Lesson 3: Short Vowels
This lesson provides practice identifying words with short-vowel
sounds and sound-spellings.
Grade Level: K2
- Recognize short vowel sounds by reading and listening to
a story that highlights select words
- Use picture clues to aid comprehension
- Construct a story by actively choosing words
- Identify short-vowel sounds that complete C-V-C words
- Name words with the same short-vowel sounds
- Chalkboard or similar display
- Clifford Interactive Storybook Here,
- Clifford Storybook activity Make
- Computer(s) with Internet access
- Optional: LCD or overhead projector to display storybook
- Optional: headphones
- Bookmark the Interactive Clifford Storybooks on the computers
students will use.
- NOTE: If students have limited access to computers, print
activity screens and make transparency copies to post on an
Step 1: Read aloud one or two books where words with short
vowels are prominent. Choose titles from the Clifford phonics
collections or classic titles such as: Caps for Sale, The Fat
Cat, An Extraordinary Egg, The Little Red Hen, Titch, and
Whistle for Willie. See Recommended
Step 2: Write a list of simple C-V-C (consonant-vowel-consonant)
words on the chalkboard to illustrate short vowel sounds for a,
e, i, o, and u. Include some words from the book you’ve
read, Clifford Storybooks you are using, or others. Provide at
least one for each short vowel sound-spelling. Examples: cat,
red, sun, big, and top. Review with students the short vowel sound
in each word you’ve listed by reading the word aloud and
then repeating the short vowel sound. For example, point to the
word “cat” as you say it. Then explain: “The
short vowel sound in the word cat is /a/. The letter a makes
the /a/ sound.” Ask students what other words contain the
same short vowel sounds as ones on the board. Write down their
Step 3: Have students go to page one of Here,
Clifford!. Read the first two sentences and model for students
how to click the speaker icon next to the sentences to hear them
Step 4: Click the speaker icon next to the third sentence.
After listening to the narrator read, explain to students that
they need to choose one of the three words in the circles to put
into the story. Students can click on the words to hear each one
aloud. Point out that all three words have the letter a in them.
Ask students what sound this vowel makes in the word choices.
Explain that in these words the letter a makes a short a vowel
Step 1: Working in pairs, have students read the story
Here, Clifford!. They
should read each sentence and then listen to the sentence read
Step 2: Instruct students to listen to each word choice
for the third sentences and to choose one word to complete the
sentence on each page. Can students identify the common vowel,
the short vowel sound, and other words with the same sound? Have
them share their words with each other and encourage them to correct
each other if they identify the wrong short vowel sound.
Step 3: When students finish the story, help them link
to the game Make a
Word. Click the speaker icon to hear the instructions. Have
the pairs create as many words as they can with the letters. (If
necessary, model how to click and drag a letter to make a word.)
Step 4: When students have created all the words they can,
have them share their lists. Did they leave any out? Print the
word lists for each student. Have students take turns reading
the list aloud.
Step 5: As a class, review the words and group them into
lists that have the same short vowel sound (e.g., cot, dot, pot).
What other words have the same short vowel sound? Prompt students
with examples: pond, pod, cod, rod, etc.
Assessment & Evaluation
Were students able to identify the short vowel sound for the word
choices on each storybook page? Did students successfully identify
other words with the same short vowel sound?
Were students able to pronounce each word from the Make a Word
list correctly? Could they identify other words with the same
short vowel sounds?
To further assess knowledge of short vowel sound-spellings:
- Create a set of C-V-C word cards (e.g., sat, cup, ten).
- Display one card at a time as students chorally say the
word. Note children who do not respond or who have delayed
responses. Test these students individually.
- Provide additional instruction on the short vowel sound-spellings
students struggle with.
- Write a word with a short vowel sound on each square of an
old checkerboard. The game is played just like checkers, except
players must read the word on each space they land on. If a
player cannot read a word, he or she returns to the original
- As you teach each short vowel sound-spelling, challenge students
to find examples of the sound-spelling relationship in words
on signs, cereal boxes, advertisements, and other everyday items.
Have students bring these items to class and attach them to
a bulletin board.
- Write letters or spellings you want to review on large note
cards. Distribute one card to each student. Then have three
students stand in front of the class. Ask them to stand in a
sequence that forms a word. Each group must determine its word.
For example, you might call on students with the s, a, and t
cards. When the students form the word sat, have the class chorally
read the word. Continue by substituting letters such as i for
a, or by forming new words.