We all know how desperately our struggling readers need to work on vowel sounds. Adding a Vowel Intensive activity to your phonics lesson can give students the practice they need to master these challenging sounds.
Here is an activity that my students repeatedly ask for!
Make it Multisensory
Make a simple Twister-style game board from paper and circles or bits of colored paper. Write a vowel in each circle as shown.
Using index cards or small squares of paper, create 3 piles with five cards in each. For the first pile, write a single vowel on each card: a, e, i, o, u. In the second pile, write a “finger name” on each card: thumb, pointer, middle, ring, pinkie. On the third pile, write a color on each card: red, orange, yellow, green, blue (these colors should match the colors on the game board you made).
To play, place each pile of cards face-down. Draw from the first pile and say the vowel sound (not letter name) on the card. Then draw from the second card pile and say the finger name listed on the card. Finally, draw from the third pile and say the color listed on the card. The student responds by putting a certain finger on a certain color with the matching vowel sound. (Although the photo shows the cards, do not show the student the cards. This activity is to help students develop rapid sound discrimination of short vowels. The photo shows the cards to illustrate what the teacher says and how the student responds.) If the teacher draws the short A sound, the thumb card, and the red card, the student puts his or her thumb on the red A on the Twister board.
The student should leave his or her fingers on the spaces, creating a stretching or twisting finger game. Once the teacher has drawn all of the cards, shuffle and repeat. It is fun to see students trying to keep four fingers in place and moving another finger to a new location. My students often end the game in a fit of laughter.
Written by Tammi Brandon, M.Ed., CDP
Tammi Brandon is a Master Instructor and Education Consultant with Brainspring Educator Academy.