Short U Sound Words

Do you need some help with short u sound words? This post shows you how to teach them to your child plus you can get a free short u word list.

Ready to learn the last short vowel in the alphabet?

You know you need to help your child learn all the short vowel sounds. But if you don’t know where to get started, you’re in the right place.

In this blog post, you will learn all about short u sound words, grab a free short u word list and picture chart. Plus I also give you three activity ideas for teaching your child to read and spell the short u sound.

What is the Short U Sound?

The short u sound is the sound you hear at the beginning of the word umbrella. It’s also the middle sound in the word “sun.”

The short u sound is one of my favorites because it’s fun for children to make! Use the thumbs-up gesture while you say /uuuuuh/.

What are the short u and long u sounds?

Now you might be wondering what the are the short u and the long u sounds. It helps to think of words with the sounds.

The short u sound is in the word cut. We represent it like this: /u/. When you see a letter between slashes, it means to say the sound.

The long u sound is in the word cute. It sounds like the letter U. It can be represented with a line on top of the letter: /ū/.

When you first start teaching your child the short u sound, just focus on the one vowel sound. Most beginning readers need a lot of practice with the short vowel sounds before moving onto the long sounds.

Short U Sound words examples

These are some examples of short u sound words:

Keep in mind when you teach your child to read short u words, they need to know the consonant rules in those words, too. So make sure your child is sounding out letters before you move on to words.

These words start with the short u sound:

  • up
  • under
  • umbrella

Short U Word Families

When learning short u sound words, sometimes looking at word families can be helpful. Our brains learn to rapidly read chunks of words. It seems for adults that we’ve memorized them but we’re really just processing each letter lightning fast!

It’s helpful to have a list of short u word families:

  • -ub
  • -uck
  • -ud
  • -udge
  • -uff
  • -ug
  • -um
  • -ump
  • -un
  • -unch
  • -unt
  • -ush
  • -ust
  • -ut

It’s really important your child can sound out the words phonetically so try not to over-rely on word families.

short u sound words list and picture chart with CVC words, blend words, digraphs, and other spelling rules. A purple half circle in bottom right corner says FREE in white text

Short U Word List

You can grab this free download in the box below. This printable is a free gift for email subscribers. You’re welcome to unsubscribe at any time but I think you’ll love the reading advice and sales.

When you choose which words to work on with your child, work from the top down. It is important to teach phonics step-by-step and not haphazardly.

Your child needs to start with simple words like cup and work up to more complex words like brunch.

Here is the list of short u words.

CVC words with short u

  • bud
  • bun
  • cup
  • dug
  • fun
  • gum
  • hug
  • hut
  • mug
  • mut
  • pup
  • rub
  • sub
  • sun
  • tub
  • tug

List of short u words with beginning blends

  • club
  • crud
  • spud
  • stud
  • drug
  • plug
  • slug
  • snug
  • drum
  • plum
  • swum
  • spun
  • glut
  • stun
  • scum
  • glum

short u words with ending blends

These short u words have an ending blend:

  • bulk
  • hulk
  • sulk
  • musk
  • bump
  • dump
  • jump
  • husk
  • hunt
  • punt
  • runt
  • tusk
  • bust
  • gust
  • must
  • dust

Digraphs with short u vowel

The following word list has words with a consonant dograph and a short vowel u sound:

  • gush
  • hust
  • bunch
  • punch
  • shut
  • shun
  • shrug
  • chug
  • thrust
  • thrust
  • thump
  • shrub
  • Dutch
  • hutch
  • clutch
  • crutch

More complex short u words

These words have consonant spelling generalizations or a beginning and an ending blend:

  • bluff
  • fuss
  • fuzz
  • dull
  • clump
  • blunt
  • crust
  • grump
  • pluck
  • stuck
  • truck
  • cluck
  • bunk
  • hunk
  • trunk
  • stunk
whiteboard with a short u vowel word cup written on it. There are three magnets green, yellow and red under each letter in cup

Using a short u word list

Now you have the words – what next? You need to have your child practice reading and spelling the words.

There are three easy ways you can use the list:

  • write on a whiteboard
  • build with phonogram cards
  • map the words

Write short u words on a whiteboard

Just grab your handy whiteboard and write down one CVC word. Let’s use the word “cup” as an example.

Use a magnet or put one dot under each letter and have your child sound out the letters. Then help your child blend it into a word.

Repeat with a few more words. Once your child is independent in blending words, write 4-5 on the board.

The final step is to write a short sentence for your child to read. Make sure your child already knows the sight words in the sentence.

You could write a sentence like “The pup is in the tub.”

Build with phonogram cards

My favorite way to teach sounding out words is with phonogram cards. These are the same cards I use in Sounds School and with my students.

I like that children identify the sounds for the letters and then the same letters build words.

You ask your child to tell you the sounds for handful of consonants like c, t, p, n, b, and d. Then ask them the sound for the short u card.

Build these words:

  • but
  • bun
  • bud
  • cup
  • cut
  • nut
  • cub

Have your child sound out each letter then sound out (or blend) the whole word phonetically.

Need more help? I teach this in Sounds School.

map the words

You can use the word list to map words. I have a free word mapping template you can grab in the box below.

Simply, you tell your child the word and walk them through the steps of spelling the word. This improves their knowledge of phonics, or sounds-spellings. Plus if they can learn to spell the word, they will be able to read it!

You can use printable Elkonin boxes to word map, too.

short u sound words picture chart with clip art for sub, duck, mud, judge, bug, gum, jump, lunch, and brush

Short U Words with Pictures

You can also grab this free short u words with pictures printable chart. The hold point of reading is connecting words with meaning.

So while helping your child sound out words, you need to make sure they are learning what the words mean.

Your vocabulary is larger than your child’s. It’s easy to assume they know what words mean, but it’s very likely some words are new to them.

The short u words with pictured are:

  • sun
  • mud
  • jump
  • judge
  • bug
  • gum
  • jump
  • lunch
  • brush

You can hang up this chart for your child to reference. You can also use it for a learning activity.

Trouble with sounds?

If you feel overwhelmed with the sounds in English, or you have trouble hearing the sounds yourself, check out Sounds School.

It’s my signature program where I teach parents and teachers like you the basic of the 44 sounds in English.

Then you get lessons on a simple daily routine for teaching your child to:

  • read the sounds
  • blend the sounds into words
  • spell the sounds
  • spell words with the sounds

It comes with:

  • on-demand video lessons
  • an eBook to accompany the lessons
  • a 10-page phonics sequence with decodable and sight words to learn
  • 100+ pages of worksheets to go from sounds to CVC words
  • 3-month membership to a private Instagram where I can answer your questions
  • and bonus games, activities, and trainings

MOre resources for short u vowel sound

Do you need more resources to teach your child the short u vowel sounds? Check out these printables available in the shop.

Word Mapping Short U Words

The Word Mapping Activity is your step-by-step tool to teaching your child phonics. It has 12 picture cards for 35+ phonics skills.

Besides short vowel words, there are cards for blends, digraphs, magic e, long vowels and more! This activity comes with answer keys so you know exactly how to map each word!

This process fast-tracks reading and spelling and makes word learning more permanent.

Need more help with Word Mapping? Check out the Word Mapping Workshop where I teach you step-by-step how to map words.

You can also find this Phoneme-Grapheme Mapping on Teachers Pay Teachers.

SHort vowel worksheets

These middle vowel sounds worksheets help your child hear the short u sound. That is really important to be able to read the words.

Besides the short vowels, it includes the other vowel sounds including long vowels, diphthongs, and bossy r vowels.

There are scripts and answer keys so you exactly what to say to your child.

Check out these Middle Sound Worksheets in the shop or find the Medial Sound Worksheets on Teachers Pay Teachers.

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