Samuel Efre
1 supporter


Nov 06, 2023

Do you ever feel like you're speaking a foreign language when trying to teach phonics?

"What sound does A make?"

you'll prompt hopefully. Blank stares. It's vowel vowels that often trip students up.

Those tricky A E I O Us just don't seem to stick.

Take Olamide for example. No matter how many times his teacher sings the vowel song and plays letter-sound games, he keeps mixing up vowels like E and I. He'll confidently sound out D-I-G as "duh-ee-guh."

Then there's Adesuwa who knows her letter names but goes silent when asked to connect them to sounds. She'll forget the /a/ sound and makes A into a consonant like "buh-apple." It's almost like she tuned out when vowels were being taught.

Vowels give the breath and life to words. If students struggle producing their sounds, reading and spelling words becomes chronically frustrating. They have to memorize unfamiliar words by visual shape which is inefficient.

But why do vowel sounds pose such a challenge? Here are some reasons:

- Vowels have a wider range of sounds whereas consonants sound more distinct.
- Many vowel sounds blend together in speech making them hard to isolate.
- Vowels are spoken with an open mouth so mouth shape doesn't provide cues.
- Students speak dialects where vowel sounds are slightly different.

The good news is with multisensory techniques, these obstacles can be overcome. Here are some tips:

- Use letter tiles or blocks to let students match vowels to pictures. The association helps cement the sound.
- Incorporate songs and chants to make practice fun. The melody embeds the sounds.
- Relate vowels to mouth shapes using mirrors. Open mouth = /a/, tall mouth = /i/.
- Contrast vowel pairs like /a/ and /e/. Hearing the difference helps discrimination.
- Note words where vowels make their name sound, like /a/ in lake.
- Keep drilling vowel sounds daily in learning centers until mastery.

With activities like these, students can unlock the patterns that connect vowels to their sounds. Soon Olamide will be able to confidently blend words like D-I-G independently. And Adesuwa will proudly sing the vowel song with her classmates.

If you need more support to get learners connecting letters and sounds, turn to our Mastering Phonics program. This bundle provides targeted lessons, printable games, and activities explicitly designed to teach the foundations of reading including vowel mastery.

Equip yourself to help every student master the letter-sound code this year!

Enjoy this post?

Buy Samuel Efre a pizza

More from Samuel Efre