Reading CVC Words – How to Teach

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CVC words refer to those words with a beginning consonant sound, a medial short vowel sound, and a final consonant sound. Examples include cat or huff. Do you have students who guess when reading CVC words based on the first letter? Or, do you have students stuck at the blending stage, but they are not yet automatic with reading CVC words? I know it can be frustrating for you and your students! Getting young minds to spell and read CVC words with confidence is a crucial step in the literacy journey. And I have got you covered! Here is a hands-on guide packed with activities to ensure your students don’t just guess but truly understand the magic of reading CVC words.

1. Phonemic Awareness Activities

Before you even show your students letters, start with engaging phonemic awareness exercises to lay a strong foundation. Use activities like “How Many Sounds,” where students identify the beginning, middle, and ending sounds in CVC words. Incorporate playful manipulatives to engage students in the segmenting of sounds.

Phonemic Segmentation with Phoneme Cards for CVC Words

2. Linking Phonemic Awareness to Phonics

Once you have worked at the phonemic level, start to link the sounds (phonemes) in CVC words to the letters (graphemes) that represent those sounds. Students can play a matching game where they match a picture card to the corresponding CVC word. Students must still attend to each phoneme in the word in order to match it correctly to the written word.

Including the picture matching helps the students not only secure the reading of CVC words, but also secure the meaning of the CVC words. We want to provide opportunities for students to read, spell, and use these words so they will be able to store them in their long-term memory.

3. Blending Deck of CVC Cards

Create a blending deck with flashcards featuring CVC words. Add consonants to the pile in the beginning position, vowels in the center pile, and ending consonants in the final position. Encourage students to touch each card as they say aloud the sound. Then blend the sounds together while tracking underneath the cards. This tactile approach ensures they grasp the concept of blending and attend to each letter-sound.

Blending Binder CVC words
Blending Binder
Blending Slides Digital CVC words
Blending Sounds Slides

4. Word Families Exploration

Some students are not ready for CVC blending. Spending time with word families is an excellent scaffold to help them isolate, segment, and blend the onset and rime units of word families. Provide opportunities for students to make connections between words in a specific word family like -ag, -ab, or -at. Students will notice patterns between words making it easier to decode new words.

5. Magic Squares Challenge

Turn CVC learning into a puzzle game with Magic Squares. Use a grid with a central short vowel surrounded by letters. Students tap one letter for the beginning position of a CVC word, then they tap the center vowel, and then tap a final letter for the ending position. They combine all the sounds and spell the words below. This simple but effective activity builds the orthographic patterns found in CVC words and did I mention your students will LOVE it?!

CVC words with Magic Squares Spelling

**As an added bonus for this activity, ask your students to sort the words they spell by “real” and “nonsense” words. What a great way to weave in vocabular knowledge with their phonics learning!

6. Reading Games Galore

Incorporate games that make CVC practice enjoyable. After you explicitly teach the concept, have your students practice the skill with a game! Board games, bingo, or interactive online games centered around CVC words can turn a regular lesson into an engaging session. The key is to make learning feel like a game, keeping students eager to participate.

7. Decodable Books and Readers

Provide decodable readers that exclusively feature CVC words. Gradually increase the complexity as students progress. This ensures they practice reading in context while reinforcing the decoding skills they’ve acquired. Consider creating personalized passages based on students’ interests for added engagement.

Decodable books and decodable stories can offer more than only their focused phonics concept like reading CVC words. If you choose the right decodables like the ones below, you can also weave in reading comprehension, writing, vocabulary, and grammar. What a time saver for you and a comprehensive, science of reading approach for your students!

Teaching CVC words successfully involves a blend of phonemic awareness, hands-on activities, and interactive games. By making the learning process enjoyable, you’re not just teaching students to read and spell CVC words ā€” you’re instilling a love for language. Keep it fun, keep it interactive, and watch as your students confidently navigate the world of CVC words!

Word Mapping and reading CVC words
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