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Lesson 1: Beginning Consonants
Lesson 2: Letter Recognition
Lesson 3: Short Vowels
Lesson 4: Long Vowels
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eacher's Guide

Lesson 4: Long Vowels

Lesson Introduction
This lesson provides practice identifying words with long-vowel sounds and experience with sound-spellings.

Grade Level: K–2

2 days

Student Objectives
Students will:

  • Recognize long vowel sounds by reading and listening to a story that highlights select words
  • Identify words with long vowel sounds
  • Construct a story by actively choosing words
  • Use picture clues to aid comprehension
  • Match words with the same vowel sounds


  • Clifford Interactive Storybook Emily Elizabeth Goes to School
  • Clifford Storybook activity Concentration
  • Computer(s) with Internet access
  • Optional: LCD or overhead projector to display storybook activities
  • 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 overhead projector.

Day 1
Step 1: Select a book to read to the class that features words with long vowel sounds. Choose a book from one of the Clifford phonics collections or classics such as Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, Clifford’s Puppy Days, The Bike Lesson, New Shoes for Sylvia, or The Troll Music. See Recommended Books.
Step 2: Explain to students how slight differences in a word spelling can affect its vowel sound. Demonstrate this point by listing on the chalkboard word pairs such as: rat/rate, bit/bite, cot/coat, fed/feed, and cub/cube. Have volunteers read each word pair, noting the different vowel sounds each word in the pair makes. Guide them to recognize that just one added letter changed the vowel sound from short to long. Point out that sometimes the letter is added to the end, like the e in bite. And other times, it’s a letter in the middle like a in read. Repeat the vowel sounds in each pair and identify them as having a short or long vowel sound.
Step 3: Take students to the first page of Emily Elizabeth Goes to School. Read the first two sentences and model for students how to click the speaker icon next to them to hear them read aloud.
Step 4: Students can click to hear the third sentence read aloud. Explain to students that they need to choose one of the three words in the circles to put into the story. They can click each word to hear the choices and see an illustration. Have students identify the vowels in each word choice and the vowel sound these letters make. Did they recognize that all three words have the ea spelling pattern? Were they able to identify the long /e/ sound? What other words produce the long /e/ sound? Record their responses on the chalkboard. Discuss other letter combinations that can produce the same sound, such as ee in feed.
Step 5: Repeat the same process with the following story pages. Help students recognize that all three word choices on a page have the same long vowel sound, but that the words have different spelling patterns (e.g., silent e at the end of space and ai in the middle of rain and snails). For each storybook page, compare and contrast the spelling patterns in the word choices. Keep a list of all the word choices students have in the storybook as well as any new words they suggested with similar spelling patterns.

Day 2
Step 1: Review the list of words created the day before.
Step 2: Working in pairs, have students go to the game Concentration. Students can click the speaker icon to hear the instructions. If necessary, model how to play the game by clicking the cards to make a match of words with the same long vowel sound.
Step 3: As they play the game, encourage students to identify the spelling patterns of the words that have the same vowel sounds. Have them think of other words that have those sounds and how they are spelled.

Assessment & Evaluation
Were students able to identify the long vowel sound for the word choices on each storybook page? Did they successfully identify other words with the same short vowel sound?
Were students able to identify the long vowel sounds for objects in Concentration? Could they match words with the same long vowel sounds?

To further assess knowledge of long vowel sound-spellings:

  • Create a contrast word sheet (e.g., cut/cute, rod/road, red/read).
  • Individually, test students as they read the words on the sheet. Note sound-spellings they struggle with by marking a photocopy of the sheet as each student reads. Provide additional instruction on the sound-spellings students struggle with.

Lesson Extensions

  1. Assign small groups a long vowel sound. Have the groups search for objects in the classroom whose names contain the long vowel sound and record their finding on a sheet of paper. Have groups share their findings with the rest of the class.
  2. Using chalk, create several large hopscotch boards on a paved area of your playground (or use masking tape on the classroom floor). In each section, write a long vowel sound-spelling (examples: ay, ee, ea, oi) you want to review. Then read aloud a word. Students hop to the space on the hopscotch board that contains that word’s vowel sound and spelling.
  3. Provide students with a set of word cards. Have them sort the word cards first in any way they choose, such as word length or beginning consonant. Then suggest they sort the words by long vowel sound and/or long vowel sound-spelling. Be sure that the words you provide can be sorted in more than one way. For example, use words containing the long /a/ sound spelled a_e, ai, and ay.