In Kindergarten, it is imperative that our students be able to sound-out, read and write CVC words. One skill these students must have before they can be fluent with this is the ability to figure out, differentiate between and produce medial vowel sounds. This is a really tough skill for Kindergarten kids and it is one that should be practiced often to ensure mastery. I like to provide medial vowel practice, throughout the year, with a variety of vowel sounds!
I like to introduce this lesson in a whole group setting; however, students practice this skill in teams of two during center time.
"Today, we are going to learn about one specific vowel sound that we will find in the middle of many CVC words. As you know, CVC words can have a, e, i, o and u in the middle. Today, we are going to talk about words that have i, or the sound /i/, in the middle. Now, tell me what sound I would hear in the middle of a word if it had an i..."
(Students will say, "I in the middle would sound like /i/.")
"Great! Yes! We are going to listen for words that have /i/ in the middle. We are going to sort between two categories- words that have /i/ in the middle and words that do not! Let me show you how I would do this!"
"Here are our two titles- /i/ in the middle or no /i/. (think aloud) Let me read this word slowly and listen for the /i/ sound. P-I-G... pig. Hmmm... I do hear /i/ in the middle of pig. I will put the pig under the title that says /i/ in the middle. Let me try another one. S-U-N... sun. Hmmm... I do not hear /i/ in the middle of sun. I hear /u/ in the middle of sun. That means I should put it under the title that says no /i/."
"Now, let's see if you can help me. This card has a fish. Say it slowly to a partner."
(Students should say, "F-I-SH... fish.")
"Alright, based on what you just heard from your partner, did you hear /i/ in the middle?
(Students should say, "Yes, fish has /i/ in the middle.")
"Great work! Let's do another one! My card now is ball. Who can say it slowly for all of us?"
(I call on a student who I can depend on to sound this out slowly and correctly.)
"Alright, based on _____'s sounding-out, does ball have /i/ in the middle?"
(Students should say, "No, ball does not have /i/ in the middle.")
"You guys are so smart!"
"Now, I am going to give each pair of you one card. One person is going to sound-out the word very slowly. The other person is going to place the card under the heading for either /i/ in the middle or no /i/."
Students already have partners set up in my classroom, so moving to pairs is done very quickly. I give the better reader in each partnership the card so they can read it slowly.
As students are reading, giving their sentences and placing their cards, I listen and watch. I am looking for students to praise and students to re-teach in the moment.
After all cards have been placed, I read each choice aloud to the class. If a pair of students made a choice that was incorrect, I allow them to move their card and tell me why they had to move it and how they know their answer is now correct. This is part of the process that holds them accountable for always getting the correct answer; even if not on the first try!
I have my students play this sorting game a few times within a two-week period. I love to have different rotations for a few minutes per day with all of the medial vowels.
I also have my students practice sounding out all types of CVC words as we travel to and from lunch, the playground, etc. to get extra practice!
This is an activity that I love to put into a center. It is one that gets students stretching out words, classifying words by medial vowels, and explaining their answers to their partners.
This activity is also one that I can add to. I love to add different types of words, especially longer ones, to this sorting game. Also, I can add another title to the game- by the end of the year, I have one sort for each vowel and another few sorts with multiple vowels (this one turns into an /i/, /u/ and not /i/ or /u/ sort later on in the year)!