Wednesday, March 20, 2013

long and short vowel posters

If you are a parent or teacher to a young child, you know the joys and challenges of teaching a child to read. If you, like me, are a teacher (at a small school with limited resources), you are exceptionally familiar with the challenges.  I teach Kindergarten at a school that does not have a literacy program or curriculum.  Instead, all of the teachers are left to build their own.  Which, sometimes, is a blessing.  I have taught at a school with scripted curriclums and that is awful.  But building a literacy program is tough (especially when it's your first year teaching this grade!).  I am using the Daily 5 program and loooove it.  It's amazing.  I would highly recommend it to everyone.  I had some doubts about how it would work for Kinders, but I am finding that it's adaptable and wonderful and the kids are gaining so many skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking--but also how to work independently and take ownership of their learning).

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.    

A is and angel
E is for...elephant and equal (love when you can combine math with literacy!)
I is for...igloo and ice cream
O is for...octopus and ocean
U is for...umbrella and unicorn

If you have any requests for a different picture to go with the vowel, let me know.  I know angel might not work for all teachers but I am blessed to work at a Catholic school where that kind of thing is embraced :)  I didn't write the words on the posters because these are meant to be purely visual sound clues and I don't want to the spelling of some of the trickier words (i.e. ocean) to throw them off!  

Here are a couple of ideas of how you could use them with your class:

  • 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!  

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea! Our site has a Pattern Party that begins at the 1st of each month. I’d love for you to check it out and link up. Thanks for sharing!


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