetic or smart board letters for the teacher: u, p, m, g, r, f, f, t, c, l, k, s, n, h, i, d, o; list of spelling words on poster or whiteboard to read: up, truck, gum, hit, nut, club, stuff, dog, grump, fump; decodable text Chuck and Chad Get Lunch by: Bridget Clabby, and 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 i, like pig, and today we are going to learn about the short vowel u. When I say /u/ think of Bug the confused Caveman saying “UHH??” [show graphic image]. Now lets look at the spelling of /u/, teacher should write u on the board. This is the letter u and it makes the /u/ sound.


2.     Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /u/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I listen and hear for /u/ in words, my mouth is open and my tongue is pressing down at the bottom of my mouth [make vocal gesture for /u/.] Let me show you first: bus. I heard u say its name and I felt my tongue pressing down in the bottom of my mouth. There is a short u in bus. Now I am going to see if it is in the word twig. Hmm, I did not hear u say its name and my mouth was not open with my tongue pressing down at the bottom of my mouth. Now it’s your turn to try. If you hear /u/ say, uhh and scratch your head. If you do not hear /u/ say, “No, that’s not it.” Do you hear /u/ in home, bug, rug, hip, cup, hop, sun?


3.     What if I spell the word club? “ When learning to golf, all we need is a golf club and golf ball.” To spell the word club in letterboxes, we first need to need to know how many phonemes are in the word so I can stretch it out and count: /c//l/u//b/. So that means I need 4 boxes. I heard the /u/ just before the /l/ so I am going to put a u in the third box. The word starts with /c/, so I would need to put the c in the first box. After /c/ you hear /l/, so that means the l goes into the second box. I have one empty box now. [Point to the letters in the boxes while stretching out the word: /c//l//u//b/.] The /b/ goes in the last empty box.


4.     Say: Now I am going to have you spell some words in your letterboxes. I will start you out with an easy two boxes for up. “The dog jumped up onto the bed.” I will check you spelling while I walk around the room. [Observe progress.] You will need four letterboxes for the next word. Listen for the beginning sound to spell the first box and then listen for /u/. The word is truck, I rode in my dads truck to school this morning. [Allow students to spell remaining words, giving sentences for each word: gum, hit, nut, club, and grump.]


5.     Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you have spelled. First I am going to model reading a word (show a poster with the word grump on it and model how to read the word). First I see the u in the middle of the word so that is my signal that it makes the /u/ sound. Now I am going to use my cover-up critter to put the beginning letters together g-r-u. Lets listen to see what comes after g-r-uu-m. After /u/ you hear the sound /m/. Now I will put that chuck together with the last sound, grum-p. When I say grump you hear /p/ at the end of the word. “My grandfather is an old grump.” [Show the students the words [up, truck, gum, hit, nut, club, grump, the extra words stuff and dog, and the pseudoword fump. Have them read the words in unison and then call on students to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.]


6.     Say: You have all done a great job reading words with our new spelling for u = /u/. Now we are going to read a book called Chuck and Chad Get Lunch. This story is about a chimp named Chuck and he needs to get lunch. Chad is a chick and he also needs to get lunch. Chuck and Chad are friends and decide to go get lunch. What will happen when they go get lunch? Lets pair up and take turns reading Chuck and Chad Get Lunch. [Students will pair up and take turns reading alternate pages, while the teacher walks around the room monitoring progress. After everyone is done pair reading, we will reread Chuck and Chad Get Lunch chorally, stopping between page turns to discuss the story.]


7.     Say: Before we finish up with our lesson on u = /u/, I want to see how you can solve a reading problem. On this worksheet, I want you to match the short u sound words to the picture it belongs too. [Collect worksheet to evaluate individual child progress.]



Mary Hope McGehee, “UHHH??” Said the Caveman https://sites.google.com/site/ctrdmaryhope/home/beginning-reading


Caveman graphic: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/vowels/caveman.jpg


Chuck and Chad Get Lunch, by: Bridget Clabby http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/teacherbooks.html


Assessment worksheet: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/alphabet/matchwordsandpix/shortu/


Geri Murray, Oh, I didn't know!


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