Beginning Reading Lesson Plan

Grunt Like a Caveman, Uh, Uh, Uh

Beginning Reading

Claire Whitley 

Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the short vowel correspondence u=/u/, especially in cvc words. 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 in which u=/u/. They will learn a meaningful representation (caveman saying “uh”), 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 of a caveman, cover-up critter, whiteboard or smartboard letterboxes for modeling and individual letterboxes for each student; letter manipulatives for each child and magnetic or smartboard letters for teacher [p, l, u, c, k, g, s, t, m, n, h, r, o]; list of spelling words on a poster or whiteboard to read [pluck, cup, gust, munch, rock, grunt], decodable text Bud the Sub, and assessment worksheet


Procedure: 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 some short vowel words with a, e, i, and o, but today we’re going to learn our last short vowel sound /u/. When I say /u/ I think of a caveman walking around and grunting “uh, uh, uh!” [show graphic image]


2. Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /u/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I listen for /u/ in words, I hear the letter u make the /u/ sound and my lips open up like this. [make vocal gesture for /u/] Ill show you first: bud. I heard the letter u make the /u/ sound and I felt my lips open up like this [open mouth to demonstrate the /u/ sound]. There is a short U in bud. Now I’m going to see if it’s in bad. Hmm, I didn’t hear that caveman /u/ and I felt my mouth open a little wider. Now you try. If you hear /u/ say, “Uh, uh, uh” like our caveman. If you don’t hear /u/ say, “That’s not it.” Is it in fruit, cup, shut, chop, grunt? [Have children point at their mouths when they say the short /u/.


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/ in-between two consonants tell me to say /u/. [write the letter u on the board] What if I want you to spell the word pluck? “They pluck some berries off the bush.” Pluck means pick or pull in this sentence. To spell pluck in letterboxes, first I need to know how many phonemes I have in the word, so I stretch it out and count: /p//l//u//k/. I need four boxes. I heard that /u/ just before the /k/ so I’m going to put a u in the 3rd box. The word starts with /p/, that’s easy; I need a p. Now it gets a little tricky, so I’m going to say it slowly, /p//l//u//k/. I think I heard /l/ right after the p. I have one empty box now. [point to letters in boxes when stretching out the word: /p//l//u//k/] The one missing is ck = /k/.






4. Say: Now I’m going to have you spell some words in letterboxes. You’ll start out easy with three boxes for cup. A cup is something you drink liquid from. “I drank water from the cup.” What should go in the first box? [respond to children’s answers]. What goes in the second box? I’ll check your spelling while I walk around the room. [observe progress]. You’ll need four letterboxes for the next word. Listen for the beginning sound that goes in the first box. Then listen for that /u/ sound. Here’s the word: gust, I felt a gust of wind as I walked out of the door, gust. [allow children to spell words] Time to check your work. Watch how I spell it in my letterboxes on the board: g-u-s-t and see if you’ve spelled it the same way. Try another with four boxes: munch, I like to munch on potato chips. [have volunteer spell in the letterbox on the front board for children to check their work. Repeat this step for each new word. Next word. Listen to see if this word has /u/ in it before you spell it: rock, I found a nice rock to add to my collection. Do we need u to say the /u/ in this word? Why not? Right, because we didn’t hear that caveman say /u/ in this word. We spell it with our short vowel o. [volunteer spells it on the front board. Did you remember to spell /k/ with a ck? Now let’s try 5 phonemes: grunt, the caveman grunted loudly. One more and then we’re done with spelling, and this time you need four boxes: pluck, they pluck some berries off the bush. Remember to stretch it out to get this tough word.


5. Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you’ve spelled, but first I’ll show you how you could read a tough word. [display poster with pluck on the top and model reading the word. First I see that u in-between consonants; that’s my signal that the vowel will make its short sound. 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] /p//l/ = /pl/. Now I’m going to blend with that /u/ = /plu/. Now all I need is the end /ck/ = /pluk/. Pluck, that’s it. Now it’s your turn, everyone together. [Have children 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 at reading word with our new spelling for /u/:u. Now we are going to read a book called Bud the Sub. This is the story of a submarine named Bud. Bud the sub goes on an adventure deep in the ocean with Captain Gus. All of the sudden, a tugboat has an accident. Will Bud the sub save the day? We have to read to find out [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: “On this worksheet, there are pictures and beside each object there is a list of words. You are going to look at the word choices, and decide which word goes with the picture. First, try reading all the words listed, and then choose the word that is best. Make sure to go back and check your work to make sure your choices make sense. [Collect worksheets to evaluate individual child progress.]


Assessment worksheet:

Sara Esser “Uhh, I Don’t Know!!”

Bud the Sub, 1990. Phonics Readers, Educational Insight.

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