Activities and Ideas for Teaching Long Vowel Sounds
Long vowel sounds can be a point of struggle for many young readers. While short vowel sounds are relatively straightforward and spelled the same each time, long vowel sounds are more complex.
There are several ways to make each of the long vowel sounds.
For example, a long a can be spelled with: a_e, ai, ay, ey!
And there is always an exception to the rule. While adding a “silent e” to the end of a CVC word generally makes the vowel long, that is not the case for e.
Mastering long vowel sound decoding is essential to building a strong reading foundation. Young readers will need this skill in later years when they are decoding and learning new, more complex words. For this reason, spending the time needed to make sure your young reader (or struggling reader) masters this skill is definitely worth it.
My first grader wasn’t interested in reading last year, so we didn’t really push it. And, she has a very low frustration level, so I tend to wait on skills that are especially hard for her to keep her school experience a positive one.
Well, fast forward to first grade and she just started memorizing words and reading up a storm. This is fine because reading is essentially memorizing thousands of words and being able to recall them instantly. But, she also needs to be able to sound out new words she encounters, so she can expand her vocabulary.
Since she kind of learned to read backwards, we are going back and reviewing (or learning for the first time) some phonics and spelling rules. She already had a good grasp on her consonant sounds, blends, and short vowels. Reading long vowels isn’t really a problem for her, but sounding them out to spell them on her own is.
To help her practice, I decided to make some activities to practice her long vowel words.
Finish the Word: Long Vowel Sounds
The first activity I want to share is my Finish the Word worksheet. It is just a simple worksheet with pictures on it. Each picture has a long vowel sound and I have left those letters out of the spelling below the word. The young reader, or writer in this case, must fill in the missing letters to spell the word pictured above it.
Here is a peek at the first page (there are two pages in the download):
Related Post:Sort-A-Scene: Long Vowels and Dipthongs
Long Vowel Bookmarks
I have to give my daughter credit for this one, she came up with it all on her own. I had created another long vowel activity when she said “Now, I’m going to make an activity, Mom.” And away she went.
What she came up with was actually great! Here is a shot of the original version (her cutting and color coding, my word lists):
When she showed it to me, I was amazed. Such a fantastic, simple idea! I told her I was going to create a blog post and product from it and she got all excited. So, you can simply make your own lists. Or, if you’re strapped for time and don’t feel like thinking up all the words that have long vowels, you can print out my lists!
The activity itself is very simple. Students look at each list. At the top is one of the vowels (for example, long a). Next, the student reads down through the list and highlights the words that have that long vowel sound. My daughter wanted to use a different color for each vowel because….more colors equals more fun in our house!
Here is a peek at my pre-printed lists (there are four sets of lists in the download):
Long Vowel Poster Set
I think reference materials are so important for young learners. Seeing the information about which they are learning helps to ingrain it into their brain. I also like to gently teach my daughter to find answers for herself instead of just asking me all the time. These long vowel posters are great for kids to be able to look at them and see all of their options for a particular vowel sound.
I created full page versions and half-page versions, so just print the pages you prefer.
Here is a peek:
More Free Long Vowel Resources
Whenever I come across a great resource, I love to share it with my readers. Here are some other resources and blog posts that might help you if you are working on reading with your child.
Free long vowel products from Teachers Pay Teachers.
This Reading Mama always has great printables and her long vowel sounds printables are no exception.
The All About Learning Press blog has some great spelling resources and a free printable vowel combinations chart.
Have you tried one of these activities? I’d love to hear how it went in the comments below!