It’s important for children to learn not only the letter names, but also how to recognize them based on their physical appearance. Once letter recognition is solidified, they can identify letters in different contexts, including books, signs, and in their name.
To help children learn the letter “u,” display an alphabet poster for them to refer to. You can also provide them with their own alphabet chart to keep at their table or desk. Provide them with materials like magnetic letters or tiles and flashcards. Have them sort a small group of letters to find all the “u’s. Children can also use letter stamps, make the letter “u” with playdough, and go on a letter hunt to look for “u’s” in the room.
Children need to learn how to print letters correctly. Knowing the correct motions will help them with their speed and accuracy. Once they become proficient with printing, they can focus on the content of their writing instead of the mechanics of forming each letter.
To learn how to print the letter “u,” teach children a verbal pathway to help cue them with the correct motions. To teach both the lowercase and uppercase “u,” use the phrase, “Pull down, around, up, and down.” Say the phrase as you model how to print each letter. Make the distinction between the lowercase letter, which is short, and the uppercase letter, which is tall.
In addition to traditional pencil and paper activities, allow children to use materials like chalk, whiteboard markers, fingerpaint, and sand or salt trays to practice printing. They can even use juggling scarves to mimic the motions needed to make the letter “u.”
To teach children the sounds that the letter “u” makes, have them relate it to words that begin with “u.” For example, they can associate the short “u” sound with words like “umbrella,” “under,” and “up.” They can relate the long “u” sound with objects like unicorns, unicycles, and utensils. Have them fill a block letter “u” with pictures or drawings of the items. They can refer to their block letter when trying to recall the sounds.
As children learn a new letter, have them complete the corresponding page in their own alphabet book. Include the proper lowercase and uppercase formation and have them add pictures that start with the letter. Their alphabet books are another reference when they are learning sounds.
For additional practice, have children match the letter “u” to pictures that begin with the sound. (e.g., Match the “u” to the umbrella.) They can also color pictures that start with “u.” (e.g., Color the unicorn. Do not color the butterfly.)