What to do
- Write the letter u on the board; make it at least a foot tall. Alternatively, use a letter card large enough for the whole group to see easily.
- Let's review the sound for this letter. Anyone: what's the sound? Good: /uuu/. (Say the /u/ sound as in cut, holding for at least a second.) Remember, when you say /uuu/, your mouth is open and your voice box is on: /uuu/. Touch your throat to make sure your voice box is on when you say it: /uuu/. What's the sound?
- Look for students who are not saying the sound. Ask them: What's the sound? Look for students who are making the wrong sound and model the sound for them until they have it right. Well done everyone.
- We use the /u/ sound to begin words like us, up, under, upon, umbrella. Can you tell me some other words that begin with /u/?
- Erase u. Now write 12 letters on the board (arrange them randomly): 4 of the letters should be u and they should be interspersed with 8 other letters dissimilar in appearance to u, such as x and l.
- When I point to the letter we just learned, say its sound. When I point to any other letter, you have to stay quiet. My turn first. Point to a series of letters and either say the sound or make a performance of saying nothing, as appropriate.
- Your turn. Ready? Point to letters randomly, holding on each one for a few seconds.
- If a student says the sound for one of the other letters (not u), point to u and say: You only need to make a sound for this letter. When I point to any other letter, stay quiet. Ready? Look for individuals who are saying nothing when you point to u. Have those students try letters individually until they have it (but don’t call only on struggling students). Keep going until everyone has it.