Teach your child to read long vowel sound words
My goal here is to provide parents with tips on how to teach their child to recognize and read long vowel sound words. In this step your child will learn to recognize when to say a vowel the long way.
Your child should be reading 3 letter short vowel words and 4-5 letter blends and digraph words with short vowels. See my posts on these here and here. They have been listening to the sounds in these words and have been writing down the sounds as letters.
It is important to keep practicing all of these types of words as you move forward.
Teach your child to identify and read long vowel words
Moving forward you will now teach your child to identify long vowel sounds and then read them. This is done through listening and hearing, reading and writing.
First, there are a myriad of letter combinations that make long vowel sounds. Silent e is, I think, the easiest. The others take some work.
What are long vowel words? A refresher
As a refresher, long vowel sounds are: a as in cake; e as in Pete; i as in bike; o as in poke; and u as in fume or tune. You will notice that the long u has two slightly different sounds depending on how you pronounce it and maybe even depending on which part of the world you are from!
One thing that is different with teaching these words is that they will need to be seen as well as heard. Your child may not be able to sound spell these words as easily as they could with the 3 letter short vowel words or the 4-5 letter blends and digraphs words.
Teach your child to scan words
I try to train my students to scan words to see if there is an e at the end of the word. Then tell their brain to change the vowel sound from a short sound to a long sound. And then not say the final e sound.
How to teach long vowel words
Here’s how I would start teaching long vowels:
- Start with Silent e words. Sometimes called Silent Final e words. Sometimes the e is called a Magic e or a Super e. I call it a Silent e.
- Come up with a nice list of Silent e words. Pull them from books you are reading.
- Write one of the words on a white board with dry erase markers or on paper. I write the words kind of medium sized–about 2-3 inches tall. As you do this, try to write words in blue or black marker but write the vowel in red.
- Explain that when you see an e at the end of a word it is usually a Silent e. Because of that has an important job. Explain that its job is to be silent (ha) and to make the vowel “say its name”.
- After that, draw an arrow from the Silent e pointing to the vowel it changes the sound of and explain that the e makes that vowel “say its name.”
- Now, you should demonstrate how this works by saying the word aloud and going back to draw the arrow from the Silent e to the long vowel. Do this by using a word for each vowel.
- Next, go back and put a dotted x through the Silent e and remind the child that the e doesn’t make a sound
- Keep writing words and demonstrating how the Silent e does its job.
Check for understanding
I have the child read each of the words aloud to me to check for understanding. I correct them as needed.
- For practice making and reading Silent final e words, use a sound board as described in my post on the subject. And you can use magnetic letters. I always put the e in the third box way to the right and keep it there as you work through the words.
- Be sure to tell your child to quickly scan to the end of the word to see if there is an e there. I always assure them their eye will get very quick at doing this, but they need to train it a bit.
- Practice with lists of words for each long vowel. Use magnetic letters on the sound board or write the letters in with dry erase marker.
- Be sure to have your child read each sound as they read the Silent e words. Have them point to the letters as they say the sound and make sure they take a half second to scan for that e at the end of the word.
- Read Silent e words in sentences. Once a child can read different types of words, including sight words, they should be practicing the words by reading them in phrases or sentences. A good source to find sentences and short reading passages chock full of specific types of words is The Literacy Nest website. If you subscribe you sometimes even receive free reading passages.
Coming up shortly: more tips for teaching other types of long vowel sound words and “rule breaker” words
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Check out some of my other posts for more tips on teaching your child to read at home
To get your child ready to learn to read, check out Steps 1 & 2 of my series 10 most important simple steps to teach your child to read Steps 1 & 2.
Teach your child to identify the sounds that make up words by checking out Step 3 of my series.
Step 4 in my series learn how to make a sound board and how to introduce letters to go along with the sounds in words.
Awareness of the world around them helps children when they are learning to read. Find ways to increase your child’s level of awareness in Step 5 of my series.
Learn all about how to teach your child to read simple 3 letter words in Step 6.
Find out how to help your child read and retain sight words in Step 7.
Teach your child to read short vowel letter sound combinations called blends and digraphs in Step 8 of my series in Step 8.
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