No matter what literacy approach you go with, teaching the consonants and short vowels is the first place to start.
Watch this video for an explanation and discussion of teaching this step. I’ve also included a little round up of my favorite activities and resources to help teach this step!
Tools for Practicing Consonants and Short Vowels:
Leapfrog Letter Factory DVD (2003) -This is far and away the most effective educational DVD I have ever seen. It teaches all the consonants and short vowels with a catchy song. However, there are 2 versions. You want the one from 2003 where Tad, Leap, and Lilly take a tour of their dad’s talking letter factory. It’s kind of hard to find on DVD sometimes- but you can always buy it on amazon video and stream it. The other version is completely useless so make sure you get the right one!
Consonant Clip Cards from The Measured Mom
Sound Cover Activity from The Measured Mom
CVC Sound Sort from Play Dough to Plato
BANG from Stay at Home Educator
Once your child is pretty good at recalling the letter sounds they can start to BLEND syllables and short words…you can do this simply by writing consonant-vowel combinations and helping the student to blend two sounds together. For example: b-a, b-e, b-i, b-o, bu, d-a, d-e, d-i, d-o, d-u, etc…practicing with each consonant. Then add a consonant on the end of these syllables to make a CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) word. For example: add a t to b-a and it becomes bat, add t to b-e and it becomes bet. Help the student sound out the words.
I love this CVC word blending activity from Shelf Work. These little cards are adorable. One side is the CVC word and on the other side is a matching picture. This helps the child develop comprehension from the very first stages of decoding! It also helps the child understand directionality–the idea that the sounds in a word must be read from left to right.
You don’t have to stop at CVC words! With just a basic knowledge of consonants and short vowels, a child can decode some pretty long words. HERE is a list of easily decodable words that are a bit longer. This will be a challenge for the early reader’s phonological awareness skills and may take some practice. It is important at this point to help the child develop confidence in trying to read long words. Sometimes children can develop a “fear” of long words because they perceive them as more difficult. Showing them this list of words and proving to them that they already have the skills to read words that seem challenging can be really inspiring!
Next up is STEP 3:Common 2 letter phonograms