Whether you’re navigating your first year of teaching or simply looking to spice up your reading instruction, we’ve got everything you’ll need to teach CVC words for kindergarten. This includes educational games, loads of activities, and a few teacher tips to improve your instruction. Not to mention, at the bottom of this page is a CVC word list to get you started. But first:

What are CVC words?

Simply put, CVC is an acronym which stands for a three-letter word that contains a consonant—vowel—consonant pattern. In case you need to brush up on kindergarten phonics, consonants make up 21 of the 26 letters of the alphabet – every letter but, you guessed it, the five vowels [a,e,i,o,u].

More technically speaking, CVC words are one syllable and closed. This means that the vowel will always be in the middle and make the short sound. Some examples of CVC words include cat, bed, pit, mop, and dug. There are more than 200 CVC words in the English language, but don’t confuse all three letter words for CVC words. For example, bee has three letters but it isn’t CVC because it ends in a vowel instead of a consonant, is open, and the vowel is long.

Why are CVC Words Important?

If learning how to read is like riding a bike, these three letter words are the wheels. They are the first step in learning to decode, or “sound it out,” and you won’t be able to go very far without them.

What happens in our brains is that we learn these phonics patterns and internalize them, much like riding a bike, until we recognize them without the help of our conscious brains. For many kindergarteners, blending these three simple sounds is an arduous task. Without automatic recognition, reading becomes a slow, tedious, and frustrating task that is only compounded as additional phonics skills (CVCe, blends & digraphs, multisyllabic rules) are taught.

CVC Words in the Classroom

Since you can already count on CVC instruction somewhere within the majority of kindergarten curriculums, these activities serve to supplement existing instruction so that across the country, our classrooms are packed with five- and six-year-olds blending, segmenting, and decoding CVC words with ease.

Segmenting Activities

What: Segmenting is the ability to take a whole word and break it up into each of it’s sounds, or phonemes. For example, a kindergartener should be able to listen to the word tug and break it apart by the first sound /t/, the middle sound /u/, and the end sound /g/ in written, reading, and verbal form.

Activities:

  • Play I Spy: This game helps learners develop phonemic awareness segmenting skills and is highly adaptable. You can use beginning letter sounds, “I spy something that starts with the /b/ sound…” or rhymes, vowels, or end sounds.
  • Songs, rhymes, and chants: Jack Hartman is a great YouTube channel for CVC songs where he uses body movements to segment words before blending them again. Similarly, there are lots of fun chants to “break down words” as well as simply clapping along to the words/beat/syllables.
  • Printables: find the missing letter sheets or cut & glue activities are great examples of segmenting CVC words. These are great to have around for early finishers or to take home as well. Click the images below for details.

 

  • Elkonin Boxes: The holy grail of phone segmentation. For CVC words, students would have three boxes. The teacher says a word [dog] and the students place manipulatives in each separate box for each sound they hear. You can also use letter tiles as well or do a similar activity but incorporate writing (phoneme grapheme mapping).
  • CVC Jump: Get those active bodies moving by jumping around the room and calling out the letter for each sound they hear.

Blending Activities

What: If segmenting is breaking down the phonemes (sounds), blending is putting them together to form a word. The most important element of blending is that students connect the sounds. So, instead of saying /m/ (pause) /a/ (pause) /t/, students say mmmmaaaaattttt. Below are a variety of phonics and phonemic awareness activities that you can easily incorporate into your routines with minimal prep.

Activities:

  • Rubber Band Blending (Phonemic Awareness Activity): Teacher calls out three choppy, segmented sounds and the students, using a manipulative like a rubber band or slinky, must blend them together slowly. After they blend a few times, make them “say it fast” and ask what word they made. Similar variations include bead slides or CVC sliders.
  • Toy Car: Drive a little toy car under each sound in the written word, verbally blending as they drive. If they can’t hear the word, they can gradually speed up until they understand what word they’re making. This is fun, hands on, and the visual representation helps comprehension.
  • Use Decodables: Sometimes we get so lost in our activities and worksheets that we forget to stress the connection of CVC words and reading. Children should understand that the practice will make them a better reader, so make sure you have books that give them the opportunity to find their CVC words while they’re reading.

Additional CVC Activities

Teaching CVC words is one of the most adaptable skills which allows for more creativity in your instruction and the ability to accommodate every learning style and ability. 

 Further examples of the different kinds of practice you could include would be incorporating multisensory materials like sand, play doh, and art supplies for kinesthetic learners, games like Splat! for wiggly bodies, or CVC bingo, puzzles, or memory games for whole group instruction. 

 

It takes a lot of students a long time for the “click” to happen with reading CVC words. Be patient with yourself and with your students and have fun creatively applying some of these games and activities to your lessons.

Make sure to visit again for more tips and inspiration check out my CVC worksheets found here.