Up and Under


Associate the letter U (and lowercase letter u) with the short /u/ sound (e.g., the /u/ sound in under, umbrella, upstairs).

Lesson Plan

See More

Target Words:

  • up
  • under
  • uncover
  • upstairs
  • uncle
  • us
  • umbrella


  • Paper for making airplanes
  • Paper airplane instructions
  • Picture cards
  • Word cards
  • Writing practice page

Tell the children they will fly an airplane up in the air while they practice reading and writing words that start with the letter U such as up, under, us, and uncle .

Literacy Activities
Make words fly up and under.

  • While emphasizing the letter sound tell the children that the letter U sometimes makes the /u/ sound like in up.
  • Make a list of words spelled with U: up, under, us, uncle.
  • Give the children paper and show them how to make a paper airplane.
  • Have the children choose a picture card of a word beginning with the short /u/ sound to attach to the airplane with tape or sticky tack.
  • Let the children fly the airplanes up in the air and under pretend clouds. Before the children throw each plane, have them say phrases like, “The umbrella goes up and under”.
  • Repeat the activity using word cards. Have the children circle the letter U in each word and provide help as needed as the children read the written words.
  • Have the children practice writing the letter up in the air while they continue to produce the short /u/ sound.

More Practice
Identify, blend and manipulate sounds

  • Have children identify the beginning, middle and ending sounds of words by tapping their shoulder (beginning), their elbow (middle) and fingers (end) (e.g., bus = /b/ tap shoulder, /u/ tap elbow, /s/ tap fingers). Point out that all of the words have the short /u/ sound and are spelled with the letter U in the middle of the word.
    • mud = /m/ /u/ /d/
    • nut = /n/ /u/ /t/
    • cup = /c/ /u/ /p/
    • hug = /h/ /u/ /g/
  • Have children blend individual sounds into words by tapping their shoulder (beginning sound), their elbow (middle sound) and fingers (ending sound) then clap to say the whole word (e.g., /b/ tap shoulder, /u/ tap elbow, /s/ tap fingers = bus clap hands). Point out that all of the words have the short /u/ sound and are spelled with the letter U in the middle of the word.
    • /m/ /u/ /d/ = mud
    • /n/ /u/ /t/ = nut
    • /c/ /u/ /p/ = cup
    • /h/ /u/ /g/ = hug

Write the target letter

  • Help the children write the capital letter U and the lowercase letter u then draw pictures of things that start with the short /u/ sound under the letters: umbrella, uncle, us.


SEEL At Home

See More

Associate the letter u (and capital U) with the short /u/ sound (e.g., the /u/ sound in umbrella, under, us). 


  • Paper airplane instructions
  • Paper to fold into an airplane and for making U word cards

Activity: Under the Umbrella

  • Teach your child how to make your favorite kind of paper airplane. If you don't know how to make a paper airplane, use the instructions provided.
  • Help your child decorate the airplane by writing the letter U on it in various sizes and/or colors.
  • Have your child help you make word cards of words that start with U.
  • Attach the word cards to the plane one at a time and take turns throwing the paper airplane. Make it go up in the air and under pretend clouds. 
  • Each time someone throws the plane, say phrases like, "The U plane goes up and under with the word umbrella."
  • This activity can be repeated several times.

Paper Airplane Instructions


See More

1. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.1.D: Recognize and name all upper and lower case letters in the alphabet.
2. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.3.A: Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary sound or many of the most frequent sounds for each consonant.