Vowels are the glue that connect letters and form words. Or as a child said to me once, that word can’t drive without its vowel! Short vowels are indeed motors and are an important skill for students. In this lesson, students will practice short vowel sounds by writing the vowel for the sound they hear.
Children learn short vowels before long vowels for several reasons. Many short, simple words contain short vowels and are easier to blend. Word families are commonly used in elementary schools as a way to connect common chunks with vowel sounds. Think at, ig, en, ox, and ut. Most importantly, short vowels are better at following the rules than those pesky long vowels!
Once children get a handle on short vowels, their reading skills grow exponentially! You will run into some words that sound a bit different, but that is okay. Enjoy exploring such sounds with your students and acknowledge that there are rule-breakers.
Showing pictures or real objects are a great way to begin discussing short vowel sounds. Then, students can transfer their knowledge to words and then finally to sentences.
Show a picture of an apple or an ant, like in the CLIO video lesson. You can introduce each vowel following this same routine.
1. Stretch the beginning sound and exaggerate it. (a-a-a)
2. Say the rest of the word. (-pple)
3. Have the students try saying it in parts.
4. Next, say the entire word slowly with some emphasis on the vowel. Students repeat.
5. Say it naturally. Students say it again.
Guided Practice with the CLIO Lesson Learning Video
Let the children know they will be watching another fun CLIO video today. Pass out the CLIO Lesson Cards to each child. While watching the video, encourage the students to repeat the sounds of each vowel. They can write the vowel next to each picture while you are playing the video, as it pauses to allow time for this.
Keep those Lesson Cards handy! Tape them to the students’ desks. Glue them onto their writing or reading folders. You could even laminate them so that each child has a handy reference card to use during language lessons.
Tip – In my experience, the hardest is the e sound and may need extra repetition. It is also important to have examples of the vowel sound in the middle of the word. This learning video is a great starting point to short vowels, which is why we focused on the beginning of the word.
If you notice that short vowel sound skills are a challenge, slow down. Does the child need more practice with consonants first? If so, go back to those. If just the vowels are stumping the student, work on one vowel until they have that one down pat. Work on short a first and make sure they can hear it in the beginning place in words such as alligator, apple, and avalanche!
Once they can hear it in the beginning, then move to using short a in the middle of words. Word families are your friends here! The -at and -ap families tend to be easier than -am and -an, as those last two families sound a tiny bit different.
Additionally, some students do best when they have picture clues in front of them, such as the Clio Lesson Card. Many teachers help their struggling friends by showing them the sound that their lips and tongue should make for each sound.
If you find a child is a pro with writing short vowel sounds, take a look at books. Ask them to find the vowels in the sentences. See if they can write the words you dictate. Encourage them to try to write their own short vowel words by stretching and listening to the sounds themselves. Don’t rush into long vowels with them just yet. Let’s look at the l blends (bl, cl, gl, etc.) first and see how those influence the sound of the word.
Practice is Key
- Nonsense words are fun! Encourage creativity with the vowels by making funny words. Sut, wog, and dag do not mean anything but are a Dr. Seuss-inspired way of having a good time while practicing sounds. I guarantee you will laugh!
There is really no moving on from writing short vowel sounds. The students will be working on them for years. However, having a significant grasp on the short vowel sounds is essential to reading success. Keep reviewing as often as possible, while keeping the lessons short and engaging.
Allow students to use the CLIO Lesson card materials for reference. Show the new picture and ask students what short vowel sound they hear at the beginning of each word. Students should then write the vowel that represents the beginning sound.