Wondering how to teach short vowel sounds to your pre-reading students? Teaching short vowels is a daunting task. They are the foundation of all words! Vowels hide in the middle of words and with close knit sounds, students often confuse which vowel they hear! Read below for 5 tips to learn how to teach short vowel sounds!
Before teaching short vowel sounds, it is helpful if students are comfortable with several consonant sounds including: t, n, m, b, and f.
What is a short vowel sound? Read this to learn more!
teach Short Vowel sounds by themselves
It can be tempting to teach all 5 vowel sounds at once. It allows students to build more words but it also creates more confusion. With subtle differences between the vowel sounds, when taught simultaneously children often mix the sounds! /e/ becomes /i/, /o/ because /u/, and you’ll spend more time reteaching rather than avoiding confusion all together! Using flash cards, sorting individual sounds, repeat after me, are all important when learning how to teach short vowel sounds.
direct instruction for letter sounds
While children pick up many skills through emersion and exposure, the most effective way to teach short vowel sounds is through explicit instruction. Say the vowel sound and have students repeat the sound in isolation. Once students are comfortable with the letter-sound relationship, begin adding beginning sound words such as a-/a/-apple, or a-/a/-apron. Word sorts are a great way to practice beginning vowel sounds! Using sounds the child is already familiar with, have the child choose which word begins with a vowel and which word begins with a different sound.
How to teach short vowel sounds when reading
After students have mastered the letter-sound relationship of a vowel, and you’ve introduced the vowel as a beginning sound now it’s time to teach the vowel sound where it most commonly occurs – in the middle of words! Using simple Consonant-Vowel-Consonant words, have students identify the individual vowel sound you are focused on teaching. Using the game “thumbs up, thumbs down” is a great way to do this! Students give a thumbs up if they hear the chosen sound, or a thumbs down if they don’t. Say the word slowly, like a robot, can help your students isolate the vowel sound and be successful.
reading short vowel words
To ensure reading success children must have strong letter sound correspondence before they piece those sounds together! Once your students can successfully identify the vowel sound at the beginning and middle of words it’s time to start blending written letter sounds together to make words! Create simple words with the vowel sound and consonant sounds students are already familiar and comfortable with. Word ladders are a fun way to do this. Write a single word down, then change one consonant to create a new word. Challenge students to see what words they can create!
Use individual sounds when writing
Writing short vowel words can be taught at the same time as reading these words. In my small group schedule, I dedicate a day to both. Similar to reading, pairing the new vowel sound with previously mastered consonant sounds allows the child to isolate the vowel master its sound and use. Dictating both real and nonsense words challenges the students to think about each sound in the word, without relying on memory.
Using these strategies in your small groups, you can learn how to teach short vowel sounds!
These activities are perfect for teaching short vowels
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