Once students have learned how to identify letters and their sounds, they are ready to learn CVC words.  CVC words are three-letter words that follow a consonant-vowel-consonant pattern such as the words cat, dog, and big. 

Teaching children how to encode and decode CVC words is essential because these words serve as the building blocks of literacy.  They teach children how to master short vowel sounds and closed syllables which are the most common spelling unit and represent over fifty percent of syllables in the English language.

There are several fun strategies that teachers can use to help their students learn how to read and write CVC words.

Games and Puzzles

Games and puzzles can help students practice creating CVC words.  Teachers can provide their students with puzzles that break pictures of CVC words into three pieces.  For example, a picture of a cat can be broken into three pieces: one piece containing the consonant c, another containing the vowel a, and the third containing the consonant t.  Students can then learn to spell and sound out the words as they put the pieces together.

Letter Bins

Other games could include giving students pictures of CVC words and a bin of plastic letters.  Have the students work together to see if they can use the plastic letters to create CVC words that match the pictures.


Worksheets are another great way for students to master CVC words.  Teachers can use worksheets to help students practice using short vowel sounds to create words. For example, a worksheet could contain a picture of a pig and the letters p and g written underneath with a blank space between the letters.  Students would fill in the blank space with the correct vowel.  Similar worksheets can also be made to help students practice writing the opening or closing consonant sounds by simply changing the location of the blank space. 

Eventually, students will be able to complete worksheets that contain only the picture of a CVC word, like a cup or a bug, and be able to fill in all three letters on their own. 


Once students master CVC words, they will be prepared to decode multisyllabic words that contain closed syllables. 

Try using games and worksheets to help your students gain confidence with this foundational reading skill.