Ah, vowels. The backbone of the English language. Yet, they are such a pesky pain sometimes. A, E, I, O, U. These five important letters are ones we get to know well. For English teachers out there, you'll understand how fundamental and frustrating these letters are.
Every word loves these letters!
The tricky thing with vowels is that the sound changes so much. They are unpredictable and they don't follow the rules. In fact, they make the rules, and then disregard them. They are rebels without a cause. But we can't have words without them!
For students learning English as a second language, vowels can be a major stumbling area. The first thing that students need is that vowels are in EVERY word. So, you wanna learn English, you gotta learn to love vowels!
Here is a great exercise I use regularly. It uses CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words. I find this is a great warm up exercise or something to finish off a class with. It can also be used mid-lesson to bring a student's attention back.
The key question for this game: which vowel goes there?
The fun thing about this is that you can show students how vowels can make such a different for words. You've got these two consonant letters either side of a vowel, and sometimes there are 3 options of which vowel can go in the middle! It's pretty exciting (if you love words as much as I do!)
My personal favourite is the letters B _ T. Try and put a vowel in the middle. Any vowel! Literally, any vowel can go there and make a word...
B A T
B E T
B I T
B O T
B U T
The visual aspect of this exercise is perfect for students of all ages and levels. Students can physically see the vowel that is spelling out the word. It helps to visualise the sound that letter is making, too.
You can also make mistakes with this game. Mistakes are the best way to learn.
Hold up a vowel that doesn't fit the consonants. Have fun trying to sound out the word. It doesn't make sense, does it? It's a crazy word! That's a crazy sound! Now is the time to make a crazy face so your student laughs (hopefully with) you!
CVC exercises are so simple and easy to do. They make a big different for compounding students understanding of phonics and phonemes.
You don't need a lot to make an activity like this. I made these resources from old playing cards. I painted them red for brightness, but they can be any colour. Then, I made the trusty vowels from some empty toilet paper roll.