One of my favorite things about teaching kindergarten is watching my students grow as readers! From learning their letter sounds to being able to blend sounds together, making the transition from letters sounds to reading words is a huge accomplishment for your litter readers. The easiest way to teach your students to bridge letter sounds into words is by teaching CVC words.
What is a CVC Word?
A CVC word is a word made up of 3 letters: a consonant, a vowel, and another consonant. Cat, fix, and sun are all examples of CVC words. These are words that follow simple phonics rules, meaning each letter makes its sound.
Teaching CVC words is the easiest way to begin teaching your students to read. Since the words follow phonics rules, as long as your students have a strong phonemic awareness (understanding that each letter makes a sound), they can read! CVC words give children confidence and make them feel like they are making strides towards being a reader. The best news for teachers is that CVC words can be fun to teach!
We have put together a few fun ways to help with teaching CVC words to your kids.
CVC Words Puzzles
When we say puzzles, we don’t mean your traditional jigsaw puzzles. There are lots of different ways to make puzzles that kids can put together or build CVC words. Some fun ideas we have used include writing letters on blocks and having kids build the words with blocks.
There are also some fun puzzles with pictures involved as well. The students will match the puzzle pieces to make a picture, then use their knowledge of sounds to read the word. In this example, they put the puzzle together to complete the picture of a cat. One piece of the puzzle has the letter c on it, and the other piece has “at” on it. When they put the puzzle together, they form the word “cat”.
These are an excellent way for beginning reader to understand the idea of blending sounds. You can find these puzzles in my Super CVC Words Activities; it has a ton of centers to help you teach CVC words.
Hands on Learning
There is no question that young kids would prefer to get their hands dirty than sit at a desk with a pencil and paper. The tactile learning just sticks a little better. #punintended 😉
One way to encourage hands on learning is by giving kids play dough to use. These CVC play-doh mats allow your students to form the letters of each word using play doh. After they form each letter, they can practice reading and writing the word. Play-doh is so easy to use, fairly easy to clean up, and it encourages learning in a different way.
Another idea is to fill a cookie sheet with salt or sand. Use some CVC flashcards and let your students practice writing the words in the sand. After they read the word, they can shake the sides of the tray a bit and the word disappears.
This is a great way to bring sensory play into the classroom. We have also seen rice, cornstarch, and flour used to create sensory bins. See what you have on hand and what works best with your kiddos!
CVC Words Games
We don’t have to tell you how excited kids get when it comes to playing games. One engaging game that works for teaching CVC words is giving a student (we recommend doing this in a group) a card with a letter on it. The teacher can say a CVC word or hold up a picture for the students to see. For example, if the teacher says “bat” the students holding the “b”, “a”, and “t” will come up to the front of the room and spell out the word bat.
Another fun idea is to give your students cards with each vowel on it. Then say a CVC word and have your students hold up the card to show the vowel in the word. You can also give each students one vowel card and say “if you have the vowel in the word “bed”, come stand over here”. These games incorporate several different learning modalities which is helpful when teaching your kindergartners.
Your students can practice reading and building CVC words with these digital task cards. After reading the CVC word, they will drag the magnet letters to each box to build the word. Then they will choose the correct image at the bottom. Then they can press the checkmark that says “submit” to check their answers.
Teaching with Art
Incorporating art into the classroom is a great way to help concepts sink in. Luckily a lot of CVC words are simple objects where you can easily find coloring pages, or you can even have your kids draw their own.
One idea is to make a word wall for CVC words. Each kid chooses a word to draw. Then they write the word below their picture and you can hang it on the word wall. Having these words hanging in the classroom will help all little readers develop some confidence in their ability to read CVC words and give them ownership over their classroom.
Try to make CVC practice fun and engaging so your students love to learn!