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The Letter Q(u)

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Basics on the topic The Letter Q(u)

Introduction to the Letter Q

Embark on an alphabetic journey as we acquaint ourselves with the quirky letter q. Often partnered with its sidekick, the letter u, the letter q sets itself apart with its distinctive form and sound. Understanding and recognising the letter q is a crucial step in the exciting world of letters and words!

Understanding the Letter Q – Definition and Sounds

The letter q is the 17th letter in the English alphabet and is known for its unique /kw/ sound, as heard in words like quick and question.

This consonant is rarely seen without the letter u following it, forming a duo that produces the distinctive sound that sets it apart from other letter combinations. Mastering the sound of the letter q is a fundamental skill for budding readers and writers.

What sound does the letter q typically make?
Can you list a word that features the letter q?
Why is the letter q almost always followed by the letter u in English words?

Letter Q Handwriting Practice

Writing the letter q is an enjoyable exercise once you get the hang of it. To write the capital Q, start by drawing a circle similar to the capital O, then add a small diagonal line extending from the bottom right. For the lower case q, start with a c shape, join it up then extend a tail below the line, before finishing with a small flick. To write a pre-cursive letter q, follow the steps below.

Step Instruction
1 Start on the black line 27742_WritingTheLetterQ-13.svg
2 Whoosh to the blue line. 27742_WritingTheLetterQ-12.svg
3 Curl back round to form a curly c shape. 27742_WritingTheLetterQ-11.svg
4 Make a straight line up to meet the top of the c. 27742_WritingTheLetterQ-10.svg
5 Go straight back down underneath the line. 27742_WritingTheLetterQ-08.svg
6 Finish with a small flick. 27742_WritingTheLetterQ-09.svg
How do you write the capital Q?
What's the key difference when writing the lower case q?

The Letter Q – Example Words and Sentences

The letter q is unique and eye-catching, often appearing at the beginning and sometimes in the middle of words. For instance, Quincy the quail quickly quelled the quarrel. Here, the letter q is used at the start of several words, demonstrating its distinctive sound and presence.

Words with the Letter Q

The letter q is less common, but it still features prominently in many interesting words. Let's explore a list of words that highlight this letter:

Begin With Contain End With
quail request
queen equal
quilt liquid
quick square

You may have noticed that the column of words ending with the letter or sound q is empty. That is because it is very uncommon for any words in the English language to end with this letter or sound.

The Letter Q – Summary

Key Learnings from this Text:

  • The letter q is unique with its /kw/ sound and is commonly followed by the letter u.
  • Handwriting the capital letter Q involves creating a circle with a tail. For the lower case q, we start with a curly c shape.
  • Practice is essential for mastering the writing of both capital Q and lower case q.

Continue your exploration of the alphabet with fun activities, and don't forget to practise writing the letter q. Soon, you'll be quick at spotting and writing this quintessential letter!

Frequently Asked Questions About the Letter Q

Why does the letter q often appear with the letter u?
What are some examples of words that start with the letter q?
Is the letter q a common letter in the English language?
How can I help my child remember how to write the letter q?
Can the letter q make other sounds?
What is an activity that can help reinforce learning the letter q?
Is there a trick to writing the letter Q neatly?
What type of words use the letter q without a u following it?
Why is it important for children to learn the letter q?
How often will I see the letter q in everyday reading?

Transcript The Letter Q(u)

Let’s join Dee and Kala in the phonics garden and learn all about /qu/. This is the letter Q, it makes the sound /qu/. This is a capital /qu/ and this is a lowercase /qu/. They both make the /qu/ sound like in quack, quarter and quiet ! Let's practise the /qu/ sound with Kala! "/qu/, /qu/!" Can you spy anything in the garden that begins with /qu/? "There's a queen, that starts with /qu/!" Is there anything else in the garden that starts with /qu/? "There's a quilt, that also begins with the /qu/ sound!" Uh-oh! /q/ is hiding with the other letters! Can you help find the /q/ in the alphabet? Point to the letter when you find it! Did you also point here? You did some great work in the phonics garden! Today we learnt all about /qu/, we listened to and made the /qu/ sound! We found words that began with /qu/ and found it in the alphabet! Interested in a challenge? Watch this video again and see if you can find the quail, the question mark and the quill in the garden! Comment below when you find them! If you want to learn more, check out the next sound!

The Letter Q(u) exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learnt? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video The Letter Q(u).
  • Which one is the correct letter?


    Listen carefully to the sound, play it again and think about what you can hear.

    On Koko's card, there is a ____.

    Look again at the picture above. What sound does this word start with?


    The correct letter is q. This makes the /qu/ sound.

  • What sound does the letter make?


    Listen to all four sounds again. Which one is the same as the beginning of the word queen?

    The word quill starts with the sound.


    The correct sound is /qu/.

  • Find the objects that have qu in them.


    There are 4 items that have qu in them to highlight.

    Listen to this word. Can you find it in the picture?

    Listen carefully to the names of the objects.


    The four items that have the qu sound in are:

    • quarter (of a cake)
    • question
    • square
    • equals sign
  • What is the word?


    Listen carefully to the sounds at the end of each word.

    Here we can see the words with pictures. Use this to help you find the matching pairs above.


    The words are:

    1. quiz
    2. quit
    3. quick
    4. quack
  • Help Kala find the word that begins with qu.


    Listen to the sound. Which word begins with this sound?

    Say all of the items out loud. In which one do you hear the /qu/ sound at the beginning?

    There is one correct choice.


    Quiet starts with /qu/.

  • Can you put the words in the correct group?


    Listen carefully to this word. Do you hear the qu sound?

    Say the word out loud. If you can't hear the qu sound, assign it to the correct group.

    There are 2 words that have the qu sound in and 4 words that do not.


    Squid and squeak have the qu sound in them.

    Fish, pen, kitten and clock do not have the qu sound in them.