I've taught Pre-K (2 years), 1st grade (1 year) and Kinder (this year) and find that young readers struggle with the differences between the short vowel sound and the long vowel sound. We talk a lot about how short vowels make a sound (the short sound) but sometimes they also say their name (long vowel sounds). I teach lots of silly rules about when to use the long vowel sound (when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking/bossy "e"/etc). My students needed concrete visuals for reminders of the differences between the two sounds...So I made posters! They have a permanent spot on a wall in my room and students frequently look to them. They are great visual anchors for activities. Here are two examples for long a and short a. (Disclaimer: I do not own the photos, I am not selling the photos, they are simply a learning tool).
You can download the entire vowel set here. Let me know if you have any problems accessing the pdf file.
Here are a couple of ideas of how you could use them with your class:
- Make long vowel and short vowel flap books (saw this idea originally on Pinterest!), modified for my group. We made two books, one for long sounds, one for short.
- Make picture sorts (provide the pictures or find in a magazine and sort by beginning, middle or ending sound)
- Brainstorm word lists with the sounds, have students write them down
- Go on scavenger hunts around the room for items that have a certain sound (i.e. look for an object around the room that has the short a sound)
Teaching children to read is no easy task, especially for struggling readers. My struggling readers really thrive with visuals, so hopefully you will find this helpful!
places to find inspiration.