Before a child can read words, we teach them the alphabet. We begin by teaching them the names of the letters and 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 straight forward phonetic sounds.
To make it as easy as possible for a child to learn to read, we usually begin by using CVC words. Having a CVC word list will keep you on point when teaching reading to your child.
- CVC words are made of consonant-vowel-consonant and have short vowel sounds.
- Learning CVC words helps build confidence and enthusiasm for reading in children.
- Examples of CVC words: 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 is one that begins with a consonant, has a vowel in the middle, and then 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, hag, 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, pup, rug, tug
- um: bum, gum, hum, mum, sum, 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 together 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. So, you might have a sheet that has a picture of a pig and underneath it 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 onto the end sounds and use the same principle, but in reverse. So now your sheet will read pi___. The third stage is to have them fill in the blanks using the middle letter.
After your child has mastered this skill, you can move onto 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
There are many interesting and engaging ways you can use a CVC words list with your children or students.
Reading in Pairs
Pair up your children, placing a child with more confidence with a child who is less confident. 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 read.
CVC Word Review
At the end of a lesson, give your children a blank sheet 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.
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.
Either print out a list of CVC words and cut them up or write the words 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.
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 a large number of the words.
As you read, your children will highlight each CVC word they hear you say.
CVC Words At The Forefront Of Learning
CVC words can be found frequently in early reader books. Using a CVC word list not only encourages your children to learn individual words, but it equips them with the skills to begin reading those early reader books themselves.
Print them out, decorate your room, create worksheets and games, but whatever you do, celebrate CVC words and their role in raising readers.