Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.
Letter U Activities
By working through the alphabet one letter at a time, you can help students increase familiarity and comfort with the appearance, sounds, and uses of each letter. These activities are focused on the letter U, which is a relatively straightforward letter in the English alphabet. There are three main pronunciations to practice, and the upper and lower cases are very similar. The following activities will give your students some fun ways to practice their literacy skills. They are designed for students in early-mid elementary school but can be adapted for slightly older or younger classrooms.
Start by going over the basic sounds that U makes in the English language: yoo (cute, human, huge), oo (tune, include, duty), and uh (under, up, much). Practice making and identifying these sounds. Have each student make cards that say 'yoo', 'oo', and 'uh' and have the students hold up the proper card as you say each word.
Divide the class into pairs and give them several short selections of readings (these passages should contain several words with the letter U). If your class has developed some higher literacy skills, you can ask them to write these passages themselves. In either case, students will read their passage to their partners and overemphasize each U sound as they encounter it. For example, ''under'' would be pronounced UHHHHnder and ''cute'' would be pronounced cYOOOOt. The other student can use their cards to identify the proper 'U' sound being used.
- Materials: Short passages of writing that contain several U words, index cards, writing supplies
Provide students with a simple word search that contains many words using the letter U. (There are websites where you can make a word search with words that you submit.) It might be a good idea to hide a few V's in the puzzle as well, just to let students practice distinguishing between these letters. Students will attempt to find the various U words in the puzzle, identifying and coloring them by the sound that the U makes in that word. Thus, the words unite, tube, and just would each be circled in a different color. If you wish to expand upon this, you can ask students to make their own word puzzles and exchange them with a partner.
- Materials: Word search puzzles, writing/coloring supplies as desired
Book of IOU's
Give students a vocabulary list of words containing the letter U and five pieces of blank paper. Students will look through the list and attempt to put together four sentences, each of which starts with the phrase ''IOU a-''. One sentence will try to use as many words as possible that contain a U making the yoo sound (IOU a cute, huge human). The next sentence will try to use as many words as possible containing the oo sound, and the third will use words making the uh sound. The fourth sentence will attempt to incorporate all three of these sounds. To make it more challenging, tell students they cannot repeat any words.
With these sentences, students will make a simple book called ''IOU's''. On the first page, they will write ''IOU (the sentence with the yoo sounds)'', and then draw a picture of this scene. They will do this for the remaining three sentences as well, and then use the last blank page to draw a cover for their book. Help students bind the pages into a book using a stapler.
- Materials: Paper, vocabulary list, stapler, arts and crafts supplies as desired
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