Phonics Part 8: More Vowels and Consonants

by C. Elkins, OK Math and Reading Lady

Do your students (K-5) really know the difference between vowels and consonants? Do they think you are talking about the continents instead?? Can they name the 5 vowels and both vowel sounds with ease? The more I work with individual students, the more I realize they often DON’T know or have a hard time articulating what they are.  So if they are confused, then are they really paying attention when we rattle along using terms such as cvc, cvce, vowel teams, vowel pairs, consonant blends, etc.

Manipulate middle letter(s).

So much of our phonics instruction relies on students knowing what they are, it may be worth it to check with yours to see.  I will admit that I have assumed they have this knowledge, especially at the 3rd grade levels and above, but this is not always the case.

Vowels:  a, e, i, o, u

Consonants:  all of the other letters of the alphabet

Vowel sounds

  • The long sound is just like saying the letter names.
  • For the short vowel sounds, I recommend providing a key word or two for students to refer to such as:  short a = apple, at; short e = egg, the middle sound in red; short i = is, it; short o = on, off; short u = up, umbrella

CVC:  Consonant-vowel-consonant words

  • These are words like cat, red, will, hot, bus
  • They are considered “closed” syllables.
  • The middle vowel usually makes the short vowel sound.
  • This is helpful to apply to multi-syllabic words with closed syllables:  cac-tus, rab-bit, pic-nic, etc.

CVCE: Consonant-vowel-consonant + silent e

  • These are words like cake, fine, note, mule
  • The silent e gives the middle vowel the signal to make the long sound (generally).
  • When there are 2 vowels within a single syllable, the vowel sound is usually the long sound.

Long vowel teams: Generally this means 2 vowels together making just one sound

  • Examples:  ai, ee, ea, ie, oa, ue  (rain, sleep, team, pie, coat, glue)
  • The first vowel makes the long sound, while the second vowel is silent

The above are the basics and need to be understood and mastered to better tackle digraphs, blends, and multi-syllabic words. Read other vowel and consonant information with this link to one of my previous posts: Phonics Part 3: Vowels and Consonants.

Activities to practice:

  • Path games
  • Matching activities
  • Spelling word lists
  • Word hunts for these in texts they are reading
  • Word family lists

Have a wonderful week everyone!

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