As your child begins to read in kindergarten and first grade, they will begin to learn that certain letters can make more than one sound. For example, they begin by learning that “A” makes the long “A” sound as in apple, however that does not always apply. For example, “A” uses the short sound in cat and sad.
This is a concept that can be very difficult for children to understand, and they may need practice at home on this skill. Reading aloud with your child will help you identify areas where they may be struggling. Explaining that the short vowel sound typically occurs in three letter words may be a good starting point.
Another way to practice this skill at home is through game-play. Games could be played from the Internet as well as other interactive educational phonic games purchased or homemade in hard copy. One online game for your child to practice soft and hard vowels is Match from Read Write Think. In this game your child will have to match the pictures to the sounds of the vowels. Since there isn’t much reading involved in this game, it could be a game that you would even use with a pre-school aged child.
Another activity would be to have your child sort long and short vowels. You can setup a large piece of paper and create a T-chart. You can then use this printable of various words that use the different vowel sounds. Your child would then sort the sounds either for long or soft and then paste down the pictures on the correct side. You would need one t-chart for each letter. Additional worksheets for home practice can also be found here.
Article By Laura VanHellemont
Photo By sean dreilinger