I love changing my kindergarten literacy centers each month to keep my students engaged. Even though we might be working on the same concepts over and over, new activities seem to spark interest all over again. I created the Short ‘a’ CVC Words Build-a-Word Activity for Kindergarten to help them master short ‘a’ words. This cvc words activity is a great way for young children to practice in small groups or independently.

– Life Over C's Short A CVC words building cards

Recommended Grade Level:

Materials for the CVC Word Building Task Cards

  • Paper
  • Laminating Materials
  • Paper Cutter
  • Dry Erase Marker
  • Task Card Box

Early Literacy in Preschool and Kindergarten:

learning cvc words in kindergarten
SHORT VOWEL SOUNDS ARE A GREAT PLACE TO START WITH YOUNG READERS. THEY CAN PRACTICE CONSONANT LETTER SOUNDS AND GAIN FLUENCY.

Building CVC (consonant/vowel/consonant) words with pictures helps students make valuable connections: Sounds to letters, letters to words, and words to pictures!

Before placing the picture cards and letters at the literacy center, I would be sure students know exactly what to do and have already had a lot of supervised practice with word building.

The simple CVC words listed in this activity provide the repetition that students need to gain fluency in reading CVC words with pictures.

Short ‘a’ words included in the free printable CVC words list include:

  • bag
  • cab
  • can
  • cap
  • dad
  • dam
  • sad
  • sax
  • fan
  • gas
  • hat
  • jam
  • lab
  • mad
  • van
  • wax
  • map
  • nap
  • pad
  • pan
  • rag
  • rat
  • yak
  • yam

The short ‘a’ words list includes eleven short ‘a’ word families: /ag/, /ab/, /an/, /ap/, /ad/, /am/, /ad/, /ax/, /as/, /at/, /ak/

The free literacy center for kindergarten includes a color version as well as a black and white copy of the entire activity.

– Life Over C's Short A CVC words activity

What Can Kindergarteners Learn By Practicing CVC Words?

READING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
WORD BUILDING AND OTHER CVC WORD GAMES ENABLE ORTHOGRAPHIC MAPPING TO OCCUR IN THE BRAIN.

Orthographic mapping is what happens in the brain when we can look at a word and automatically recall the letter-sound relationships to decode the word with ease.

Children need LOTS of practice to create automaticity in their brains. Word family activities help young readers gain fluency in blending common patterns.

Engaging literacy activities that provide opportunities for students to break words into individual sounds, and then match the sounds to the letter(s), are key to developing early reading skills.

– Life Over C's Short A CVC word list

Why Is It Important For Kids To Build Words?

Using CVC picture cards to build words creates valuable connections in the brain. Hands-on letter manipulations have so many benefits!

Enhances Decoding: The steps in word-building teach the process of sounding out unfamiliar words by saying each phoneme and then blending them together.

Teaches Sequencing Sounds: Breaking apart words into individual sounds is an important component of early reading. Repeated practice ensures students can easily segment sounds and tackle more complex letter combinations in the future.

Promotes Spelling: As children become more fluent in letter-sound correspondence, those skills transfer to writing/spelling words.

Precedes Writing: Word building can start before many children have the fine motor skills to write letters. It forms valuable background knowledge of letter shapes/formations to use later on.

How To Use Short ‘a’ CVC Words Build-a-Word Activity for Kindergarten

BUILDING SHORT-A WORDS IN KINDERGARTEN
STUDENTS WILL BE EXCITED TO EXPLORE THIS SHORT VOWEL WORD FAMILY!

To prepare the activity:

First, print the picture cards and letters. I included both a color version and a black-and-white version. You might want your students to do the coloring!

Next, cut the picture cards and the letter cards.

Finally, laminate the sets for durability and cut them again. Store them in baggies or a photo box for easy use.

To play:

  1. Pick a card and name the picture.
  2. Segment the sounds in the word by pointing to each box as you name each sound.
  3. Find the corresponding letters for each sound and place one letter in each box.
  4. Blend the word together, and repeat.
– Life Over C's Short A reading practice cards

Extend the Activity:

Use Letter Tiles

Instead of cutting the individual letters for each word, use letter tiles.

Use Dry Erase Markers

Students who are ready to practice writing the letters can write the letters in the boxes instead of choosing a letter.

Attach Letters

Avoid letter spills by using hook-and-loop dots in each sound box as well as on the back of each letter. Students will build fine motor muscles by attaching/removing each letter.

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– Life Over C's Short A CVC words building cards
– Life Over C's Short A CVC words building cards
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Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion. 

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