Fun Ways to Teach CVC Words

Fun Ways to Teach CVC Words

I’m all about making things fun, so finding fun ways to teach CVC words is something I love discussing. Embarking on the journey of literacy is a thrilling adventure for young minds, but unlocking the secrets to early literacy for teachers can be intimidating if we aren’t equipped with the science behind the art of reading. A crucial step in this adventure is mastering CVC words, those magical combinations of consonants, vowels, and consonants that pave the way for fluent reading.
Hi there! I’m Shanon Juneau with We Are Better Together, AKA Elementary Hub Club and I’m so excited to be guest blogging on Keri’s blog. A little bit about me. My favorite grade (by far) is first grade, but I’ve also taught 6-8th ELA and Technology, was a Technology Facilitator for our district, and was a Pre-K to 8th grade Assistant Principal. Let me say it again… I love first grade!! I blog over at Keri is also writing a blog post on my blog, and you can check her post out here!
I’m super excited to talk about how to build CVC words with your students. I started teaching in 1999, and to be honest… we weren’t trained in how to create readers. When I first started teaching, we used a Basal Reader and choral reading… yikes… looking back, I’m not sure how any of my students succeeded.
Luckily for me, we quickly moved to a different model, and I ended up working with a team member who was trained and willing to share everything she knew with us! We all flourished (teachers and students)! I’m currently taking an online class on the Science of Reading, and all I can say is WOW! I’m learning so much.

Tracing letters using sand, playdough, in the air, on paper

Before we jump to CVC words:

You need to make sure your students understand that letters represent the sounds of spoken language, meaning they need to know what sound the letter image makes before we can begin building our words. The magic happens when the visual representation of a letter, (grapheme) aligns with its corresponding sound (phoneme). When a child understands that the image ‘b’ says /b/ and ‘i’ says /i/ and ‘t’ says /t/ which then allows them to blend it together to pronounce ‘bit’, a reader is born.
There are many ways for your students to practice these skills. You can laminate cards with the letters and arrows showing how to form each letter and put them in shaving cream or sand. You can have students air write the letters, and/or use digital resources to help introduce and practice these skills as well. I
‘ve also seen teachers hang the letters around the classroom, and students can walk up to the images and trace if they need reinforcement. Typically my students came to me with this knowledge, but we always spent the first few weeks reviewing.

Short a word videos

Sound blending:

Once individual sounds are recognized, the next step is sound blending. So first, students will say each sound of each letter. You can have word cards or just write words on a whiteboard and have students touch each letter to make the sound, then blend those sounds together. If this is where you are, you can read more about blending on Keri’s blog post called The Stages of Phonics Development.
Once students are familiar with the blending of letters, I’d love for you to try our short vowel videos. These animated videos have each letter popping up one at a time, giving them a second to say each sound separately. Then students will blend the sounds smoothly to create the whole word. The transition from /d/ – /o/ – /t/ to ‘dot’ is a magical moment in the word-building journey.
Starting with CVC words:
CVC words, short for consonant-vowel-consonant, are the backbone of early literacy. These are the easiest words for students to build and these words will help students feel confident in their decoding skills. Some examples of these three-letter words are cat, dad, sun, dog and sip.

Activities for Building CVC Words:

There are so many wonderful activities to make word-building enjoyable for your students. Matching CVC games, picture/word cards, vowel sound scavenger hunts, and our animated videos are sure to help with the learning process. Check out our blog post above to see more ideas!

How my videos started:

It all started with those darn evaluations that required you to prove you had something to do for your early finishers. I always made sure my fast finishers were equipped with something, but with the new eval, it had to be specific and very clear. So, my early finisher PPTS were born (you can read more about those here).
Once I started creating these for each lesson, I fell in love with how easy they were to implement. As I’ve evolved, I started finding more ways to create activities to keep students engaged, help teachers teach lessons, and were super easy to implement. Once I embarked on my SOR studies, I knew I needed to create some videos to help with building words – and that’s how my animated videos were born!

Here’s how they work:

  1. Each “slide” will cover one short vowel word.
  2. Each letter will pop up one at a time. As each letter pops up, your students will say the sound
  3. Once all three letters are shown, students will say the word (blend)
  4. Then a picture of the word is shown (connection to the real world), and then the word is said so students can hear it
  5. Then the slide goes on to the next word

These are great to use as a whole group activity with your students sitting on the carpet practicing their words. But these also work well as small group instruction and intervention.

Depending on your curriculum:

Even though our curriculums differ on which order to teach, I think we can all agree that working on one vowel at a time is a deliberate and effective approach to developing early literacy skills. Working on one vowel at a time allows learners to isolate and focus on the specific phoneme associated with that vowel.
This targeted attention enhances phonemic awareness, which will help students recognize and manipulate individual sounds in spoken language. It also prevents cognitive overload on learners, especially those who are just beginning to explore the intricacies of language.
Our videos are broken down by vowels, with five different videos for each vowel sound. We also have a CVC video with all of the vowels mixed in. But these videos are for your students who have mastered the short vowel sounds.

Why animated videos?

Our animated videos are colorful, visually appealing, and designed with engaging characters and animations. They capture our students’ attention and maintain their interest throughout the learning experience. They also combine visual and auditory elements, enhancing comprehension and retention.
Another added advantage is that repetition is crucial for young learners, and it can be repeated as often as you like. Incorporating videos into education is about leveraging technology to enhance the learning experience, making it more interactive, enjoyable, and effective for young minds.

Ready to try them out?

If you’d like to try out a short i animated video you can sign up to grab the freebie here!

Thank you Keri for allowing me to guest blog on your site. I can’t wait to share your blog with my community as well!
If you have made it to the end of this post, then I have one more thing to share with you. Keri and I have teamed up with 8 other literacy bloggers for an event we’re calling Trading Spaces (remember that show?) Well, we wanted to host a giveaway with this event to share with one lucky winner a $100 TPT gift card plus a copy of each resource we featured in our posts for a prize package valued at about $200. Will the lucky winner be you? Follow our stores for the best chance to win. We’ll notify the winner on February 11th. Good luck!

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