U Words for Kids

Below, you’ll find our list of U words for kids that can be adapted for vocabulary lessons. We’ve also provided some fun text ideas that you can use by copying and pasting into your lesson materials.

Unstoppable in Utica! In this series, our alphabet friends, A through Z, become tourists in America’s cities. At each of their stops, letters dig into their supplies in order to learn a new word study skill or vocabulary term. 

U has packed its bags for Utica, NY! During U’s trip, U is excited to learn about different syllable features and patterns with the help of some wonderful word lists in U ‘s bag. U is looking forward to exploring Utica, reviewing technology words that begin with “U ”, and learning all about communication words, like emotions, traits, and other words that start with the letter “U”. 

Tip: Best educational practices related to word study include: read-alouds, discussion, and writing. It is important to build rich connections between readers and the vocabulary words they learn. For instance, discuss sample sentences and make other personal associations to bolster recall, decoding, and encoding. As always, remember that some words may require frontloading and framing depending on the learner’s age, background, and needs. Helpful reminders for readers: A vowel is a speech sound produced by letters a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y. A consonant is a speech sound produced by all of the other letters in the alphabet. 

CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) Words: Choo chooo! The first stop in Utica is Union Station! U loves the hustle and bustle, watching trains arrive and depart, and imagining exciting journeys. After some good people watching, U digs into its duffle bag for its first word list. The first word list is about CVC words. CVC words have a specific order: one consonant, followed by a vowel, followed by another consonant. Examples of CVC words include “cat,” “sit,” and “fun.” Below is a short list of consonant-vowel-consonant words where “u” is in the vowel position.


Closed Syllables: Let’s lace up! U cheers on a thrilling ice hockey game at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. U feels the excitement as the players glide across the ice, chasing the puck. U enjoys the game and spends some time decompressing in the stands. U pulls out the next list from its duffle bag: this one is all about closed syllables.When the vowel of a syllable is short, the syllable is closed off by one or more consonants. Examples of closed syllable words include “hat,” “pin,” and “dotted.”


Open Syllables: U is feeling academic and decides to hustle over to Utica College’s Science Center to learn about the wonders of the universe. All of the thought about the universe puts U in the mood for a bit of learning. In U’s duffle bag, the next word list is about open syllables. Open syllables have a vowel sound that is long and ends with a vowel. Because there is no consonant after the vowel in the syllable, the vowel is able to make the long sound, which sounds exactly like the name of the letter that makes the sound in that syllable. Examples of open syllable words include “no,” “me,” and “hi.” The “o” in “no” sounds just like how “o” is identified by name. The “i” in “hi” sounds just like how “i” is identified by name.


Silent Vowel Pairs (or Teams): U’s next stop is to the Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area where U observes birds, turtles, and other creatures in their natural habitat. U escapes for a moment of quiet in this serene place to learn all about silent vowel pairs. Silent vowel pairs have two vowels together: one of them stays silent. Some silent vowel pair words include “boat,” “rain,” and “suit.” Below is a list of words that have a silent vowel pair where good friend, “o,” works with “u” to make an /ow/ sound. What a duo!


R-Controlled Vowels: U settles down with a good book at the Utica Public Library. U dives into fascinating stories, embarking on incredible adventures from the pages of books. U takes a break from a great read to learn a little bit about “r” controlled vowels, including how “u” can be controlled by “r.” “R” and how it can be a bossy letter! Examples of r-controlled vowels include “car,” “bird,” and “fern.” U reviews the list below to see how “u” can be controlled by the letter “r” no matter where it is located in a word:


Final Stable Syllables: Wow! Unbelievable! U feels artsy and visits the Utica College Art Gallery! U is inspired by paintings, sculptures, and creative expressions from talented artists. After enjoying the gallery, U decides to sit down and review the next list in its bag. Final stable syllables are found in the final (last or lattermost) position of words. These syllables contain a consonant and one of the following vowel endings: -ble, -cle, -dle, -fle, -gle, -kle, -ple, -sle, -tle, -zle, -tion, -sion, -ture, -cian, -cious, and -tious. They are called “stable” because the pronunciation of each is reliable and predictable (always the same). Here’s the list that U reads:


“U” in Animals: It’s time for U to enjoy the Utica Zoo! U enjoys a great array of animal exhibits in this incredible zoo in a small upstate town. U digs into its duffle bag while observing the urchins in the aquarium exhibit. The next list is all about animals whose names begin with “u.”

uakariulamaumbrella birdurchin
urialurutuunicornUtah raptor

“U” in Technology: U is in the mood for adventure and goes to the Utica Children’s Museum for some unbelievable activity and learning. U explores interactive exhibits, experiments with science, and lets its creativity soar. This next list is all about technology that begins with “u!” Let’s look at the list from U’s duffle bag!


“U” in Communication: Ciao, bella! The Utica Italian Cultural Center and Museum allows U to indulge in delicious Italian cuisine: mouthwatering pasta, pizza, and cannoli! “Yum,” says U! Here are some “u” nouns, adjectives, and verbs that readers and communicators should become familiar with.