Vowel teams, also known as long vowels, are pairs or groups of vowels that work together to make a single sound. Examples of vowel teams include ai, ea, ee, oa, and ui. Teaching vowel teams can be a bit challenging for first graders, but with the right strategies and activities, they can master this concept in no time.
Here are some tips for teaching vowel teams to first graders:
- Introduce each vowel team one at a time. Don’t overwhelm your students with too many vowel teams at once. Start by introducing one vowel team, such as ai, and spend several days practicing words that contain that vowel team.
- Use visual aids. Visual aids can help students remember the different vowel teams. For example, you can create posters or flashcards with pictures of words that contain each vowel team.
- Practice, practice, practice. Repetition is key when it comes to teaching vowel teams. Encourage your students to practice reading and writing words that contain the vowel team you are currently focusing on.
- Play games. Games are a fun way to reinforce the concept of vowel teams. For example, you can play a matching game where students match pictures of words with the correct vowel team. Here’s a great set of inexpensive phonics games that focuses on long vowels and vowel teams.
- Read books that contain words with vowel teams. Reading books that contain words with vowel teams can help students see these vowel teams in context. Encourage your students to identify the vowel teams as they read.
- Use technology. There are many online games and apps that can help students practice identifying and using vowel teams.
Here are some examples of activities you can use to teach vowel teams:
- Create a vowel sound chart with your students, showing the various ways of spelling a vowel sound and a key word/picture as a memory jogger. Create a copy, cut it up into cards then have students do a word/picture sort, recreating the chart
- Write all the vowels, w, y and gh on cards in one colour. Write consonants on cards in another colour. Pass out the cards to students. Call out a word and ask the students wearing the required letters to stand in order to spell the word. Who will be part of the vowel team representing the vowel sound will be a source of discussion. This activity emphasises the need for a team effort.
- create a reading or spelling slide show with each slide showing the vowel teams for a particular sound with an image for each, e.g. one little girl in love with all things “Frozen” chose as her long ‘o’ images: snow for ‘ow’, Olaf for ‘o’, and the advertising picture for the Frozen movie for ‘o-e’.
Here are some examples of words you can use to teach vowel teams:
- For the ai vowel team, use words such as rain, train, and mail.
- For the ea vowel team, use words such as leaf, beach, and read.
- For the ee vowel team, use words such as feet, bee, and deep.
- For the oa vowel team, use words such as boat, toad, and road.
- For the ui vowel team, use words such as fruit, juice, and suit.
Teaching vowel teams can be challenging, but with the right strategies and activities, your first graders can become experts in no time. Remember to take it one vowel team at a time, use visual aids and repetition, and make it fun by incorporating games and technology.
If you’re looking for information on teaching short vowels CLICK HERE.
If you’re looking for ways to help with planning a structured literacy lesson CLICK HERE.