Letter U Activities

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

These creative and unique activities will give your students new ways to develop familiarity with the appearance and uses of the letter U in the English language.

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.

Overstressing Sounds

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

Word Search

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

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