Short Vowel Activities

February 18, 2018

CVC words are some of the first words we teach our students to blend together to read!

It is a very difficult thing to learn as our students take their knowledge of letter sounds and go on to learn how to read. I find by the time my students make it to my first grade classroom it is the medial short vowel that is still tricking them. I want my students to be able to hear the difference between the medial vowels as well as read CVC words with different short vowels.


To help my students practice these skills, I created a bunch of different activities for all the short vowels. I thought I would share some of them with you:

Short Vowel Sorts:

Sorts are some of the first activities my students do. For each vowel I have two different sorts. One that differentiates between the medial vowel (as shown above – a or e?) and the other is a nonsense vs. real word sort with letters for students to decode.


Short Vowel Passages:

Decodable passages are my favorite! They are great for fluency as we read and re-read them quite a few times. For each vowel, I created two different passages. One is a fun, short vowel passage, while the other includes a visualization box to extend their learning. As shown above, students now only need to decode the passage, but they need to show their understanding of what they read by drawing an illustration that matches the text.


I like to use these CVC word and picture cards to play the whole group game, Mix-&-Match. I shuffle up the cards and each student gets one card (either a CVC word or a picture). Students mix around the room and try to find the classmate who has their match. Once everyone has found their match, we check them, shuffle, and play again! This is a nice fast warm up or review game for my students! I have these cards for each short vowel.


This is one of my favorite small group games, called Showdown! For this game, each student gets the word family cards (an, ag, at show above) and the group gets a pile of CVC words. One student will start as the leader and choose a word and read it aloud to the group (ex: van). Students will have to listen to the word and decide which word family it belongs to. On the count of “1, 2, 3, SHOWDOWN!” they will show the leader the word family card they think “van” belongs to and the leader will check if they are correct. Then, in a clockwise motion, the next student becomes the leader and chooses another CVC card from the pile to read. I love this game because students are practicing both reading and listening to those CVC word families that they will see so often in their books. Again, I have these cards for each short vowel with different word families!



Lastly, I have some practice printables for each short vowel if you want to send them home for homework practice or put them at centers for a quick assessment to check in on your students’ learning and application of what they’ve learned!


You can find ALL these games and activities in my short vowel activities unit below:


All these centers and games are also included in my phonics games bundle for a discounted price:


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  • hello Susan
    just want to say Thank you very much because I am learning a lot from you youtube videos and your worksheets helps me lot..I am truly amaze on how you do all these things.
    More power. God bless you