Up and Under

Up and Under
Target text


Associate the letter U with the short /u/ sound as in under, umbrella, and upstairs.

See Standards

Lesson Plan

Target Words:

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


  • Paper 
  • Paper airplane instructions
  • Picture cards
  • Word cards
  • Writing practice page

The children will fly an airplane up in the air and then 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

  • Tell the children that the letter U sometimes makes the /u/ sound as in up.
  • Make a list of words spelled with U (e.g., up, under, us, uncle).
  • Give the children paper and show them how to make a paper airplane (follow the instructions below).
  • Have the children choose a picture card 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, then have them read the written words (support as needed).
  • Have the children practice tracing 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 head (beginning), their shoulders (middle) and toes (end).
    • For example: bus = /b/ (tap head) + /u/ (tap shoulders) + (tap toes).
  • 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/

Write the target letter

  • Help the children write the letter U and then draw pictures of things that start with the short /u/ sound under the letters.
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SEEL At Home


Associate the letter U with the short /u/ sound as in umbrella, under, and us


  • Paper airplane instructions
  • Paper 

Activity: Make words fly up and under

  • Teach your child how to make a paper airplane (or use the instructions provided).
  • Help your child decorate the airplane by writing the letter U on it in various sizes and colors.
  • Have your child help you make word cards and picture cards of words that start with U.
  • Attach the word cards to the plane and take turns throwing the paper airplane.
  • Make the airplane 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."
  • Repeat the activity as desired.

Paper Airplane Instructions

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SEEL lessons align with Common Core Standards. Please see the standards page for the code(s) associated with this lesson.