Are you a parent or teacher teaching young learners about CVC words? You may be wondering what these words are, and how they can help improve reading literacy in little readers.
The good news is that CVC words are some of the most basic building blocks of the English written language! They are made up of three letters, and always include at least one vowel. Keep reading to learn more…
What are CVC Words?
CVC words are an important part of learning to read and write. They are made up of a consonant, vowel, and consonant sound (such as ‘cat’, ‘dog’, ‘sun’).
These words are used to help children learn the basic building blocks of reading and writing. As CVC words can be easily sounded out, children can begin to read and write simple sentences.
CVC words are also a great way to expand children’s vocabulary, through the introduction of new words.
For example, a child may not know that ‘cap’ can be used as an alternative to ‘hat’ or used when referencing the top of a bottle or pen.
And finally, they are great for understanding how words rhyme together. Such as ‘hat’ and ‘bat’.
So, as you can begin to see, learning to understand and use CVC words is an important step in a child’s literacy journey.
Why are Children Taught CVC Words?
CVC words are easily decodable words. This means that once children have learned the sounds that letters make, they can use this knowledge to read these words.
Children begin to gain confidence in their reading skills, when reading simple words. It also allows them to see that they are making progress and that they are learning to read
Teaching CVC words is a great foundation for children to continue building their reading skills.
When to Teach CVC Words
Most people would say that it is best to teach CVC words after a child has learned the individual sounds of the letters (consonants and vowels).
At this point, children only need to understand the basic sounds that each letter makes. With CVC words, the short-vowel sounds should be taught first.
I would also say you don’t need to wait until every letter is learned before introducing these easily decodable words.
For example, when my child learned the sounds of ‘a’ and ‘d’, it was a great opportunity to introduce the word ‘dad’.
In doing so, it helped to make the connection that words are made up of letters and the sounds they make.
As children begin to learn their CVC and high frequency words, they will be able to start reading simple sentences. Which, give them confidence and a sense of achievement.
How to Teach CVC Words
When it comes to introducing and teaching CVC words, the biggest obstacle to overcome is getting children to segment (or break down) the word into its individual sounds.
For example, the word ‘cat’ can be segmented into C-A-T.
Once children are able to segment these words, the next step is to get them to blend (or put together) the sounds until they have the word.
For example, C-A-T would be blended together to say C-AT.
Some readers may find that this is difficult to do. However, there are a couple of different things that you can do to help.
Model how to segment CVC words for the child.
One way to do this is to help the child stretch out each letter sound before blending it together.
Let’s say you are discussing the word ‘mom’. Instead of saying ‘mom’, you may say ‘mmmm-oooo-mmmm’, asking the child to repeat it back to you. After doing this a few times, you would then have them blend the letters together to say ‘mom’.
Use Elkonin Boxes
Another way to help children segment and blend CVC words is to use Elkonin Boxes.
Elkonin boxes work similarly to the example stated above; however, they are more of a visual, graphic representation of how CVC words are blended together.
Children will use some type of counter to represent each sound that is in the CVC word. They will place the counters into the Elkonin Boxes as they say each sound of the word.
As children advance, instead of using counters, they can begin to write the letter sounds in the Elkonin boxes.
Activites for CVC Words
There are so many different activities you can do with a child to help them learn to read CVC words.
In helping my own child learn these words, I’ve learned it’s a good idea to have both hands-on activities and standard worksheets.
Kids can get easily tired of working on only worksheets throughout the day. So, giving them items that they can work with and manipulate will help keep them engaged.
Use sand or beans
Just playing with sand or beans, alone, can excite children. It’s fun for them to touch and it’s a great sensory experience. But, when you add in CVC words, it takes on a whole new level.
Here are a couple of different ways you can incorporate sand into your lesson.
Word Dig it Up
Print out two copies of CVC words, I have a huge CVC words list that can be found here. Laminate them so you can use them in the future.
Grab some type of container or even regular cooking pans can work. This is what you will use to place the sand or beans in.
Before adding sand, beans or other material, place one set of CVC words at the bottom of the container. Then cover with your material of choice.
Place your other set of laminated CVC words in a pile. Have the child(ren) pick from the pile, say the word, and then “dig up” the correct CVC word, from the container.
Using a container, fill it with sand, rice or small beans. Print out a list of CVC words and then have the readers write out the word in the sand or beans.
They can either use their fingers to write out the word. Or, if you have a pencil-like item, they can use that.
Pebble CVC Words
This one would take a bit more work and material. It does make for a cute setup, though.
You will need sand, a large container with short sides, some toy tractor trucks, printed CVC words, permanent marker and pebbles (large enough to write letters on).
Choose 5-10 CVC words to work on and print them out. Using the permanent marker, write the letters of the words on the pebbles. One letter per pebble.
Fill the large container with sand, add the pebbles to the top and then add the toy trucks. Have kids read the word and then find the letters that make up that word with the tractor truck.
Make Words with Play-Doh
What kid doesn’t like to play with Play-Doh? I don’t even know many adults that can resist playing with it when it’s placed right in front of them.
Play-Doh is just an overall fun material to dig your hands into.
So, incorporating it into CVC word practice can create an even more enjoyable lesson.
You can have the children mold, roll and fold Play-Doh to create CVC words. Or simply use letter stampers to build words.
Use Magnetic Letters
Magnetic letters can be a fun way to practice CVC words for kids. You can use them on a metal cookie sheet or have them add words to the fridge.
Print out words that you would like to practice (or simply write them on the paper) and have children practice sounding out and reading their CVC words.
Linking to Practice CVC Words
One of my favorite activities, as a child, when I would visit my mom at work, was to create chainlinks with paper clips.
You can build a similar activity with CVC words.
This will require paperclips and I recommend this set from Amazon. They are specifically made for children and work great!
There are two different levels in which you can create this activity.
For the beginner level, print out CVC words with or without pictures. Kids always love pictures. Then, print out the letters that make up the CVC words you have printed out. Cut, laminate and hole punch the letters.
Give the child the CVC words and have them rebuild it, using the paperclips.
For the more advanced level, print out pictures of CVC words (without the word written on it). Have the children sound out the word and create their word with the paperclips.
CVC Word Downloadables
Worksheets are a great way to drive home an idea with kids. You can find a TON of CVC word worksheets online or even create your own!
Some of my favorites to start with are finding the first, middle and last sound of a word. This can help with identifying and segementing different sounds within the CVC words.
Mixing a downloadable with a hands-on activity are always good for young learners, as well. Here are a couple of examples of how you can incorporate a downloadable with a hands-on activity.
[img 1: downloadable using clothes pin]
In this example, children use a clothes pin to select the CVC word, based on the picture that is given to them.
[img 2: downloadable using magnet to fill in missing letter]
For this downloadable, readers will use magnets or other letter objects to fill in the missing letter in each CVC word that is presented to them.
[img 3: letter stamps]
And of course, we can’t forget about stamps! Kids love to use stamps so incorporating them into your CVC lessons can be a great way to keep their attention.
In this example, children stamp the missing letter. And as they become more advanced, you could use a worksheet that has them complete the entire CVC word.
CVC Words List
I have compiled as many CVC words as I could to help your little readers learn and use new words. You can grab the full list here.
If you would like a seperated list, by vowel and ending sounds, please check out my CVC Words List post here.
And if you are needing a CVC Words list with pictures, I share a downloadable that you can grab here.
CVC words are an important aspect of learning to read. They are easily decodable, making them the first words many English readers learn to read.
By learning CVC words, children will gain confidence. And this confidence can lead to a life-long love of reading and learning.
As I always like to say, knowledge is power. With the right knowledge, people can do anything they set their mind to.
So, as teachers and parents, we are laying the groundwork for our children’s futures. We are supplying them with some of the initial building blocks they’ll need to thrive and live a successful life. And that, in my opinion, is pretty amazing.
I hope that this article has given you some ideas on how you can help your little readers learn their CVC words. All the while, helping them stay engaged and excited.