Teaching CVC Words
Teaching CVC words is a natural transition from learning sounds to reading words. CVC words consist of words that are a consonant, vowel, consonant combination such as cat, log, bed. In order for children to be able to read a cvc word, students must first know the sound each letter makes in the word.
The goal is for the student to take their background knowledge of these individual phonemes (sounds) and blend them together to form a word. For example, when reading the word cat, the student would make the individual sounds, /c/ /a/ /t/ and then blend them together to make cat.
I personally like teaching real words and nonsense words when starting cvc words. The concept of blending words has nothing to do with the fact that the word makes sense. My students always loved reading nonsense words too which was an added bonus. I would put a word on the board or in front of them if we were working in small groups and ask them to read the word. If it was a real word (ex. pet), they would give me a thumbs up. If it was a nonsense word (ex. lod), they would give me a thumbs down. This is also a great way to teach children new words and vocabulary.
When should you practice CVC word?
The short answer is all the live long day. Ha. You definitely should incorporate this into your daily whole group instruction but also retarget during small group lessons. This gives you the opportunity to assess each student to make sure they are developing this skill properly.
What if a student is struggling?
If a student is struggling with reading cvc words, you need to properly assess them. They might not have the phoneme foundation needed to sound out many words yet. Children must be able to identify letters and sounds in order to blend words.
It could also mean that they struggle with blending because they cannot remember the sounds long enough to blend them together. This is something you want to monitor and then seek out advice from an administrator as to future steps because this student may need to be testing for processing or memory discrepancies.
Practice, practice, practice
Just like with anything else when it comes to building reading fluency, children must practice this skill. Initially, they may need to point to each letter and sound out the individual phonemes. They may also need to pull down manipulatives from sound boxes or do a physical movement (ex. touching their shoulders, elbow and then waist) to represent the sounds. These are all great strategies for helping build fluent readers.
Make sure that once you have introduced this concept, you allow for plenty of independent practice through literacy centers and guided reading books. Remember that children learn best through hands on experiences. Allowing them to build the words, manipulate them (ex. change beginning sounds) and watching you read the word will also help. Start with word families because they rhyme, have the same ending and you can easily switch out the beginning sound to create a new word.
It's also important to remember that students need to be taught the individual phoneme before we ask them to blend it in a word. If you have not taught the sound /w/, the a student should not be expected to read the word wit. Eventually, each child will be able to move from sounding out each letter to memory as they strengthen their reading skills. Click here to see all of our CVC activities or any picture in this post.