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How to Teach CVC Words to Children with activities and games.

CVC Words are your children’s first step into becoming an independent reader. They are the next step on from the initial sounds and the step before digraphs and long vowel sounds. This step is a big one and looking at how to teach CVC words is definitely worth a teachers or parents time.

Using varied phonics activities and approaches to teach CVC words will achieve the best results. Games, activities, songs, rhymes and chants as well as online CVC games all engage and motivate students and teach them the rules on how to construct a consonant vowel consonant word.

Just a quick overview of CVC words before we learn how to teach them. When students are ready to progress, why it is important and then we will offer some of the best ways we have found to teach CVC Words both in your homes and your classrooms.

We have freebies and premium items all through the post to help.

IF you know all of this you can jump right to the activities by following the link here. There are 10 here and we have plenty more on the site for free and in the shop for a few dollars.

What are CVC words

CVC words are some of the simplest phonetic words in English. We do have smaller words like a, at, in , on, go etc. but for teaching purposes I prefer to give students more options to make words and simple sentences and CVC words can do this.

They are simply words that begin with a consonant followed by a short vowel sound and then end with a consonant. They are simple as they always are made like this and contain no other phonics rules. This is why we start with these for emergent readers. We have some examples below to get you started.

Examples of CVC words

Short Vowel ”a” CVC WordsShort Vowel ”e” CVC WordsShort Vowel ”i” CVC WordsShort Vowel ”o” CVC WordsShort Vowel ”u’ CVC Words

When Should You Teach CVC Words to Children

teach CVC words

Teaching these first words is not something you can just just into with your children, there are skills to learn and steps to follow first. When, as in what age this should happen you can read about here as there are some important issues to consider first.

However before parents and teachers try to teach CVC word construction to your children it is important that they are aware of short vowel sounds, and some consonant sounds. The more of these consonant sounds they can learn the better so they can have a greater range of words to construct.

There are phonics systems that work with this aim in mind specifically. Jolly Phonics for example teaching the sounds in a specific order.

Jolly Phonics Phonics Sounds Order.

  • s, a, t, i, p, n
  • c, k r, h, r, m, d
  • g, o, u, l, f, b
  • ai, j, oa, ie, ee, or
  • z, w, ng, v, oo, oo
  • y, x, ch, sh, th, th
  • qu, ou, oi, ue, er, ar

As you can see the first set give students the chance to sound out CVC words, sat, pin, pat, tap, pit, sit, map, sap and more. They can do this from an early stage.

If they are not quite ready to put three sounds together then it is perfectly fine to try using two. We actually have a name for these.

They are called onset and rime, or minimal pairs. the onset being the first sound and the rime being the short vowel and the consonant. (be aware a minimal pair is a word that has one sound changed so the list above included longer words as well) If you practice these small words it wont be long till you are ready to teach CVC words

Why are CVC words important?

Such small words, but never judge anything from its size! These CVC words are the stepping stone for students to be able to decode and construct phonics words. With their simple and repetitive structure they are the perfect opportunity for emergent readers to proactive blending those individual sounds into actual words.

Now i know this sounds easy, but it is a huge jump for them and provides real evidence of progress. No longer are they parroting sounds, but now they are applying a skill to a problem and finding a solution. This is awesome and of all things I teach in the classroom the teaching of my students to decode words like this is my favorite. It shows me they are learning and applying skills and not just vocabulary!

Of all things I teach in the classroom the teaching of my students to decode words is my favorite. It shows me they are actually learning and applying Phonics skills!

Marc Ford

Activities to Teach CVC Words

There are hundreds of ways to teach CVC words, and we have resources all over our site to help both teachers and parents. We will highlight some of those here, and point to other resources as well. As there are so many we also have a post of the best ones we use and have found but here we will list two of ours under each section. .

1) CVC Worksheets to Teach CVC words.

The traditional Phonics worksheet, there are certainly more fun ways to teach and test students knowledge of CVC words but sometimes to consolidate knowledge we just need them. We have hundreds, and hundreds of CVC, and other, phonics worksheets on our site. Two that we use the most are the CVC Word Families selection and our coloring worksheets. These are great ways to teach CVC words.

CVC Word Families Worksheets
CVC Worksheet

We actually have these worksheets in two sets of five for both CVC words and for Digraphs. They have five activities on each worksheet to help with recognition and with blending. You can see them here for free download of for a dollar on the shop if you want to change them a little.

CVC and Short Vowel coloring
Free Short Vowel Colouring CVC Phonics worksheets

This is a coloring sheet with a difference. Your children have to find all the CVC words ( by their short vowel sound) and color the correct color. All the animals in the picture have the same short vowel sound in them as you can see. they are very popular when we teach CVC words.

So fox has short /o/ words and cat has short /a/ words. This is great way to start to look at vowel sounds. For the background we have even added words with long vowels if you want to approach those with your children as well. There is a single version of the picture for free, and if you want the big coloring page and the five individual animals so you can work on the sounds individually it is you can click the picture above

2) CVC Printable Board Games

Board games are a great way to allow children to both learn and practice phonics and CVC decoding. It takes the pressure off working in a whole class environment and allows them to interact and practice language with their friends or classmates. We have two examples of our below for you to check out. Board games in classrooms are a great way to teach CVC words.

Soundopoly Phonics and CVC Words Board Games
Phonics board game

We made this to add some fun into learning. It is based on a monopoly type game where you have to go around the board and gain points ( instead of money) by saying the words when you land on them. We actually have three versions of this and (for the moment) have it editable in the shop as well. The three versions are CVC Words and CCVC words (more on those later) and onset and rimes for learners who are not quite ready to tackle CVC words.

You can get it free by clicking the picture, or check out the paid version if you want to support (and edit the gameboard) here.

Connect Four CVC Words and Board Games
Connect Four Phonics

The CVC Words Connect Four game is one of our most popular games. Perfect for homes and classrooms and it actually has five versions of the game, each covering a different phonics skills, Sounds, Onset and rime, CVC words, Magic E and more.

You can play with one students or as a pair. You just have to role a dice, find and say the word and cover it up in your color. First to get four in a row is the winner! Our students love to play this and we keep it as a recess game to play as well. it can be played as often as you like and is a lovely way to teach CVC words.

It is free to download if you click the picture and there is a premium (editable version) in the shop as well.

3) CVC Online Games to Teach CVC Words.

Online game are an increasingly popular way to teach CVC words. Although they do require access to technology. We have made a few of these for free to play which you can check out below.

Word Hop and Pop

We have this game online for classrooms and computers. It is actually two games in one and covers more than just CVC words. However for listening exercises it is great. children just have to listen to the sound of the word and jump to the correct cloud. They have to race against the other 2 birds to be the winner. We have it on our site and it is free to play 🙂 Just click here or the picture. If you want to take a look we have a video of it here.

CVC Blitz

This is an older game but really popular in kindergarten and grade one. It is three games in one. A matching game to help with vocabulary, a scramble game to help with spelling and a quiz ( turn the volume up though) You can play the CVC word game by clicking here or on the picture. We even have a video to check out here.

4) CVC Word Activities and Resources.

These are our collections to help emergent readers. We have 7 of these but these two are the best suited to teaching and practicing CVC and Short Vowel words and sounds. We have put together the best of our resources in one huge workbook each has over 50 worksheets, games and activities. This is the definitive guide for both parents and classrooms and we are confident it will be a great resource for you and your children on their reading journey.

CVC Phonics Reading Skills – Sounds and CVC Words
Phonics and reading skills Workbook

This Phonics and CVC Workbook offers students the chance to practice using multi intelligence methods and includes  a large selection of CVC activities  to help practice and master blending of simple words and phrases. We have also included the option to color some of these pages to help children and students take ownership of them.

Reading Comprehension Kindergarten to Grade 1 – Short Stories
Kindergarten comprehension readers

Phonics and Topic themed readers designed for younger readers. We include a large selection of CVC readers to help practice and master blending of simple words and phrases. It also moves on to simple topics like parties, space and dinosaurs. We have also included the option to color some of these pages to help children and students take ownership of them.

Though these cost 8.99 each we actually have an ongoing offer of buy one get one for 1 dollar! so you can get both together for 9.99 instead.

Just check here for that!

5) Using CVC Flash Cards to Teach CVC words

These are easily downloadable, but easier to get worn out, we sue to make our own every year and use them in the class. However there are great and cheap options now, with the added bonus of having little games and activities included in them. These are a selection of ones we recommend and then two that we have in our classroom.

CVC Toolbox

This is actually a game and flashcards. However it is one of the few that actually teaching word blending and allows students to actually get their hands involved in construction words. We have a couple of sets of these in the classroom and they are very popular, including at break time!

Three letter word puzzles.

These are the ones we were talking about above. We used to make these but they get worn out through the course of the year so we invested in some more robust ones. The student has to listen to the word and then try to match the sounds with picture and spell the CVC word correctly. This set actually covers more than just CVC and has words like Bee in it so has a little more longevity than other sets.

6) CVC Classroom Resources (and for home)

CVC Generator and Maker.

This is a great resource for testing and checking your children’s CVC and decoding knowledge, and the best thing is it is free and without adverts. (its ours) we have it online so you can use it on computer in your home or at the front of the class on the white board. It is Super Simple so suitable even for very young learners.

All you do is press the green button and the app goes through and makes a CVC word. We have made sure it can ONLY make CVC words, then the student tried to blend the sounds together to say the word. It has really and nonsense words in there so you can really know if they are using their memory or skills to say the word. We use this in our classrooms all the time, and 500,000 other people around the word use it as well.

CVC Word Bingo
Phonics Bingo

How can we not include a game of bingo! These are free sets of 16 different bingo cards for you to play at home or with your class. Great to test both their listening and reading skills and of course you can have little treats for the winners as well! We actually have four sets of these on the site as well. covering Magic E and Sounds as well. so if you want to move forward or need to go back to sounds we have you covered.

Just need to download here and print.

Final Thoughts

As we mentioned teaching students to use these CVC reading skills is our favorite thing to do in the school year. They show real progress and start to understand that they can actually use their skills rather than rely on a teacher to be the source of information.

Its their first step into a wider world and its great to watch them take it. The resources above will help but we have hundreds more on the site so feel free to explore with your children and find activities games and tasks that work for you.

Enjoy the journey!

About Making English Funn

Hi I’m Marc. A teacher of over 15 years, English, General Studies and Outdoor Education. Thought it was about time to sharing both what I have learnt during that time and the resources I have put together. On this site we aim to teach the theory and share our thoughts, but also go that one step further and give you access to the hard resources you need for your class or for you children

I have been a teacher of English for over 15 years, in that time i made hundreds and thousands of resources and learnt so much i think its worth sharing. Hopefully to help teachers and parents around the world.

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