Multisensory Monday-Vowel Teams

Multisensory Monday-Vowel Teams

Posted by Brainspring on 6th Jun 2022

Vowel Teams are a combination of two vowels making the long vowel sound. They appear often and early in English vocabulary and are taught as early as Kindergarten for reading. 

Some facts about teaching vowel teams:

    • Phonics First® recognizes six Vowel Teams (ai, ea, oa, ay, ee, oe), although the English language technically has more (ei, ue, etc.)These other variations are recognized as Diphthongs.

    • The mnemonic: “When Vowel Teams go walking, the first one does the talking.”, can be used to remember these sounds. 

    • Phonics First® has a lesson dedicated to each Vowel Team with a Keyword and an activity for that Keyword. The purpose of the activity is to connect the Vowel Team, keyword, and sound. The Keyword is used to retrieve the sound and/or letters.

    • The Vowel Teams in Phonics First® are introduced initially as significantly different sounds (ai, ea, oa). We then loop back and teach alternate spellings for each one. Students, therefore, have the opportunity to practice and master the first spelling for that sound before layering on another.

    • In Syllabication, Vowel Teams are underlined together and connected as a unit. We do not believe Vowel Teams are a single vowel but produce a single vowel sound. If the first “Vowel” on a VCV bridge is a Vowel Team, the dotted line will not move after the consonant. Vowel Teams do not change their sound when the line is moved.

    • Phonics First® lessons will eventually add two more sounds to the ea Vowel Team. One is taught in Layer Four (ea /ĕ/ as in bread) and the other in the Appendix (ea /ā/ as in great). 

    • Once Vowel Teams have been taught, use the Advanced Vowel Intensive to encourage students to rely on the rules of their spelling choices. There are several Advanced Vowel Team activities available in the Members Area.

    • Once Vowel Teams are introduced, they will be practiced in every part of the lesson. Remember to place yellow Vowel Team cards in the middle of the blending board. Never place the short vowel spelling rule cards (-ff, -ll, -ss, -zz, -ck, -tch, -dge) after a Vowel Team in the blending. Also, remove the last white consonant card when practicing -ay, and -oe, which must appear at the end of a word.

    • Dictation is where students will master Vowel Teams. Give students columns headed with Vowel Teams for Dictation Words. Vowel Teams receive one tap in finger-tapping and should be written in the correct column.

    • Remember to practice Vowel Teams often in the Skill Intensive. Provide students with the Vowel Teams which have been taught. Engage them in activities to listen for and react to the correct Vowel Team. (For example: give students two index cards, one with ai and one with ay. Say words with either spelling. When students hear /ā/ at the beginning or in the middle of the word, they hold up the ai card. When heard at the end, they hold up ay.)