how to pronounce u sound

This pronunciation lesson is designed for 3-6-year-old children to help them pronounce the letter ‘u’ using its phonic sound.

Learning phonic sounds is important for children as this helps them read faster and more fluently. This is the first step in learning spelling and vocabulary.

In our previous video lesson, we learned about phonics, the importance of learning phonics, and the phonic sound of the letter ‘r’. This pronunciation video lesson is the 18th in a row when learning the sound of English alphabet letters. 

Is Phonics Important for Children to Learn the Language?

Phonics is the science of sound that helps students feel confident in their ability to read and allows them to continue growing as writers. The child will master the language and the number of mistakes will be eliminated once the child gets a good grip on phonics.

Building a child’s phoneme library is one of the advantages of phonics in the early years. They will become better at recognizing distinct syllables and patterns. This will not only improve their verbal communication abilities but will also give them more opportunities to express themselves creatively in English.

How to Pronounce the Letter u Sound?

The letter u is a vowel and it can be pronounced in three different ways. It has 2 long vowel sounds and can be pronounced as /oo/ and /U/ whereas the third sound is the short vowel sound and can be pronounced as /uh/

  • The long vowel sound of the letter u as /oo/: to make the pronunciation of the sound /oo/, the back of the tongue extends toward the soft palate, making lips in o shape. Start this sound with more relaxed lips and move to tighter lip positions. The words with the same sound are full, sugar, bull, fruit, juice, rule, true, tune, etc. 
  • The long vowel sound of the letter u as /yu/: To make this sound, the front of the tongue pushes behind the lower front teeth and touches the palate. The jaw is closed and there’s also a sort of pinch in the throat here to give the ‘yu’ sound quality. For example, music, blue, cube, use, and computer. 
  • The short vowel sound of the letter u is /uh/: To pronounce the short vowel sound of U, the body of the tongue is set low and relaxed. The body of the tongue is relaxed and set low in the mouth. While pronouncing the sound, the sides of the tongue slightly touch the bottom teeth and the lips are kept relaxed. For example, us, up, urge, uncle, umbrella, ultimate, etc. 

How to Decide Whether the Letter “U” Pronounces a Long or Short Sound?

Check the following patterns to pronounce the right sound for the alphabet u

  • “u” + consonant + vowel = Long “u” sound as in brute, tube
  • “u” + consonant + (end of the word) = Short “u” sound as in cup, bun, fun
  • “u” + consonant + consonant = Short “u” sound – as in full, pull
  • “u” + consonant (single syllable word) = Short “u” sound as in up, us

How to Introduce the Pronunciation of the ‘u’ Sound to the Child?

  1. Invite the child to the table and tell them, today we are going to learn the sound of the letter ‘u’ produces.
  2. Show the child what the letter ‘u’ looks like and the sound of the letter ‘u’.
  3. Say it several times by producing the /oo/, /U/, and /uh/ sounds.
  4. Ask the child to repeat the sound after you.
  5. Show the child a picture or miniature of words starting with ‘u’ such as an umbrella. 
  6. Repeat the sound of the letter u every time while showing the image of the umbrella. 
  7. Now show another picture and again produce the letter ‘u’ sound.
  8. Ask the child to pronounce the letter ‘u’.

5 Activities to Introduce the Letter u Sound to the Child: 

  1. U for Utah – Cut out the state or give children a picture of Utah. Explain that Utah is one of her 50 states in the United States. Invite children to discuss what they think people in Utah are doing. Allow them to write, trace, and glue a ‘U’ inside the state.
  2. Unicorn – Show your children a picture of a unicorn to stimulate their curiosity. As a group, make up a story about a unicorn. Draw or tape a picture of a unicorn on a piece of paper and ask children to write their answers to the following words: Each section should be painted or filled with different collage mediums. Cut muffin cups, colorful scraps, stars, and glitter. 
  3. Under the Rope – Have the children try how they can move under the rope. You can also play ‘London Bridge is Falling Down with the rope.

This video allows the child to explore the short vowel sound of the English letter ‘U’ and learn words starting with it, such as umpire, umbrella, and underpants. The sounds are repeated for each word so that the child can hear and pronounce the letter accurately.

Related Pronunciation Videos:

  1. Pronunciation of the letter ‘j’
  2. Pronunciation of the letter ‘s’
  3. Pronunciation of the letter ‘t’
  4. Pronunciation of the letter ‘v’

For more pronunciation and English language resources, click here

Video created by: Strykun Olena



  • english language
  • language development
  • phonic sound
  • primary level
  • pronunciation