Maybe you’ve seen it. You begin reading with your child and the tears begin to flow. Your frustrated child can’t put the sounds together; can’t pronounce the words. It’s understandable. Out of the 26 letters in the alphabet, 5 of them are vowels. Those 5 vowels create 19 different sounds depending on the letter combination used in a given word.
Here are a few things to consider when teaching the short vowel sound:
- Introduce each vowel sound. Here is a video with short vowel sounds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQwQ7FWL4MM
- short /a/ as in bat
- short /e/ as in bet
- short /i/ as in bit
- short /o/ as in bot
- short /u/ as in but
- For each short vowel sound teach a gesture or hand movement to go with it.
- Short A – put your hand under your chin. Remind your student that when you say /ă/ your chin drops. Say, “Short a says, /ă/.”
- Short E – Hold three fingers out horizontally. Say, “Short e says, /ĕ/.”
- Short I – Touch your finger to your nose like you are dotting an i. Say, “Short i says, /ĭ/”.
- Short O – Form your mouth in the shape of an o. Say, “Short o says, /ŏ/”.
- Short U – /ŏ/”.Put your hands together and use your thumbs to form a u. Say, “Short u says /ŭ/”.
Remind students to do these gestures each day when they say the short vowel sounds.
You can also use these gestures when segmenting words for accurate spelling. For example, after you dictate the word rat, the student can say each sound in isolation. /r/ / ă / /t/.
3. The game, Spell Trek, uses visuals for the vowels and reinforces vowel recognition, phonics, and spelling. During this game, players draw vowel tiles and use them to complete words. Scoring is based on the length of the word spelled, with a bonus point for more complex words.
Here is a video tutorial that parent can watch and receive additional tips on how to play Spell Trek as well as how the game can reinforce spelling and phonics.
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