5 Minute Phonics: Activity 5

Short & sweet activities and mini-lessons for beginning readers—designed by teachers, for learning at home.

What You’ll Need
In person: a pencil and piece of paper 
Remote: video conferencing with screen sharing and audio

Why We Love It: This activity is remote-friendly and helps beginning readers build confidence before encountering a new sound in their reading.


Step 1: Today’s goal is to introduce a new vowel sound. Say, “Before we begin, let’s review the vowel sounds you already know.” Show cards with the short a, i, and o vowel sounds. Ask children to say the sound on each card. Then, dictate those sounds, one at a time, as children write them on a white board.

Step 2: Say, “We’ve talked about how there are five important vowel sounds. Today you are going to learn the 4th sound.”

Step 3: Directly teach, “This vowel says ‘u’ as in ‘umbrella’ or ‘up.’ Here is a new hand signal that will help us remember the sound.”

Step 4: Let’s see how this new sound can change some words you already know. 
Write “big” on a white board (Zoom or otherwise). Have children read the word. Then, take away the “i” and write “u” in its place. Have the children tap out the new word, “bug.” Remind children of the new “u” sound when needed. Repeat for the next four sets of words.

jog to jug
ran to run
fin to fun
gas to Gus
(teach that “Gus” is the name of a new character in
Buzz, Buzz

Step 5: Have children read all five new words: bug, jug, run, fun, and Gus.

Step 6: Using a white board, ask children to write the sound they hear in the middle of any of those five words.

Step 7: Ask children to read the following sentence from Buzz, Buzz:

Gus will have a fun run.

After reading the sentence, tell the children: “You are now ready to read the new words with the ‘u’ sound in your next book!” (Big deal alert!)

This activity can be repeated as a warm-up before a young reader attempts a story including a new sound.

Click any of the sounds below to shop the corresponding Whole Phonics™ readers—and as always, happy reading!


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