During a private lesson I was asked about the different ways we pronounce the letter ‘U.’ There are a number of resources that shed light on the different pronunciations. One I found helpful was Teflpedia.com. It can serve as a reference when you need to offer an explanation, create a lesson plan, or design an activity.
Context is always key in language practice. I like to isolate a problematic sound, contrast it with others, and then have the student use the target sound in words, phrases, and sentences. An interesting context keeps an exercise from growing dull. In my Funny Truths _handout, I suggest having students read sentences aloud, sort key words according the pronunciation of ‘U,’ and then create their own sentences. All statements are surprising facts, and listeners must identify each one as true or false. By the time students are creating their own sentences, they should have greater awareness of the different pronunciations of ‘U.’ The activity has upper level students in mind. Enjoy!