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Teaching CVC Words Made Simple with A Muffin Pan!

Teachers begin teaching CVC words in kindergarten, once children have learned their letters and sounds.

CVC stands for consonant vowel consonant. These words are the simplest words to sound out aka decode.

Here are four CVC word games for kindergarten from least to most difficult. All of them use a muffin pan and CVC words with pictures.

*As an Amazon affiliate, I may get a small commission for purchases made through links in this post.

Want a CVC words list with printable pictures?

Check out my shop to get my CVC words with pictures.pdf.

  • Comes with 30 printable CVC word pictures
  • Pictures are black and white for easy printing
  • Corresponding cvc word list
  • CVC pictures are sorted by vowel sound for easy sorting
  • Use for this an many other CVC word games!
Printable CVC words with pictures pdf

Supplies you'll need...

  1. CVC words with pictures - get mine above
  2. 12 Cup Muffin Pan- we use this GoodCook one for all our CVC word building + baking needs
  3. Magnetic letters -Coogam makes our favorite soft foam letters that come with a white board and carrying case

Teaching CVC words: 1 Setup 4 ways to Play

1. Missing Beginning Sounds - Early Kindergarten Level

teaching cvc words with pictures

For this activity in particular, I recommend using words from the AT Word Family for the most beginning readers. The AT Word Family is one of the very first word families children are taught to read.

Not only do kids practice their beginning sound knowledge with this game, they also are building awareness of the other sounds in the word.

The beauty of the muffin pan is that it breaks down each word into 3 components: the CVC -consonant, vowel, consonant parts. Similarly to a story, each word has its beginning, middle, and end.

To play, place each CVC word's picture by the corresponding line on the muffin pan. Point out how the middle and ending sounds are there, but the beginning sound is missing.

First have your child choose a beginning sound matching the picture.. Then model how to sound out the word: /b/ /a/ /g/. Finally, blend the sounds together to make the whole CVC word.

It's okay if your child cannot yet blend the sounds together.

Having you model pointing to each letter from left to right while saying the sound will greatly enhance their understanding of the steps it takes to read a word.

2. Teaching CVC words with Missing Ending Sounds-Middle Kindergarten Level

In this version, everything is the same except the ending sounds missing from the CVC words.

It might seem we have gone a bit out of order by skipping the middle sounds. However, middle sounds are the most difficult to isolate since vowels are similar in sound.

Have your kindergartner isolate the ending sound of the word, then find the matching letter and complete the word. Don't stop just there! Point to each letter from left to right and sound out the word before blending the sounds together to make the complete CVC word.

Teaching CVC words in kindergarten is a snap when you break it down letter by letter.

In the example, kids are given the four letters that are the correct ending sounds. But, if you're child is ready for a challenge, you can include more letters (up to 10) for them to choose from!

If you're looking for more ending sounds activities that kids will love to get their hands on, try these.

3. Teaching CVC words with Middle Sounds- Middle to End Kindergarten Level

teaching cvc words middle sounds

Isolating middle sounds to complete the CVC words is a trickier skill to practice. This is because vowels have multiple sounds and often sound similar for young learners.

Accordingly, we stick to teaching CVC words with short vowel sounds: bat, rat, dog, fog first. Kids wait until first grade to practice words like car and for (where the vowels don't make their short vowel sound.)

In kindergarten we teach kids two ways to isolate and listen for the middle sounds in CVC words:

  1. Segment the word aka break the word into parts: /c/ /a/ /t/
  2. Lengthen the word by stretching it to hear what's in the middle: "CAAAAAAAAAT"

One of my favorite strategies for stretching out the word is to speak "Whale" like Dory in Finding Nemo. Certainly, if your child has seen that movie, they'll know just what to do. Really stretch out the CVC word and listen for the middle sound.

Like with ending sounds, you can offer just the 4 missing middles or give them a chance to pick out the right ones out of all the letters!

To learn more about isolating beginning, middle, and ending sounds, check out these sound isolation activities.

4. Independently Build CVC words

spelling cvc words independently using muffin pan

In my house, I'm known for sitting around with my Cup Of Noodles. So my kids' dubbed this version of the game: Cup of Wordles.

This activity is the culmination of teaching CVC words in kindergarten! The kids have to build the entire word themselves. It's still very simple since there are only 4 words to build at a time, and the kids have the letters to choose from.

In 4 cups, I put the letters needed to make each of the words. Then I place each cup in the beginning sound spot of the muffin pan.

Kids choose a cup and unscramble the letters in it to make the word on the matching CVC word picture card. Then, they check their work by sounding out the letters to read the CVC word.

The Cup of Wordles title is just another engaging way to engage the kids in play. They could be bakers, chefs, or home cooks in the kitchen using their letter ingredients to make delicious words.

Teaching CVC words in kindergarten is easy with these hands-on games...

Now that you have your CVC words with pictures, why not practice some more reading? Your kindergartener will thank you for playing these simple and fun CVC word games.

How to teach CVC words
May 4, 2021

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