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Uhh, I'm Confused

Uhh, I'm Confused 

Beginning Reading 

Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the short vowel correspondence /u/. 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 containing the letter 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: Chart of caveman saying uhh with the correspondence u = /u/; smartboard Elknonin boxes for modeling and individual Elkonin letterboxes for each student; letter tiles for each child; magnetic letters for the teacher; c (2), e, f, h, k, l, n, p, r, t, u,   list of spelling words on whiteboard; up, luck, nut, truck, hunt, flute, runt, and clutch.


1.       Say: In order to become expert readers we need to learn the code that tells us how to pronounce words. Today we are going to learn about the short vowel u = /u/. When I hear /u/ I think about this caveman (show caveman image) scratching his head saying uhhh because he is confused. Let’s try that! Scratch your head and say uhh like you’re confused. Good!

2.       Before we learn the spelling of /u/ we need to listen for it in some words. When I say /u/ my mouth is open and my tongue is resting at the bottom of my mouth and the sound is coming from the back of my throat. (Model how your mouth should look when saying /u/). You can hear the /u/ sound in hunt. Now I’m going to see if it’s in truck. I heard /u/ and felt my mouth open and my tongue lying flat on the bottom of my mouth. What about in fuse? I didn’t hear /u/ in fuse and my mouth didn’t open with my tongue lying on the bottom. Is it in runt, hurt, hum, luck, confuse, nut, clutch? (Have students scratch their heads like a confused caveman if they hear /u/ in a word).

3.       Say: “Now let’s look at the spelling of words with the confused /u/ sound. What if I said “I love to hunt deer”. To spell hunt in letterboxes, I first need to know how many phonemes there are. Let’s stretch it out and count /h/ /u/ /n/ /t/. I need four boxes. I heard /u/ just after the h so I am going to put the u in the second letterbox. The word starts with a /h/ so I am going to put that in the first box. Now I have /h/ /u/. The /n/ comes after the /u/ so I am going to put that in the 3rd box. The last sound I hear is /t/ so I am going to put the letter “t” in the fourth box. (Point to the word) Now I have the word hunt.

4.       Now I am going to have you spell words using the letterboxes. You will first start with two boxes up. The elevator goes up and down; up. What should go in the first box? What should go in the second box? I will walk around and observe your spellings. Once you’ve spelled up we will move on to the next word. For the next word you will need three letter boxes. Listen for the beginning sound that goes in the first box. Then, listen for when the caveman /u/ sound comes up. The word is luck. I only won that contest because of good luck; luck. (Give students time to spell the word). Now, let’s check your work. Watch how I spell the word with my letterboxes on the board and see if you got it the same way. Good, now try another with three boxes. The word is nut; that squirrel is chasing a nut; nut. (Allow students to spell remaining words and give sentences for each word: truck, flute, runt, and clutch).

5.       Say: Now I am going to let you read the words you’ve spelled. (Show the words up, luck, nut, truck, flute, runt, clutch, the extra words hurt and fund, and the pseudo word tunch. Have the students read the words together. After, call on students to read one word on the list until everyone has had a turn.

6.    Say: You have done such a great job reading words with our new correspondence u = /u/. Now we are going to read a book called “Bud the Sub”. Gus has a submarine called Bud and he takes him out to sea. They come upon a stranded tug that needed pulling, but Bud is smaller than the tug. Do you think Bud will be able to pull the tug to safety? Let’s read to find out! (Students will pair up and take turns reading alternate pages of the book. The teacher should walk around the room to monitor progress. After paired reading, students will reread “Bud the Sub” chorally, and stop between each page to discuss).



Say: On this worksheet you will see a list of twenty four words. You should read each word out loud to see if you can hear the caveman /u/. If you can hear the /u/ sound in the word write it on the lines provided. There should be ten words that have the /u/ sound. If a word does not have the /u/ sound, cross it out. (Collect worksheets to evaluate each student’s progress).



Esser, Sarah, Uhhh, I Don’t Know:  http://www.auburn.edu/~sje0003/esserbr.htm

Cushman, Sheila. Bud the Sub. 

Assessment Worksheet: 


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