Long Vowel / Short Vowel Lesson Plans August 21 2009

It's been a long short summer. Let's ease into this and do some long and short vowel review. Sit back and relax. Get ready to hit "print" on your browser, because you'll like having these ideas in your "vowels" file. Listed below, you'll find some ideas to get you started with short and long vowel lessons.

There are 26 letters in the English alphabet. Vowel sounds are made from 5 of these letters, which are used to make 19 vowel sounds. The other 21 letters are used to make the 25 consonant sounds.

The 19 vowel phonemes consist of:

  • 5 Long Vowels (/ā/, /ē/, /ī/, /ō/, /ū/)
  • 5 Short Vowels (/ă/, /ĕ/, /ĭ/, /ŏ/, /ŭ/)
    and sometimes the letters w and y
  • 3 Dipthongs
  • A long and short oo (2 sounds)
  • 4 'r' controlled vowel sounds

What a confusing bit of information to share with students! Alright, let's take a deep breath here. As you well know, we teachers have a knack for taking something complicated and making is quite simple and fun! Here are a few fun suggestions for teaching the 19 vowel phonemes (if you have ideas of your own, please share them in the comments section below):

1. Wheel of Fortune Vowel Game

Teachers, this one is for you.

B_t t_ _ch_rs h_v_ s_mm_rs _ff.

I'd like to buy a vowel.

Create your own sentences on the white board and leave out the vowels.

2. Long Vowel & Short Vowel Songs

Look at your vowel charts and create songs while singing the words you are studying in any melody you wish.

E.g. "Let's make the sound of /ŭ/ in summer. /ŭ/, /ŭ/, /ŭ/."

Visual learners will benefit from a chart showing the word and the vowel sound. Pointing to the chart as the students sing the song will reinforce learning. You may choose a kinesthetic learner to point at the chart as the class sings aloud.

3. Long Vowel & Short Vowel Picture Sorts by Sounds

It is helpful to encourage the students to say the words aloud and emphasis the vowel sounds. Our picture sorts help develop students’ phonological and phonetic awareness as they contrast and compare various sounds with letters and with rhyme and alliteration.

Short Vowel Sound Sort Cards

Long Vowel Sound Sort Cards

4. Kathy the Cat Short Vowel Puppet Show

Use this free Kathy the Cat puppet template with the vowel sound you are studying, (e.g. cat, for the short vowel sound a.)

Say, "Kathy the Cat has things with the short vowel sound /ă/ in her basket."

Kathy the Cat takes out each thing from her basket. She identifies each object by name aloud and repeats the vowel sound.

"Kathy the Cat has an apple, /ă/, in her basket."

Here are some ideas of what to put in Kathy the Cat's basket (basket also has the short vowel a sound):

  • apple
  • ant
  • hat


You can have Kathy the Cat point to your short vowel /ă/sounds chart.

Students can create their own puppets, after they see your Kathy the Cat empty her basket. When students play with their own Kathy the Cat they will remember the /ă/ sound. You can also use the Kathy the Cat as a center activity.

5. Vowel Sound Educational Software

You may have some educational software already installed onto the computers at school which teach long and short vowel sounds. It's great to find educational software that reinforces classroom instruction using visual, auditory and kinesthetic instruction.

Here's a link to a free online short vowel sound game.

This free online game uses visual and kinesthetic/sensory-motor modes of instruction. Encourage your students to say the pictures aloud as a way include auditory learners as they choose the correct vowel. You may choose to share this link with your students during computer lab or post it on your classroom website.

6. Create Long Vowel & Short Vowel Puzzles

If you would like to put your own list of words into a puzzle (e.g. from a spelling list). You can visit and create your own puzzle at Discovery Education.

7. Long and Short Vowel Games

Here are a couple of games to choose from:

7.  Long Vowel & Short Vowel Poem of the Week & Mini Books

Put the Poem of the Week in a pocket chart. Read aloud and point to the vowels of study.

Student can also create their own Poem of the Week Mini Books and use highlighter tape or a highlighter to show vowel sounds of study.

Here's another Wheel of Fortune Game for You:

Throughout this year, just remember...

"Th_ b_st t_ _ch_rs t_ _ch fr_m th_  h_ _rt, n_t fr_m th_ b_ _k."

~Author Unknown

Here's another quote worth solving.

"If y_u pr_m_se n_t t_ bel_eve everyth_ng your ch_ld says happens at sch_ _l, _'ll pr_m_se n_t t_ bel_eve everyth_ng he says happens at h_me."

~Anonymous Teacher

Share Long Vowel & Short Vowel Lesson Plans

Please feel free to post any lesson plan ideas for teaching long vowel and short vowels sounds in the comments below.