Reading is based on how we introduce vowel sounds. There are approximately 20 vowel sounds (outside of Final Stable Syllable sounds and suffixes) for students to learn that are constant in their sounds. Therefore, if these sounds are introduced in progression, student can make sense of reading. The student learns to look at the letters around the vowel to determine its sounds. Teaching students this way is called the Six Syllable Types of Reading. It is giving students six clues to look for in words and once they locate the clue, then they know the sound of the vowel or vowel team. And they are able to read the word.
The first vowel sounds we introduce are the short sounds of the vowels. Once students have mastered reading short vowel words, it is time to introduce long vowels, but specifically just the long Vowel-Consonant-e Syllable pattern of words. Now students are going from knowing 5 vowel sounds to having to know 10 vowel sounds. To assess to see if students have mastered reading short vowels, read by blog post http://readingonstrawberrylane.net/when-is-it-time-to-teach-long-vowel-words-a-critical-step/. I offer short, easy assessments that can be administered to let you know if students know their short vowel sounds. There are a 100+ short vowel spelling patterns, and it is necessary that student know how to accurately read 80% of these patterns before teaching any more new vowel sounds. You can purchases these assessments on TpT: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/How-do-I-know-when-my-student-is-ready-to-read-long-vowel-patterned-words-3749754.
Introducing Vowel Teams Syllables at this point is too overwhelming to students. There are too many Vowel Teams that say a long sound with a variety of spelling patterns, and combining these Vowel Team patterns with Vowel-Consonant-e Syllable patterns can confuse students at the foundational level rather than promote growth. When laying the foundation to reading, it is critical that students become solid on reading Closed Syllable (Short Vowels) and just the Vowel-Consonant-e Syllable long vowel pattern. This way, students become proficient at reading short and long vowels that include only two spelling patterns. And once a student is fluent at the foundational level of reading, then the student can easily learn the next vowel sounds or vowel spelling patterns as they are introduced in a sequential order.
- Sam, van, tap, pac, Mac, rag, sag, wag, stag
- met, pet, red
- rid, slid, dim, slim
- cod, con, glob, hop
- cub, cut, dud, plum
I show students that if I just add the letter -e to the end of these words, then the vowel sound of each word changes to its long sound. This letter ‘e’ when added to the end of words is called Silent E, Magic E, or Super E.
These next two activities are core activities that I regularly use to enable students to read fluently between Closed Vowels (Short) and the long Vowel -Consonant-e words. Both of these activities include many words just like the above word examples that only require students to add the letter -e to a short vowel word. Thus, changing the vowel’s sound which then changes the word. These are activities that students are using for about a month. If a student needs more time to become fluent interchanging the sounds, don’t rush it. This is the foundation of reading.
First, the FREE activity, “Give a Cat. . . Give a Elephant. . . Give a Pig. . . Give a Dog. . . Give a Bug. . .” is an activity the students play over and over until fluency is built between these two vowels sounds.
Second the Snail Shell activity is an activity that inside of this packet: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/15-V-C-e-Syllable-Activities-Games-1314772
I print off the activity and staple it together as a booklet for the kids, and my students read this booklet for many days while they are working at this level. During reading group, I hand them their booklet, and ask them to read one of the vowel pages to me. When reading if they miss more than four words, I have them to reread the page. The students work on reading each page until they can correctly read 20 out of 24 words. Then even after they can accurately read the words, they continue to practice until their fluency increases.
Tip: I introduce the vowel -e last in the booklet. There are not many e-consonant-e words. Therefore, I’ve included some Vowel Digraph Syllable words that all have the long –e vowel sound as well. Again, the reason for introducing the vowel -e last is to not introduce too many long spelling patterns at once to a student. A digraph is two vowels glued together that make one of the vowel sounds whether it is one of the vowels’ short sounds or one of their long sounds. For example –ea in “great” says long –a, -ea in “bread” says short –e, and –ea in “peace” says long –e. If you teach this page, do point out to the student the difference in the spelling patterns between the Vowel-Consonant-e words and the Vowel Digraph words. For example the word mete is a Vowel-Consonant-e word. Whereas, the word bread is a Vowel Digraph.
[The feature picture of this article is an example of what this activity looks like.]
If a student has mastered the Closed (Short) Syllable, then you may be interested in these packets: