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Beginning Reading: Uhhh I Don't Know

Beginning Reading

“Uhhh I don’t know.”


By: Julia Lolley

Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the short vowel correspondence u=/u/. In order to be able to read, children must recognize the different sounds that vowels make. This will help them in their everyday life as readers. Students will learn a meaningful representation (Uhhh I don’t know.), 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 boy, primary paper, pencils, whiteboard or smartboard, Elkonin boxes (for modeling and individual uses), letter manipulative: g, r, u, b, c, s, h, c, a, t, d, k, & p. decodable text (for each student), assessment worksheet, dry erase boards, list of words.


1.     Say: Today we are going to focus on the sound that we make when we are unsure of an answer. Teacher should draw the letter U up on the board. What letter is this? Very good! This is the letter U and the letter U make the /u/ sound. Today we are going to learn about the letter U and the sound it makes. When I say /u/ I think of what I say when I am unsure of what to say. (show image of confused boy and make /u/ sound)


2.     Say: Before we learn about the spelling of /u/, we need to listen for it in some words. When I say /u/ in words, I notice my mouth is open and my tongue is pressing down (Make vocal gesture for /u/). I will show you first: nut. I hear /u/ says its name and I felt my mouth open and my tongue press downward making the /u/ sound. There is a short U in nut. Now I am going to see if it is in the word jog. Hmm, I didn’t hear the u sound say its name and my mouth did not open while my tongue was pressing down. Now it is your turn to try! If you hear the /u/ sound say uhhh, what. If you do not hear it I want you to say No! It is in bug? Continue to ask this question with these words: hot, dug, ball, rug, fun, men.


3.     Say: Now we need to look at the spelling of /u/. In order to spell the sound we hear for /u/ we simply use the letter u. Everyone write a letter U on your draw erase boards and show it to me. Now I am going to model how to spell a word using letterboxes (the teacher should use the whiteboard or smart board so all students can see). If I wanted to spell the word cut, I notice that I have made three mouth movements. When saying the word cut, this would be why I have three letterboxes drawn. The first sound is /c/ so the letter c will go in the first letterbox. The second sound I hear is the /u/ sound we have been talking about today. So the letter u will go in the second box. What is the last sound you hear in the word cut? /t/ very good! So we will put the t in the third letterbox.


4.     Say: Now I am going to give you a chance to spell some words using your own letterboxes (the teacher should pass out the pre-made baggies of appropriate letter tiles and Elkonin boxes.)  You will start out easy with two letterboxes for the word up. Up is a simple direction going towards the sky. “I threw the ball up in the air”. What should go in the first letterbox? (Respond to children’s answers). What goes in the second letterbox? I will check you spelling as I walk around the room (make sure that all students are putting a u in one box and a p in the other). You are going to need three letterboxes for your next word. Remember to listen for the /u/ sound in each word. The word is hush, “The kids in the movie needed to hush.” (Allow children to spell the word). Time to check your work (model with the letters and letter boxes). Do you see how I split the letters up in my letterboxes? See if you spelled it the same way. Lets try another word with three letterboxes. What about the word duck, “I saw a yellow duck in the park.” (Have a volunteer spell the word on the front board for all students to see, correct if wrong). Repeat this step for each new word. Listen to see if you hear the /u/ sound in this word before you spell it: Cat. “I have a pet cat named Sally.” Did you hear the /u/ sound? Right. You did not. We heard the long a sounding like /A/ in the word cat. Now let’s try four phonemes, crush. “Billy has a crush on you.” Your final word is grub. We went to the restaurant to get some grub.”


5.     Say: Now we need to read the words that we have just spelled. First I am going to model reading a word. (show poster with grub on the top and model how to read the word.) First I see the U in the middle of the word. That is my signal that it makes the /u/ sound. Now I am going to use my cover up critter to get the first part. The first part says /g/ - /g/ and /r/-/r/. Now we are going to blend this first part with the /u/ sound. We hear it say /g/-/r/-/r/-/u/-/u/. Now we just need the ending. /b/. If we read the word all together we hear the word grub. (Now go through the list giving every student a chance to read one of the words).


6.     Say: I am so proud of each of you for using such great reading and spelling skills today. Now we are going to read a book called Bud the Sub.


7.     Book Talk: “Bud is a submarine and Gus is his boss. Gus takes care of him and takes him places by moving his knobs to help him go underneath the water. One day, a tugboat is hit by big glacier, and Gus runs Bud to go save the people on it. I wonder if they will be able to save the people? Let’s read and find out!”


8.     Have student’s pair up with another student and take turns reading each page. The teacher can walk around the room to monitor the students. Let students know that even if they finish they can read the book again for extra practice. When all of the students are done reading with their partners read the text as a whole group. The teacher should stop throughout the text to discuss the main idea, characters, thoughts, and the plot.


9.     Say: Everyone has worked really hard today. Before we finish our lesson I have one more way for us to practice. I want to make sure that you understand the letter u and the /u/ sound it makes. (Show the worksheet smart board while explaining it to students). You will circle ten words that make the confused /u/ sound. For example, do you hear the /u/ sound alligator. That’s right, you do not, so we would not circle that picture.




Bud the Sub. Educational Insights, 1990.




Hope, Mary:



Worksheet: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/alphabet/circlethemewords/shortu/


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