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How to Teach CVC Words, 11 Fun Ways!

Wondering how to teach CVC words to beginning readers? Let's do it with 11 fun games. CVC words are consonant-vowel-consonant words. These phonetically spelled words are the building blocks of kindergarten reading and writing.

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Top tips for teaching CVC words to kids 4-6:

  1. Start working with one vowel at a time, words with "a" in the middle are a good start
  2. Make it a game to encourage lots of repetition and practice
  3. Find CVC words in books as you're reading and give your child the opportunity to read a few of them.
  4. Practice blending sounds together in addition to sounding out letters
  5. Model how to sound out words, pointing to each letter and then blending the sounds

What's a CVC word?

CVC stands for consonant-vowel-consonant. These are the first words that kids read by decoding, otherwise known as sounding out. By the end of kindergarten all kids are expected to read all CVC words that use all vowels, except irregular ones like words that end in "r."

CVC words make sense to kindergarten readers, because they are phonetic (sound as they're spelled). Examples of CVC words include Bob, mat, kit, peg, fog, gum.

Which CVC Words should I teach first?

Most children learn "a" as their first vowel. For that reason I recommend teaching kids to sound out CVC words that have an "a" in the middle first. Stick with one word family like the -am, -an, -ad, or -at word family (you'll want these freebies).

11 Fabulously Fun Ways to Teach CVC Words:

The first 8 activities are best for how to teach CVC words to beginners. Activities 8-11 focus on how to teach CVC word families and are better for children who are sounding CVC words out with independence.

1. How to Teach CVC Words with A Muffin Pan

All you need are letters, a muffin pan, and these epic picture cards for 4 ways to play. You can grab the cvc words list with pictures here.

how to teach cvc words activity with a muffin pan

2. Stack and Read CVC Word Challenge

My most reluctant readers love this game so much, they don't even know I've tricked them into reading CVC words. Seriously, this is in my top 3 games I've ever made! Kids stack the CVC word paper cups in different configurations based on the pictures.

I've made 5 sets of challenges, one for CVC words of each vowel sound and 2 bonus sets for those readers who are ready for the /sh/ and /ch/ sounds.

Get stacking!

3. Magnetic Bingo Chip Reading with CVC Words

When I discovered magnetic bingo chips, I nearly lost my mind. This is one of the most engaging ways I have used for how to teach CVC words. Print out the FREE CVC words cards. Then place one magnetic bingo chip on each dot. Finally give your child their magnetic wand to touch each of the chips with as they sound out the word. Viola!

teaching cvc words with bingo chips and wand

4. The Hidden Object CVC Words Game

Where could it be? Read the word and lift the cup. This hands on reading game is perfect for beginners, since you can play with as many or as few CVC words as you'd like, preventing visual overwhelm!

teaching cvc words with the hidden object game

5. Crack the Secret Code with CVC Words: brings this hands on game where kids have to find the beginning sound for each picture to crack the code. Once the pictures are complete, they reveal a CVC word at the bottom. How fun!

6. Real or Silly: Making CVC words

An important part of how to teach CVC words is not just blending the words but for children to understand the word they just read. In this magnetic letter game, kids will make their own CVC words and determine whether they're real words or silly words.

The Coogam magnet letters are perfect to use when teaching CVC words, because the vowels are red and the consonants are blue, making it really easy for children to make their own CVC words.

how to teach real and silly cvc words

For additional practice with nonsense CVC words, you have got to check out this video version of the Real or Silly word game by the extremely silly Mr. B's brain.

7. Splat the CVC Word Gross Motor Game

Got a wiggly kid in need of reading practice? They'll love this SPLAT the CVC word game as you call out CVC words and they make them go SPLAT! Use 5 words with beginners and increase as they build fluency (that means are able to read faster).

How to teach CVC words to wiggly kids

8. Match the Picture and CVC word game

Rather than matching CVCs on a worksheet, let's make it FUN! Grab your free CVC words with pictures HERE and play a classic game of memory or give each student one card and have them find their partner! There are so many ways to practice reading CVC words with these pictures and words.

cvc word and picture matching cards

9. Post-it Matching Game: How to Teach CVC Word Families

Kids love any kind of activity where they get to go on a "hunt," right? So if you've got an active kiddo, this is JUST how to teach CVC words so they'll be super into it. First hide the Post-its around the house or classroom; then have your child find them and return them to the home base.

how to teach cvc word families with post its

10. CVC Word Families Duplo Sort

Write CVC words in from 3 different word families on dot stickers, then place the stickers on the Duplos. Next, hide the Duplo bricks around the house and have your little one find them.

Then comes the reading part. Each brick must be sorted with the ones in its word family. Once all the bricks in the family are reunited, build a tower with them to complete the game.

using duplos for how to teach cvc word families

11. Word Family Snowball Toss by

This fun game is's take on how to teach CVC words, and it is ridiculously fun. You're going to need some ping pong balls and containers to try to match the words on the ping pong balls to the word family cups.

When is my child ready to start reading CVC words?

Children usually begin reading CVC words in kindergarten, when they are 4-6 years old. This can sometimes happen earlier or a little later. A lot of the "when" is based on when children are exposed to things such as letters and sounds, and also when they begin to master phonemic awareness skills (the ability to manipulate sounds like isolate the first sounds in words).

What are good books that teach CVC words?

My favorite book series for beginning readers that I recommend to every family are the Bob books. Their books are truly decodable, so there are no tricky words that make kids confused.

I cannot recommend the BOB series enough because the books are simple, short, and not too many words on the page. They combine CVC words and sight words to create fun and easy to follow stories kids enjoy.

I use these books for all my kindergarteners and my own child. Have you found a series of decodable readers you like to use for teaching CVC words?

May 7, 2021

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