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Beginning Reading Design: The Caveman Says UHH

The Caveman says UHH…..


A Beginning Reading Lesson

By: Bethany Dyess


Rationale: This lesson will teach children about the vowel /u/= uhh and how it sounds like uhh like a caveman.  This lesson will help students recognize, read, and spell the letter u in words. They will practice reading words and writing words with that letter in them to help them be able to recognize it easier. The activities that the students do will help them learn to read the words by making them more familiar to them. By seeing the words over and over in context the student will gradually remember what they mean. 


Materials: Graphic image of a caveman, Elkonin boxes, letter tiles, pencil, , book Rube and the Tube, worksheets (in references at bottom), and a list of spellings. The teacher will need the letters: b, c, d, g, k, r, s, t, and u, for this lesson. The word list is: bud, tug, sub, truck, duck.




1.    First I will say: “In order to become expert readers we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. We have been practicing vowels but today we are going to focus on /u/.” I will show the student the graphic image to the student and tell them how it makes that sound and model it.


2.    Say: “Before we learn about the spelling of /u/, we may need to listen for it in some words. When I say these words I want you to listen to the /u/ sound in them.” Show the student how your lips are shaped when making this sound. I’ll show the first word sub say the word and feel the way that your lips are. Then say a word that it is not in and ask the student if they hear it in that word. Say “tube did you hear the uhh in that word? No that’s right that u makes a different sound.”


3.    Say: “Now let’s look at the spelling of /u/ that we will learn today. We spell /u/ with the letter u and it is usually not at the beginning of a word. I am going to say a word and I want you to tell me how many phonemes there are in this word.” I will have the letterboxes for the student to first spell out the word that they are working with. We will sound out the word and decide which letters need to go in the Elokin boxes.  “Duck, Did you hear the uhh sound in duck?” Let the student give their answer. “Yes that’s correct /d/ /u/ /k/.”


4.    Say: “Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes.” You will start out easy with three boxes for dug. “The duck dug a hole by the lake.” We will fill in the Elokin boxes by sounding out the word slowly. I will ask the student what sound to they hear first, then put that letter in the box. Which letter goes second, and which letter goes third. Then we will sound out the word all at once to see if we have all the sounds that we put in the boxes. I will unfold one letterbox giving the student four and say truck. The boy drove the truck down the street. I will ask the student which word they heard the uhh sound in. I will ask them if they hear the uhh sound in drove and I will ask them why not. Then explain that there is not a u in that word and that they are correct.


5.    Say: “Now I am going to let you read the words that you have spelled, but first I will show you how I would read a tough word.” (Display the poster with stuck). “First, I see there is a u in the middle of the word.” I will cover up the end of the word and we will first look at the beginning of the word then we will look at the middle and then the end of the word. After we have done that we will go over the whole word. /s/ /t/ Beginning  /u/ Middle, our uhh word and /k/ the end. (Have the children read the words in unison. Afterwards, call on individuals to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn).


6.    Say: “You have done a great job reading words with your new spellings for /u/. Now we are going to read a book called Bud the Sub. This is a story about a sub named Bud. Gus is Buds boss. Gus gets in the sub and know how to work Bud. The Sub dips into the water, lets find out what happens with Bud and Gus.” (Children 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 Bud the Sub aloud together, and stop between pages and turn to discuss the plot.)


7.    Say: “This was a good story. What happened in Bud the Sub? That’s Right Gus Takes Bud down into the water.  There is a tugboat and he gets hit but it is not bad.  Gus and Bud come to save the day. And Bud takes the Tug back home safely. On this worksheet we have several words listed. I want you to find the words with short /u/, then circle them and write them on the lines below. Make sure that your letters are going to the correct spaces on the sidewalk and the ditch.” (Collect the worksheets to evaluate the students progress)





Cushman, Sheila. “Bud the Sub.” China: Educational Insights Carson, CA, St Albans, Herts. 1990. Print.


Melanie Hummer



Beginning Reading Lesson: Courtney Boyd The Caveman says uhh




Assessment: Aussie Childcare Network



Assessment: Worksheet




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