‘UGH’ Can You Hear Me Now?

Over the break I was reading some student writing, and I came upon the word ‘tho’.   It seemed like the perfect opportunity to talk about the <ugh> trigraph .  We began by looking at the word <laugh> and identifying the phonemes in this word.  When we looked closely at the letter/phoneme correspondences, the students realized that in the word <laugh>, the  <ugh> trigraph represents /f/.  Then we looked at the word <though>.  When we examined it in the same way, the students realized that in the word <though>, the <ugh> trigraph doesn’t represent a sound at all!

Then I asked the class to make two columns on their paper.  In one column they were to list as many words as they could in which the <ugh> trigraph represented /f/.  In the second column they were to list as many words as they could in which the <ugh> trigraph did not represent a sound at all.  After a bit of independent work time, I asked students to come to the board and write the words they were finding.

This was such a fun activity!  The words on the list in which the <ugh> trigraph did not represent a sound were a source for fascinating discussions. At first we didn’t recognize the word <snowplough>.  Jacob went to the Collins-Gage Dictionary and found that it was an alternate spelling to <snowplow> which we are much more familiar with.  The same thing happened when students found the word <hiccough>.  This time they recognized that an alternate (more familiar spelling) would be <hiccup>.    Many students did not recognize the word <bough> until I read it aloud.  When I talked about decorating with boughs of holly, then the room was filled with, “Ohhh.  Yes.  I know that word.”  The same thing happened with the word <furlough>.   We ended today’s orthography time by reading aloud our lists of words.  Tomorrow we’ll talk more about why the <ugh> trigraph is  in some of the words when it represents no sound.


7 thoughts on “‘UGH’ Can You Hear Me Now?

  1. Your video is very creative, I like it a lot. That is definite proof that ‘tion’is not a suffix, but I already knew that ‘ion’ was a suffix. For the people that knew that ‘tion’ Is a suffix, this would be the best video to show them,to prove them wrong. I am sending this comment from Zurich International School in Switzerland, Mr. Allen Grade 5.

  2. Dear Mrs. Steven,
    I am Ben, a student from Mr. Allen’s class. I think your class’s video is sensational and think you should continue making these videos. You and your class have proven that “ion” is a suffix and “tion” and “sion” are not.

  3. Hi. Great video. We knew that already, but great video. One thing to improve is to put the writing behind the camera. Super creative and can’t wait till the next one.

  4. I am from Mr Allen’s class in Zurich. I always thought that the suffix was ‘tion’, but I guess I was wrong. After watching this video I found out why it is .

  5. Hi Mrs.Steven,
    I was suprised to know that our class could find more words with the ugh trigraph that made no sound than words with the /f/ sound. I never got why three letters could sometimes make no sound and sometimes make a sound. I think that is so cool! I also am really excited to release our video to the orthographic world!

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