If you are a kindergarten teacher or parent, you probably know that teaching CVC words is a HUGE kindergarten standard. But you may be asking yourself, “What are CVC words?” or “How do I teach CVC words?” In this blog post, I am going to share what is a CVC word, how to teach CVC words in kindergarten, and hands on CVC word activities your students will love!
What are CVC words?
CVC stands for consonant + vowel + consonant. These are words that are easily decodable for beginning readers because each letter generally makes it’s most common sound. Examples of CVC words include cat, dog, sun, hen, and pig.
Why should you teach CVC words?
CVC words are easily decodable for kindergarten students. Students are able to say each letter sound and blend them together to read the word.
A big component of reading success is strong phonemic awareness skills. Students need to be able to segment and blend sounds in order to read. Before we ever start writing and reading words, my kindergarten students are practice segmenting and blending orally.
Sound boxes are a great tool to help students begin segmenting and blending words orally. Students can push counters up into the sound boxes as they say each sound and then blend the sounds together to say the word.
Once students learn to decode CVC words, they will be able to move on to more advanced phonics skills such as digraphs and blends, CVCe (silent e words), long vowel patterns, and more. However, if your students struggle with decoding CVC words, they will struggle with these skills as well.
How to Teach CVC Words in Kindergarten
When I introduce CVC words in Kindergarten, I tell my students that there is a secret recipe for these special words! Our consonants are like the cookies of an Oreo, while our vowels are like the middle cream – they glue the word together!
If you put the cream on the outside, the cookie wouldn’t stay together. You could even let students experience this first hand by having them try icing a cookie and then having them try sticking another cookie first to the dry side and then to the iced side.
Teaching Short Vowels in Kindergarten
When I teach my kindergarteners about CVC words, I like to spend a week on each short vowel. Vowels are the glue that hold our words together, so it’s important that students really know their vowel sounds.
Our vowel friends help us remember each vowel sound. They match each vowel’s alphabet motion and give it a funny story to help students build a connection.
A is always scared. When vowel a is stuck between two consonants, it says /a/! E is an elephant. When it is stuck between two letters, it raises its trunk and says /e/. I feels ill when it’s in the middle so it says /i/. O likes to show off so it sings opera /o/. U is always confused and saying /u/.
All week we practice decoding and writing these CVC words. This doesn’t have to be complicated! We usually practice together first. I have each student grab a white board. Then, I give them a word to segment and then write on their board. At first, I may help them stretch out that word. Then I model the same process on the board so that they can check their answer.
Students complete a lot of activities to practice writing and reading CVC words including CVC worksheets:
They also practice writing CVC words in emergent readers. These go in their book boxes so that they can read them during independent reading time.
Students also practice with decodable readers. Decodable readers allow students to practice their emerging decoding skills in context. Decodable readers are super important for building strong readers!
After we spend a week on each vowel, we spend time working with mixed vowels. Now that students are comfortable with decoding words, they can really practice identifying and differentiating between the short vowel sounds in these words.
Students get to earn a CVC word expert badge and certificate at the end of our unit! Now they can teach others what a CVC word is!
CVC Word Activities for Kindergarten
During this phonics unit and beyond, my kindergarteners will practice reading and writing CVC words during literacy centers. I like to have multiple hands on CVC word center options for them to choose from.
This blog post is full of CVC word center ideas, but here are some of my favorites!
Read and Cover a Match is one of our all time favorite CVC word centers for Kindergarten. Students match colored counters to the correct words on their mat.
Roll, Build and Write is a great activity for practicing stretching out and writing words. This center is chosen over and over again in my classroom!
Rainbow Write and Match is a great no prep center option (because sometimes you just need no prep, ya know?). Students will decode each word, match the pictures, and then rainbow write the words.
Are You Teaching CVC Words?
Let me help you teach CVC words! My Little Readers Phonics curriculum has your ENTIRE year of phonics lessons already planned out. These units are hands on, routine, developmentally appropriate, and effective.