This page provides information to support educators and families when teaching K-3 students about the long “u” sound. It is designed to complement the Long U topic page on BrainPOP Jr.  


Before you begin, we recommend screening some or all of the following BrainPOP Jr. phonics movies for review: Short Vowels, Silent E, Long E, Long O, and Long A. In the Long

U movie, Annie and Moby introduce the long “u” sound and explore different vowel patterns that form the sound. We suggest turning on closed captioning while watching the movie to support children’s development of word and sound recognition skills and to build phonemic awareness.


Remind children that vowels (a, e, i, o, u, and y) can have a short or long sound depending on other letters in the word. Review short vowel sounds together by writing and saying words that make each sound (e.g., cat, bed, sit, mop, tub) and encouraging children to think of more words for each short vowel sound. Repeat the exercise with the long vowel sounds, coming up with a word for each (e.g., late, seed, kite, boat, and cute).


Write the word cute on the board. Review with children that the long “u” can make the yuu sound as in “cube” or “uniform.” Together, brainstorm words that have a long “u”, such as bugle, humid, cube, or flute. Encourage children to use rhyming strategies to help them come up with words. Some children will recognize that the long “u” often comes in the middle of the word. Challenge them to come up with a word in which a long “u” is at the beginning, such as unicorn or use. 


Draw a t-chart on the board. On the left side list the words hug, cub, and tub, and read them aloud. Point out that all the words have the short “u” sound. In the right column, across from the word hug, write huge and say it aloud, again exaggerating the long “u” sound. Ask students what happened when you added the silent “e.” They should recognize that adding a silent final “e” changed the short “u” sound to a long “u”. Invite volunteers to change the other short “u” words into long ones by adding a final silent “e” and read them aloud.  


Also, remind children that some “ui” words that make the long “u” sound, like fruit and juice. Can children think of other “ui” words with the long “u”? Can they think of  “ew” words that make the yuu sound? Examples include new and few.


The long “u” sound can also sound like oo. Together, the letters “u” and “e” can make the oo sound, as in clue, blue, or tissue. What other words make the oo sound? Words like spoon, tool and moon also have a long “u” sound, even though they don’t contain a “u”. 


Remind students that when they come across a new word, they can try pronouncing it in different ways until it sounds right. Encourage them to keep a notebook of new words and to read and write every day.