Your students have mastered letter identification and letter sounds, now what? Now, comes the fun stuff! Your class is ready to learn how to segment and blend sounds in cvc words. This is the start of their independent reading journey. CVC words are a phonics skill that you will be spending a lot of time on. It is a foundational skill, that many other phonics skills will depend upon (think word families and rhyming words). By understanding how to approach this skill, you will be able to properly scaffold your phonics lesson. Keep reading to see seven simple steps that will lead to CVC success!
What Are CVC Words?
CVC words are three-letter words that consist of a consonant-vowel-consonant. Think cat, pot, run, sip, etc. These words are easy to segment and blend, therefore, beginning readers should be taught how to decode them. The term segment and blend simply means that students learn how to break up the word by each individual sound (segment) and then blend those sounds together to create the word. If a child knows how to make individual sounds and then blend them together, they will be able to decode many tricky words. CVC words are a great place to introduce this skill, as they are commonly found in the texts they will be reading, and with only three letters, the concept can be easily applied.
Teaching CVC Words
To start teaching CVC words, it is important to know whether or not your class is ready. Letter sound identification is a must. If you have students who are still struggling with letter sounds, they are not ready to begin segmenting and blending words. You should focus on the mastery of letter sounds before moving on. However, if your class knows their letter sounds, you are good to go! The next phonics skill you should introduce is CVC words.
1. Beginning Sounds in CVC Words
In order to teach students how to blend sounds in cvc words, we have to teach them to segment these sounds. When you introduce your class to cvc words, start by having them work with just the beginning sound. We want to help our students learn to break apart each sound in the word. Ways to practice this could include showing them a picture of a hat and asking “what sound do you hear at the beginning of the word?” You can also do fill in the blank activities with the initial letter missing from cvc words.
The image above shows a CVC game that allows students to focus on only the initial consonant. The picture clue guides them, and with a strong letter-sound background, they can identify the missing letter.
2. Vowel Sounds in CVC Words
Once students are comfortable identifying the beginning sound in CVC words, move onto identifying the vowel sound in the word. Vowels can be tricky because it is hard to hear the difference between them. Practice with this is very important. Find activities and printables that focus on vowel sounds in consonant-vowel-consonant words. Allow your students to build fluency, as it will greatly help when it comes time to blend all three sounds together.
The activity above allows children to focus solely on identifying the vowel in the word. Picture clues prompt the child to say the word and listen to the middle sound. An activity like this is a great way to encourage vowel sound identification while also engaging your class.
3. Ending Sounds in CVC Words
Naturally, once you have practiced beginning sounds and vowel sounds in cvc words (in isolation), work on identifying the last sound in consonant-vowel-consonant words. Children should be able to successfully hear and identify the three sounds in isolation before you move on to the next step.
4. Segmenting and Blending CVC Words
If you have spent time segmenting each sound in a three-letter word, you are ready to begin blending these sounds. I teach my students how to “chop it up.” A method that has proven to be extremely successful with my students. Here’s a video where I demonstrate how to do it:
Practicing how to blend three sounds together to form a word should happen naturally during guided reading, but also at other points in the day. Give your class ample time to practice this skill and find different activities that will help them.
5. Implementing CVC Word Practice
After providing your students with the appropriate guidance for decoding three-letter words, you must provide them with multiple opportunities to practice. Practice will lead to fluency, and fluency will lead to stronger readers. Carve out time in your day to focus on consonant-vowel-consonant words. This can happen during morning meeting, at centers, as warm-ups, or during guided reading. It is also important to spiral in cvc practice after your class has mastered it. Keeping this skill fresh will continue to improve their overall fluency.
6. CVC Word Games
Hands-on learning is extremely beneficial to children. In fact, I’ve dedicated an entire blog post to it. Find ways to incorporate hands-on cvc word games into your classroom. They are the perfect addition to your phonics centers during the day. They also make for excellent guided reading warm-ups and intervention group materials.
Some ideas for hands-on cvc games include puzzles, picture matching, building cvc words, letter magnets, and more!
7. CVC Word Printables
Everyone has different opinions on using worksheets, however, I do believe it is important to expose our children to printables sometimes. This not only helps reinforce the skill you are working on, but it helps with foundational skills such as using a pencil, writing, using a scissor, etc. Using printables for CVC words as reinforcers or homework is a great way to continue improving their fluency.
If you take the time to slowly work on segmenting and blending sounds with your students and find time for them to practice this skill, you will see huge improvements in not only their reading but their writing as well.
I have created many resources that support CVC word work in the classroom. You can search my Teachers Pay Teachers store to find anything you might need. You can also check out my CVC Unit, which consists of 175 pages of consonant-vowel-consonant materials. An assortment of worksheets, activities, and centers, will help your students master this extremely important skill.
- CVC Word Studies: Trace the word, write the word, find the word, and build the word
- Write and Draw: Read the word and then write and draw it
- Label the Pictures: Using a word bank, students will label the picture
- Match Picture Cards: Cut and paste the pictures to match the correct word
- Draw the Match: Draw a line to match the picture to the word
- Find the Word: Look at the picture and read the 3 words. Circle the correct cvc word
- Read It, Write It: Read the words in the word bank and write them under the correct picture
- Writing Sentences: Read the cvc word and write a sentence with it
15 Cards: CVC Words in bubble letters with formation lines inside. Great for using a dry erase marker or play doh
Letter Box Boards (5 different boards included): Look at the pictures in the box. Write them out in the correct letter boxes
Segment Boards: (5 different boards included): Look at the picture and segment out the sounds. Build the word with magnet letters or by writing each letter in the box
Nonsense Word Boards (5 different boards included): Read the words and distinguish between real and nonsense words
Crack the Code Boards (5 different boards included): Write the initial sound of each picture to form a new cvc word
Word Building Treasure: Pick a treasure chest card and use the letter cards to build that cvc word
Pirate Ship Puzzles: Build a pirate ship by finding the missing letter in the cvc word
Clip the Coin Cards: Find the missing letter and clip the answer on the bottom. Comes with missing initial, vowel and ending sounds
Bag of Bones Cards: Read the cvc word and clip the matching picture
30 Cards: Practice segmenting and blending with these hands-on cards