CVC words or consonant-vowel-consonant words are some of the first words we teach new readers and spellers. These words are generally easier to segment and blend, and students develop skills that help them with more complex phonemes and words.
CVC words are not created equal. You can help your developing readers by choosing the order in which to teach phonemes and CVC words. You can also support young readers by explicitly teaching and providing plenty of practice for blending, segmenting, and manipulating sounds.
Your guide to teaching CVC words
Let’s look at common questions about teaching CVC words and the best resources to support you in teaching CVC words (including done for you CVC word activities!)
How do I know which words to teach when?
Having a phonics scope and sequence takes the guesswork out of what to teach when. When deciding which words to teach, we really start by thinking about the order of phonemes to teach. Rather than go through the alphabet letter by letter, we start with SATPIN. These are the first six letters in most phonics programs. These letters allow students to create a large number of words. And some of the sounds are continuous. That means they can be held, which helps students just learning to practice segmenting and blending sounds.
Some common SATPIN words include nap, nip, pan, pat, pin, pit, sap, sit, sip, sit, tap, and tip Check out these ideas for teaching SATPIN words.
Get clear on how to introduce different phonemes and CVC words. Get your FREE phonics scope and sequence:
What’s so important about segmenting and blending sounds?
Segmenting and blending are both essential reading skills. Segmenting involves picking out sounds in words. Blending involves pushing those sounds together. For example, if students see sat and identify the sounds /s/ /a/ /t/. They can say each sound separately ssss-aaaaa-t and then smooth it out ss-aa-t, s-a-t, sat.
You can start teaching segmenting and blending by having students listen for sounds. Say, “I see the sun.” What is the first sound you hear in the word sun?”
Start with words with sounds that can be held, such as the /s/ in sun, so that you can hold the sound, which can help emphasize the sound and build phonemic awareness.
In addition to listening for sounds and verbal games, activities that involve listening and looking or writing can help students pair phonemes and graphemes. In other words, they’ll start to connect sounds and the letters we use to represent those sounds.
You’ll find lots of games and activities, including play dough mats, cootie catchers, print and play games, worksheets, and more here: NO PREP CVC Words Worksheets
What about phoneme manipulation? How is that related to CVC words?
Phoneme manipulation is another phoneme skill that students need to become effective readers and spellers. Phoneme manipulation includes adding, subtracting, and changing or substituting sounds. Take a look at these examples:
- Addition. Add p to an and you have pan or start with am, add p, and get amp.
- Subtraction. Subtract the t from tin and you have in. Or take fat, subtract the f, and you get at.
- Substitution. Substitute o for a in tap and get top. Or substitute m for h in hat and get mat.
Phoneme manipulation games help students practice this essential skill at the CVC level and beyond.
How can I make learning CVC words fun for students?
There are so many CVC word activities, like the phoneme manipulation games and the CVC cootie catchers and games mentioned above that help keep CVC word practice fun. You can use games, like I-Spy adapted to focus on CVC segmenting and blending, as part of your phonics lesson or even your meeting on the m-a-t!
There are a lot of CVC activities that can be used for individual or group practice in literacy or phonics stations or sent as homework.
The best news is that CVC word activities can be fun for students without being a chore for you!
Get the Phonics Scope and Sequence Level 1 Resource Bundle – CVC Words with done for you activities tied to your phonics scope and sequence!
This bundle includes center activities, games, boom cards, worksheets, mini-books, puzzles, and more for level 1 phonics, plus bonus files containing CVC word lists and progress monitoring tools! With 18 individual packs plus the 3 bonus packs, you’ll be set for teaching CVC words and providing a variety of ways for your students to practice!