Did you know vowels are the core sounds of the English language? Many languages are consonant-rich and have fewer vowels. English is vowel-rich because … there are so many vowels! The five short vowels are the most commonly used phonemes in English, yet the most challenging to learn. Many children have trouble quickly processing the differences between these tricky vowel sounds, which will make their word attack skills very slow and laborious. Being able to produce, blend and segment vowel phonemes is a decoding prerequisite. Learning the vowel sounds becomes easier when they are taught in isolation with multisensory associations.
The Short Vowel Intensive part of a Phonics First lesson is executed to secure these vowel sounds and therefore help to bring readers to word level automaticity. One of the best vowel intensive activities I have used is the Vowel Tent Drill.
Make it Multisensory …
Each student “pops up” a vowel tent in front of them. Ask students to fold the page horizontally and lay out on their desk, the side with the vowels facing them:
Print out the template here!
The teacher will then call out the three-level vowel intensive:
V (Vowel only)
VC (Vowel Consonant)
CVC (Consonant Vowel Consonant)
Students point, lay candy or a clothespin on the vowel sound they heard. In addition, students use this vowel tent as a reference during dictation or oral reading activities.
Written by Samantha Brooks, MSE, CDP
Samantha Brooks is an Instructor with Brainspring Educator Academy.
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