The Tune That Amuses!

Beginning Reading

Kristin Bunyard


Rationale: This lesson teaches children about the long vowel correspondence u_e=/U/. In order to be accurate readers, students must be able to recognize and acknowledge the importance of how letters work together to create different sounds. In this lesson students will begin to grasp the understanding of words with u_e by reading and spelling with it. They will watch an educational video on the letter u at the beginning of the lesson to introduce the sound and get a meaningful representation of the sound it makes. They will then spell and read words through a letter box lesson, following that up with reading a decodable text that focuses on the correspondence u_e=/U/.


Materials: Computer or Ipad to play the intro video:, cover up critter, Elkonin boxes for modeling and the letter box lesson itself, individual letter tiles for each student, teacher set to model for children containing the letters (u, k, e, s, t, n, j, k, l, f, s, m, a), list of spelling words on index cards to put on the board  (uke, use, tune, juke, jule, flute, amuse), decodable text: Stu's Tune, and assessment worksheet.



1)   Say: It is important to learn the code to help us learn to sound out words in order to be good readers. We have already learned most of our short vowel sounds like nat, net, nit, not, and nut, but today we are going to learn the importance of the long U sound that is paired with the silent e. When I say /U/ I want you to think about the order of spelling that makes this vowel different from /u/.  Now watch as I write this work on the board (using bigger red letter for the u and the e and a smaller blue letter for k) uke. Now even though this e is silent, it still plays a big role in the word.

2)   Say: Before we learn to start spelling this letter we need to just practice listening to it. When you hear the /U/ sound, like in the word juke, I want you to give me a thumbs up like this. If you don't hear the /U/ sound in the word I say, I want you to give me a thumbs down. Here are the words, stuck, muse, sucker, June, Monday, just, flute.

3)   What if I say the word the word mute? "The TV was on mute, so no one could hear the show". Mute means to be silenced in this sentence. To spell mute in letterboxes, first I need to know the number of phonemes that make up this word. So I need to first stretch the word out m/U/t. I need 3 letterboxes. I heard the /U/ just before the /t/ so I'm going to put the u in the second letterbox and the silent e outside the last box. The word starts with /m/ so that is easy, I'm putting /m/ in the first box. After that I will say the word slowly /m/U/t/, so now we have the letter /t/, that will go in our last and third box. This can be confusing because we have 4 letters but only 3 boxes. I'll show you how to read a tough word like this. You have to start by noticing the u_e, making the /U/ sound, then from there you piece the rest of the word together around it, m-u_e-t, mute! "The TV was on mute".

4)   Now it's your turn to start spelling in the letterboxes you have on your desk. We will start with shorter words and move higher. You need to letterboxes for this word. The first word is use. You use things everyday. Don't forget about the silent e, where did you put it? Outside the boxes? That's right! I'll be walking around the room checking your spelling (begin walking and taking notes). You'll need 3 boxes for your next word, now remember to listen to the first sound to put in the first box and don't forget where to put the silent e at the end. Your word is tune, the couple danced to the tune, tune. (Allow children time to complete this task and continue for each of the following words: uke, use, jule, juke, flute, amuse)

5)   Now it is time for you to read the words you have spelled. I will hold up each word on these index cards and as I do we are going to first read them as a class and then go around the room and read them again when I call on your name.

6)   You've done a great job reading words with the u_e /U/ sound and now we are going to read the short story Stu's Tune. This story is about two little boys, Stu and Lu getting a jukebox. They love to listen to music, and one tune in particular. Where do you think they hear these songs, and what do you think is so special about them? Now I want you to partner up and take read as a team. (Allow students to move around the room to a spot where they are able to pay attention, direct students to read by alternating pages with their partner) After partner reads are done, reread the short story, stopping throughout the book to ask questions, as a class.

7)   Assessment: Before we finish up this lesson, I want to see what you know. I want to see that you can solve these reading codes and become a successful reader. On this worksheet, we have some words missing. Your job is to look in the word bank and choose which u_e word fits in each of the sentences to make them make sense. First read all of the words and sentences individually, and then start to put them where they belong. (Pick up and evaluate children's progression).



YouTube video:

Book: Stu's Tune

Assessment worksheet: Made by teacher