1st Grade - Vowel Sounds

Letter and Word Sounds
Vowel sounds
Distinguish long-and short-vowel sounds in orally stated single-syllable words (e.g., bit - bite).
The students will be able to identify long and short vowel sounds in orally stated words. Long vowels are vowels that say their own name. Short vowels are vowels that make the regular sounds from the alphabet.

Sample Problems


What is special about vowels? (letters that have 2 sounds-(Long sounds means the vowel says its own name)


What can vowels do, that no other letter in the alphabet can do?


Can short vowels say their own names?


When we have a silent “e” at the end of a word, what happens to the vowel in middle?


If 2 vowels sit together sit together in the middle of the word, what is special about these vowels?

Learning Tips


Letter cards: Have the children create simple consonant/vowel/consonant words with either letter cards, or letter tiles (such as Scrabble letters). Next, have the children add the silent “e” to the end of their word and see if they create a new “real” word. Have the students keep a list of the words they start with and what they are able to change them into.


Magic “e” Flashcards: With this activity you will need index cards, markers, long “e” word list, and puffy paint or glitter glue. Using the word list from the link below, have your child write the short vowel word on the front of the index card. Ask them to write the same word on the back of the same card, but this time, add a “magic e” to the end of the word. Ask your child to tell you how the word changes. Once they have described the change, allow them to use the puffy paint or glitter glue on the “magic e.” This will assist them in remember exactly what the “magic e” does and how it changes words.



Tambourine: With this activity, your child will need to use their auditory skills to practice. You will need a list of short vowel words and a list of long vowel words. You will also need a tambourine. You can use the link below, for a sample list.


With this activity you will read a word to your child. Your child will need to listen to the word and decide if the word has a long or a short vowel sound in it. If the word contains a short vowel, your child will tap the tambourine one time. If the word contains a long vowel, your child will need to shake the tambourine for a period of time to indicate a long vowel. Another variation of this game would be to have you take control of the tambourine. If you tap the tambourine one time your child will need to verbalize a short vowel word. If you shake the tambourine for an extended period of time, your child would need to express a word that contains a long vowel.


Magic “e” Puppet: In order to help children understand the concept of the “silent e,” I have often times had the children make their very own puppet. You can use an old sock, construction paper, glue, and felt. Have your child design their own puppet by placing an “e” in the middle of the sock. They can decorate the rest of the puppet with word that contain magic e. In order to reinforce the skill of magic or silent e, Have your child read words on flashcards. Some of them should be short vowel words and other words should contain the magic e. Have your child read each card. If the flashcard contains a magic e word, have your child use their puppet to touch the vowel in the middle of the word that becomes a long vowel. This type of visual and tactile activity will help to reinforce this concept.


Vowel Team Puppets: Vowels in words can also become long vowels by the use of vowel teams. Vowel teams occur when two vowels sit together in the middle of a word. When this occurs the first vowel will say its own name and the other vowel is silent. They act as a team to create the long vowel sound. Another way to assist your child in understanding and retaining this concept is to have them create puppets that represent the different vowel teams. The puppets can be made from sock puppets, felt, glue, construction paper, buttons, and markers. Your child should be allowed to decorate their puppets as they choose. I would recommend that they have the vowel team that each puppet is representing (ea, oa, ee, ai, oa) on the front of the puppet. They can also decorate each puppet with words that use their puppets particular vowel teams. When they are finished creating their puppets they can use the puppets to read long vowel words. They should be able to identify the vowel team and read the long vowel combination.

Extra Help Problems


Wire 3 words with the short /a/ sound.


Write 3 words with the long /a/ sound.


Underline words with the long /i/ sound.


Circle the words have the short /o/ sound in them.


If adding “e” to the end of the word “fin,” what new word is made?


Circle the long vowel and underline the silent vowel in the word “bone.”


Read the following word “slid.” If you add “e” to the end of this word, what new word did you make? Draw a picture to show what the new word says.


Take away the letter “e” in the word “fine.” What new word will you make? Circle the matching picture.


Does the word “table” have a long or short vowel?


Read the following words and draw a picture to match each word can / cane


Underline the word that has a short vowel.


Does the word “eat” have a short or long vowel?


Does the word “crib” have a short or long vowel?


Does the word “use” have a short or long vowel?


Read the following words: peach, apple

Draw a box around the word that have a long vowel. Circle the word that has a short vowel.


What makes the word “peach” have the long /e/ sound?


Please make a box around the letters that make the long /e/ sound in the word “tree.”


Read the words- hand / toe

Which word has the short vowel? Please circle it.


What make the word “nail” have the long /a/ sound? Circle the letter or letters that make “a” say its own name in this word.


Draw a box around the vowels in the word “leaf.” Does “leaf” have a long or short vowel sound?


Solve the following riddle. These thing are a part of your body. They are in your mouth. They are white, hard, and they help you to chew your food. What are they? (teeth)


Write 3 words with the short /e/ sound.


Write 3 words with the long /e/ sound.


Write 2 color words. Write one with a short vowel and one with a long vowel.


Write one short /u/ word and one long /u/ word.


Related Games


Copyright ©2009 Big Purple Hippos, LLC