Putting it all Together: Teaching Children to Read CVC Words

Don't let the title of this post intimidate you.  While "CVC" may sound like super complicated instructional jargon, it really just stands for consonant-vowel-consonant.  As early readers, these are every child's first words - sat, lot, lip, etc. - and it is a magical experience watching the pieces of the alphabet puzzle come together to form meaning. So long as kids know their letter sounds backwards and forwards, they are ready to read (and if they don't yet, check out our earlier blog posts for more alphabet help)!

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Now, there are two different ways to introduce a child to reading words. The first is to have them segment each individual sound in a word - N-A-P - and then work on blending them together.  If children have enough fluency with their letter sounds, and they have strong phonemic (hearing/identifying sounds) awareness, it isn't too difficult to grasp that N-A-P is the same as NAP; however, for some students the jump from segmented sounds to blended word can be more challenging.  Additionally, as words become longer and more complicated, such a strategy is just plain inefficient.  Good readers problem solve words in chunks - they look for familiar parts (think letter patterns, prefixes, suffixes, even whole words!) in order to make sense of the less familiar ones. That is why at Smarten Up we prefer to teach kids to read with word families.

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Word families break words into two parts.  There is the onset (or the first letter), and the rime (the vowel and consonant/s that form the "family.")  Once a child develops fluency reading the rime, he or she is able to read a whole new set of words.  For example, by learning to blend "at," a student can easily read bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat, sat, vat; one word family leads to 9 new words a child can read and write using their knowledge of a simple pattern.  Learning to identify chunks this way, instead of sounding out each letter individually, will help children to become more confident, able, and efficient readers (and writers) in no time!  

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There are tons of great resources to teach your child how to read using word families.  Click on the images below for a free download of our Alien Attack/Sleeping Princess Word Family activity set.  These materials are a part of our Early Reading Game Set, a selection of seven different reading games that are sure to get your little one excited about learning. 

And because at Smarten Up we believe the best approach is to blend board games with digital ones, we also like the online games at PBS Kids, the Howie Word Family app, and the My Word Wall app