Teaching CVC words to kindergarten students and making sure they know how to read these CVC words is a fundamental part of the modern-day kindergarten experience. In this blog, I will share 4 ways you can use sound boxes to teach CVC words for sound segmenting and blending.
Be sure to read till the end because I’ll share a bonus tip that can be used to really capture the attention of your kindergarteners who would rather run around outside than learn how to read CVC words!
How To Teach CVC Words
Altogether, making sure your students know how to read at grade level involves various skills. The foundation of these skills is having a firm understanding of how words can be changed through sound deletion and manipulation. Generally, children learn to do this through songs, rhymes, and poems and this is done even before reading is introduced.
When children have a basic understanding of how to play with sounds or phonemic awareness, they can then pair those sounds with their written representations. However, remember that not all children will be ready at the same time to learn this skill, nor will they all be able to learn at the same pace or in the same manner. Therefore, differentiating your instruction is very important. Specifically, watching your kids and taking observational notes will give you important information on how your students prefer to learn and where they are in their literacy development.
Then, after all that groundwork, you know your students are ready to learn to read simple CVC words. Your lesson plan for teaching CVC words may include a common strategy seen in kindergarten classrooms – Elkonin boxes or sound boxes.
What are sound boxes?
Sound boxes are an instructional strategy for teaching CVC words in kindergarten and other phonics skills that break down a word into its phonemes or sounds.
To begin with, this strategy helps children connect the sound they are saying with the written text. Therefore, it is important for children to have a firm foundation in phonemic awareness before learning phonics. For example, think of it as building a house with a firm foundation. Phonemic awareness is the firm foundation for other skills that we call reading.
There are many ways teachers can use sound boxes to help children understand CVC words. Above all, we’ll aim to make sure our teaching approach is grounded in what our kids do best – Play!
Teaching CVC Words With Playdough Push
A fun way of having children learn CVC words is to bring in playdough. As a matter of fact, there are a couple of ways this can be done. One way is to place the word above the boxes and have children place a bit of playdough in each box to represent the sound said. Another way is to place the word above and the playdough in the boxes then have children push each playdough piece when they say the sound. Additionally, you can use different color playdough to represent each different sound. This serves as a visual cue for children who may need or benefit from another prompt when learning to read CVC words. Then, they can push the sounds together to read the word.
Letters and Boxes
The standard way of using these boxes is quite simple and straightforward. Especially because you can simply have your students place each letter in the box to show the sounds said. In order to do this, you can use magnetic letters, laminated letters, wooden letters, mini eraser letters, or have them write the letters in the boxes. Obviously, each option has children physically placing the letters in the boxes. Either place the word above so that children are matching the letters as they say the sound or have them place the letters without a visual aid. However, the method you choose should depend on the child that is in front of you. It is always important to remember to play to the needs and strengths of your students.
Smartboard Sound Boxes For Teaching CVC Words
Using technology has become a permanent part of our classrooms. However, this is not all bad. FOr example, you can use your smartboard to help your students learn how to read CVC words. During circle time, dedicate 1-2 minutes to a quick activity using words being taught or as revision for words already learned. Then, have children come up to move digital marks to the boxes while the class segments the word by saying each sound together. Finally, they can blend all of the sounds together to read.
Sound box Vehicles For Teaching CVC Words
Another option is practicing CVC segmenting and blending with toy vehicles! Print out CVC words and sound boxes. Allow your children to drive their cars and trucks or land their airplanes or helicopters on each box. Then when they land, they say the sound. Additionally, they can use their vehicle to run along the bottom of the word and blend the sounds together to read.
Bonus Tip for Teaching CVC Words: Sound Box Races
You know I can’t leave you without a bonus tip! Since I always had very active classes, I knew I needed to occasionally switch things up. So instead of letting them run me ragged trying to contain their energy, I planned ahead. We loved activities that could be done in the gym or outside on the playground and teaching blending CVC words sound boxes are no different.
To begin with, take some blue painter’s tape or whatever kind of tape you like and create simple sound boxes. Next, Divide your class into teams and be sure to mix abilities well. Also, have a list of cvc words your students are learning or have already learned. Then, place the teams on one side of the gym or playground and the sound boxes on the other. When you say go or blow the whistle, a member from each team runs to the words, places the letters in the boxes, says each sound, and reads the word to you out loud before running back. Then, you can reset the words and the next person goes.
Now Here Are Some Tips:
Be sure to read through the words with the class before you start the races. This primes everyone.
Encourage collaboration by having a collective score for the class.
Choose a few words to read together to close the game as a nice wrap-up.
Have a fun treat for everyone because everyone participated and did their best!
Now I know you’re always looking for ways to improve your practice. So be sure to click this video here to brush up on Phonemic Awareness and see how it can help you teach your students to become better readers.