Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Must Have Short Vowel Word Family Games

I absolutely love playing games to learn each short vowel word family to make reading a breeze!

If you are looking for a way to make your kids EXCITED to sound out words, this is for you!

This center game is one of my favorites because each word is a mystery.... and kids love to be detectives!

Short vowel word family games

Secret Words!

I've been talking about how I love these for years, but these are extra exciting to me because they can be used for even the youngest of readers. Both homeschooling parents and teachers tell me how much their kids love these and don't even realize they're reading, which I absolutely love to hear. 

The way they work is...

A kid takes card and looks at the first picture and figures out its beginning sound. For example, if it's a picture of a butterfly, they know it's the /b/ sound so it starts with a letter B! So they put a b on their card. They do this for each picture to figure out the secret word!

Secret Words activity where kids look at the beginning sound for each picture to figure out the letter and reveal the mystery! These are specifically for short vowels but they come for a ton of phonics skills!

So, not only is it A LOT of reading and blending words, but it also gets in a ton of beginning sounds practice. Even up to first grade, I think it's important to constantly be enforcing the beginning sounds of words to create strong readers.

I specifically made these to practice each word family so I have MANY cards!

You can only practice VC and CVC words if you want to keep it super easy for really early readers...

an word family activity that she shows for all the short vowel families! Such fun and engaging games for learning to read!

... or you can also throw in some CCVC words to challenge your reader! 

ap word family reading practice that looks like a game! Perfect for kindergarten, first grade, and even preschool kids to build their fluency skills by being detectives! The beginning sound for each picture will reveal each letter to solve the mystery!

See how they are still practicing the -ap family but with a consonant blend (clap) at the beginning? This is a fun way to challenge students that are ready.

You can also start with the easier ones then build up to the harder ones and do them later. I wanted to provide a lot of options so you could use these with any age.

Short A Word Families

Each vowel is its own set and has sets within it!

For example, I included 7 families in the short A set:
-ab, -ad, -ag, -am, -an, -ap, -at

I made TEN words from each family
so there are 70 word cards total... and that's just for A!

I just absolutely love having so many cards for each so that you can do an entire center of JUST -am words. You can put the 10 -am cards in a bag or bucket and that's an entire center!

am word family centers activities and so many more amazing teaching short vowel ideas

You could do that for each of the families to create 7 separate centers just for short A. That is SO. MUCH. READING. PRACTICE. eeee! I love it! 

It's such a confidence boost for a kid to be able to sit down and read TEN words with ease because they all sound similar. Doing this with each of the 7 sets would build a ton of reading fluency and confidence that is simply priceless. Keeping that love for reading is so important to me and I think making it fun and easy-seeming is such a big key to that!

If you want these, all of the short A cards are in the:

There's a bundle of all the sets I am going to show you here:
If you know you want them all - every single thing I show in this article will be in that bundle :)

Normally I wait until the end-ish of an article to tell you where you can get the examples I use because my focus is on sharing my ideas, but I know people are SO busy right now trying to figure out the school year, so I wanted to let you be able to stop here if you don't want to listen to me continue to ramble and show pictures. If you follow along, you know I love to ramble and show a ridiculous amount of picture examples in my posts. I'm a visual person so I feel like it helps me express my ideas. :)

I do have some fun teaching ideas to share for these, though, so if you do get them, I recommend coming back and at least scroll the pictures to find some more fun ways to use them!

One fun idea I'll share with you really quick is - using a magnetic cooking tray of some kind to build the words on!

Word building activities kindergarten kids absolutely love because they are a mystery! Student look at the beginning sound for each picture to determine the letter and solve the secret! Fun!

If you have any magnetic cooking trays in your kitchen, you can have kids build the words on them! I've shown this with the small rectangular ones I have before, but the cool thing about a round bowl shaped one is you can put the word cards AND magnet letters inside the bowl for storage too!

Then, kids can simply grab the bowl with all the center contents in it already, take it to their seat, and flip it over to use it as a little table to build the words on. If you have multiple bowls, each filled with different center cards, you have a bunch of centers prepped and ready to be used at any time. How cute is that??

Tricky Short E Centers

The short E sound is one of the toughest sounds for young learners! It sounds a lot like the Short I sound to some kids... and the words simply aren't as exciting to kids for some reason. I personally think E should be taught after O and I, but that is up to you!

That's why I think it's so important to have fun centers for it like these secret words activities and the CVC Word Family Rolls I blogged about last week. Fun and bright practice materials are key!

CVC words kindergarten

Seeing that cute little whale and putting a W under it all of a sudden makes reading Short E words a lot more engaging.

The list of Short E word families included is:
-ed, -eg, -en, -et

There aren't as many short E words that kids can read and illustrative pictures exist for, so there are only 30 words in this set but that is still a ton of practice. & Honestly, once you get to E, they are so much better at blending since you've probably already done a lot of short A, I, and O words before starting on E so I think it's more important to have a lot more word examples for those 3 first.

All of these are in the bundle and in a smaller pack here:
SECRET WORDS Short E Word Families Centers

Word Families: Short I

List of short I word families:
-ib, -id, -ig, -im, -in, -ip, -it

Each set in the SECRET WORDS Short I Word Families Centers has 10 words except -ib that has 4 since there aren't as many :) That makes for 64 different words in that set!

I love short I! For some reason, these words seem to click with kids. Maybe because they've already done a lot of blending practice with A and the /i/ sound just seems easier to say for some reason. The CVC words seem "sharp" if that makes sense (zip, fin, kid) so kids seem to read them more confidently than other sounds.

Short i word families games and activities

See what I mean? tip zip sip... they're simply fun to say for kids :)

The fact that they are doing these cards BY family will really help build their confidence in reading and blending the words. Since the words technically rhyme, they find it way easier to determine the mystery when the word sounds so similar to the one they just read.

Here's a great example of how you can use these to stretch a reader into blending harder words:

Short i activities kindergarten students can do! These even practice beginning sounds for a ton of reading practice! Kids look at each picture to determine what alphabet letter it starts with, then continue to reveal the mystery!

In this example, they've already read "sit" and "pit" and now they are reading "spit" which is so similar. Normally, it would appear to be a much more difficult consonant blend. However, since they had the scaffolding of the first 2 words, the word actually seems easy now! The beauty of word families :)

Short O Word Families

List of short O word families:
-ob, -og, -op, -ot

Each word family in the SECRET WORDS Short O Word Families Centers pack has 10 words, except -ot which has 11! This allows you to make each word family its own center if you want!

Short O word families are so much fun with these Secret Word games where kids look at each beginning sound to solve the mystery phonics puzzle!

How cute is that little otter? :)

and, of course, Short U word family games!

Short u word families fun! Check out these adorable activities where kids look at the beginning sound of each picture to figure out the mystery CVC!

Short U is a fun one. By the time you get to U, they've had a lot of blending practice so it seems to be a lot easier.

This is a fun time to mix the sets to create a review that is all the U sound. I actually recommend doing that for all of the vowels after you do all of the sets for that vowel. For example, once you do each of the 7 short A sets, grab 10-15 of them from the sets to mix into a Short A review center. Since there are so many cards, you could even do 3 or 4 rounds of review if you wanted to.

Short u activities to practice and review CVC words in such a fun way!

You can also make 3-4 mixed sets and put them in buckets or bags that kids can grab any time to review. This makes an amazing early finisher activity for kids who finish their work early and are looking for something fun to do.

I recommend doing that for any center you have, even if you're a parent teaching at home. You'd be surprised how kids will grab a game they've already done to work on during their "play time"! Especially if it's been awhile since they've done it.

I suspect it's also fun for them to go back and do a short A review set after they've done e, i, o and see how easy the A words seem now :)

So excited to share these with you!
SECRET WORDS Short U Word Families Centers

If you want ALL of the Short Vowel Word Family cards (including all the ones I showed here), you can grab them in the SECRET WORDS BIG BUNDLE of Short Vowels Word Families Centers!

I hope you enjoyed this post! 

If you enjoyed this, check out my Big Organized List of Miss Giraffe Blog Posts and look around! I always try to share fun ideas with lots of pictures. I have a lot more CVC and short vowel ideas (my giant Teaching Short A post, for example, as well as fun math and classroom management ideas!)

Thank you for reading! Definitely come back if you want to see more of these activities as I add to this post. You can also fill out this quick form (please make sure to check the box) to join Miss Giraffe's Class to receive fun emails from me so we can keep in touch! :)


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