When you shop through links on our site, we may receive compensation. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

CVC Word List: And 5 Ways to Use Them

Discover what CVC words are and how you can teach them.

Before a child can read words, we teach them the alphabet. We begin by teaching them the names of the letters. Once they have mastered that, we teach the sounds the letters make. This is the phonetic alphabet.

Once a child knows the phonetic alphabet, they can begin sounding out words. However, English is a complex language with many confusing rules. Certain combinations of letters change the sound they make from their straightforward phonetic sounds.

To make it as easy as possible for a child to learn to read, we usually begin by using CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words. Having a CVC word list will keep you on point when teaching reading to your child.

Key Takeaways

  • CVC words are made of a consonant-vowel-consonant format with short vowel sounds.
  • Learning CVC words helps children build confidence and enthusiasm for reading.
  • Examples of CVC words are cat, bed, pig, box, and cup.
  • Practice reading CVC words by segmenting and blending the individual letter sounds.

What Is A CVC Word?

A CVC word begins with a consonant, has a vowel in the middle, and has another consonant at the end. The vowel sound in the middle is always a short vowel sound (1).

So, consonant, vowel, consonant = CVC.

Why are CVC words important?

These three-letter words are the ones your child first learns to read. They are the easiest words to learn because they do not have any of the complex letter sounds or rules of other words.

Each letter of a CVC word is a “short” letter, and it makes the same sound it does in the phonetic alphabet (2).

By learning to read CVC words first, your child has the opportunity to be successful in sounding out words. This builds confidence in their reading skills and promotes enthusiasm for reading. These CVC word lists can be used when teaching reading to your child.

Short A Words

  • ab: cab, dab, gab, jab, lab, nab, tab
  • ad: bad, dad, had, lad, mad, pad, sad, tad
  • ag: bag, gag, lag, nag, rag, sag, tag, wag
  • am: bam, dam, ham, jam, ram, yam
  • an: ban, can, fan, man, pan, ran, tan, van
  • ap: cap, gap, lap, map, nap, rap, sap, tap, yap, zap
  • at: bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat, sat, vat
  • ax: fax, lax, max, sax, tax, wax
  • Other short A CVC words: gal, pal, gas, yak, bath, math

Short E Words

  • eb: web
  • ed: bed, fed, led, red, wed
  • eg: beg, keg, leg, Meg, peg
  • em: gem, hem
  • en: den, hen, men, pen, ten
  • et: get, jet, met, net, pet, set, vet, wet
  • Other short E CVC words: yes, pep, hex

Short I Words

  • ib: bib, rib
  • id: bid, did, hid, kid, lid, rid
  • ig: big, dig, fig, gig, pig, rig, wig, zig
  • im: dim, him, rim
  • in: bin, din, fin, pin, sin, tin, win
  • ip: dip, hip, lip, nip, rip, sip, tip, zip
  • it: bit, fit, hit, kit, lit, pit, sit, wit
  • ix: fix, mix, six
  • Other short I CVC words: hill, pill, fish, dish

Short O Words

  • ob: bob, cob, fob, hob, job, lob, mob, rob, sob
  • od: cod, god, nod, pod, rod, sod
  • og: bog, cog, dog, fog, hog, jog, log
  • om: mom
  • op: cop, hop, mop, pop, top
  • ot: cot, dot, got, hot, jot, lot, not, pot, rot, tot
  • ox: box, fox, pox

Short U Words

  • ub: cub, dub, hub, nub, pub, rub, sub, tub
  • ud: bud, cud, dud, mud
  • ug: bug, dug, hug, jug, lug, mug, pug, rug, tug
  • um: bum, gum, hum, mum, yum
  • un: bun, fun, gun, nun, pun, run, sun
  • up: cup, pup
  • us: bus
  • ut: but, cut, gut, hut, jut, nut, put, rut, tut
  • ux: tux

How Do You Read CVC Words?

You read CVC words by segmenting and blending them.

This means you:

  • Split up each of the letters, which is segmenting them.
  • Make the sounds of the individual letters.
  • Blend those sounds to make the entire word.

Once a child can recognize individual letters and the sounds they make, they will be able to begin decoding CVC words.

Start by concentrating on the beginning sounds. For this, you could use a worksheet that has a picture of an item and the last two letters of the word. For example, you might have a sheet with a picture of a pig, and underneath reads ___ig.

You then encourage your child to say the word and concentrate on the first sound, in this case, the P. Finally, your child writes the P in the gap, and they can read the entire word — pig.

Next, you move on to the end sounds, using the same principle but in reverse. So now your sheet will read pi___. The third stage is to have the child fill in the blanks using the middle letter.

After your child has mastered this skill, you can move on to sheets where they write two letters. So the sheet would say ___ ___ g. And then, again, you would do the same thing but require them to insert the end of the word p ___ ___.

Finally, after they’ve mastered the prior exercise, you’d have your child write the entire word.

Ways to Use CVC Word Lists With Your Students

You can use a CVC word list with your children or students in many interesting and engaging ways.

Reading in Pairs

Pair up your children, placing a confident reader with a less confident reader. Have them take turns reading the CVC words on the list.

Encourage each child to sound out the individual letters and then blend the letters to make the words.

If each child has a CVC word list, they can cross out the words they’ve read.

CVC Word Review

Give your children a blank sheet at the end of a lesson, and have them write down as many of the CVC words as they remember.

You can do the same thing by giving your children CVC word lists with some of the words on them and asking the children to write down words that rhyme.

Spelling Dictation

You can also use CVC words to introduce spelling practice.

To do this, you read words from the CVC list aloud, and your children write them down.

Reading Flashcards

Print out a list of CVC words and cut them up or write them out on individual cards.

You can use these flashcards in a number of ways:

  • Have your children turn them over and read the words aloud.
  • Make another set of the CVC word flashcards, lay them face down, and play Memory.
  • Print out an even number of sets of CVC flashcards and use them to play Go-Fish.

Highlighter Quiz

Give each of your children a copy of the CVC word list and a highlighter pen. Then, either read words aloud from the list or read a story that contains many of the words.

Your children will highlight each CVC word they hear you say as you read.

Feedback: Was This Article Helpful?
Thank You For Your Feedback!
Thank You For Your Feedback!
What Did You Like?
What Went Wrong?
Headshot of Patricia Barnes

About the Author

Patricia Barnes

Patricia Barnes is a homeschooling mom of 5 who has been featured on Global TV, quoted in Parents magazine, and writes for a variety of websites and publications. Doing her best to keep it together in a life of constant chaos, Patti would describe herself as an eclectic mess maker, lousy crafter, book lover, autism mom, and insomniac.