Early readers practice important phonemic awareness and phonics skills as they actively listen to words read aloud. Online activities engage students in building storybooks, help students connect sounds to letters, and enhance students' reading vocabulary.
- Recognize long vowel sounds by reading and listening to a story that highlights select words
- Identify words with long vowel sounds
- Construct a story by actively choosing words
- Use picture clues to aid comprehension
- Match words with the same vowel sounds
- Read-aloud book featuring words with long vowel sounds
- Clifford Interactive Storybooks: Phonics Fun for Early Readers student activities
- Emily Elizabeth Goes to School: A Clifford Interactive Storybook Activity
- Concentration: A Clifford Interactive Storybook Activity
- Computer(s) with internet access
- Whiteboard or chart paper and markers
- Optional: LCD or overhead projector to display storybook activities
- Optional: Headphones for student use
- Select a book to read to the class that features words with long vowel sounds. Choose a book from one of the Clifford phonics collections or a classic such as Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, Clifford's Puppy Days, The Bike Lesson, New Shoes for Sylvia, or The Troll Music.
- Bookmark the Clifford Interactive Storybooks on the computers students will use.
- If students have limited access to computers, print activity screens and or plan to project the activities for everyone to view as a class.
Step 1: Read aloud the book you choose that features words with long vowel sounds.
Step 2: Explain to students how slight differences in a word's spelling can affect its vowel sound. Demonstrate this point by listing on the chalkboard word pairs such as rat/rate, bit/bite, cot/coat, fed/feed, and cub/cube. Have volunteers read each word pair, noting the different vowel sounds each word in the pair makes. Guide them to recognize that just one added letter changed the vowel sound from short to long. Point out that sometimes the letter is added to the end, like the e in bite. And other times, it's a letter in the middle like a in read. Repeat the vowel sounds in each pair and identify them as having a short or long vowel sound.
Step 3: Take students to the first page of the Emily Elizabeth Goes to School student activity. Read the first two sentences and model for students how to click the speaker icon next to the words to hear them read aloud.
Step 4: If you are working through the activity as a class, continue doing so. If students are working independently, have students click the icon to hear the third sentence read aloud.
Step 5: Explain to students that they need to choose one of the three words in the circles to put into the story. They can click each word to hear the choices and see an illustration. Have students identify the vowels in each word choice and the vowel sounds those letters make. Did students recognize that all three words have the ea spelling pattern? Were they able to identify the long /e/ sound? What other words produce the long /e/ sound? Record student responses on the whiteboard or chart paper. Discuss other letter combinations that can produce the same sound, such as ee in feed.
Step 6: Repeat the same process with the following story pages. Help students recognize that all three word choices on a page have the same long vowel sound, but that the words have different spelling patterns (e.g., the silent e at the end of space and ai in the middle of rain and snails). For each storybook page, compare and contrast the spelling patterns in the word choices.
Step 7: Keep a list of all the word choices students have in the storybook as well as any new words they suggested with similar spelling patterns.
Step 1: Review the list of words created the day before.
Step 2: Working in pairs at the computers (or together as a class), have students go to Concentration: A Clifford Interactive Storybook Activity. Students can click the speaker icon to hear the instructions. If necessary, model how to play the game by clicking the cards to make a match of words with the same long vowel sound.
Step 3: As they play the game, encourage students to identify the spelling patterns of the words that have the same vowel sounds. Have them think of other words that have those sounds and how they are spelled.
- Assign small groups a long vowel sound. Have groups search for objects in the classroom whose names contain the long vowel sound and record their finding on a sheet of paper. Have groups share their findings with the rest of the class.
- Using chalk, create several large hopscotch boards on a paved area of your playground (or use masking tape on the classroom floor). In each section, write a long vowel sound-spelling (examples: ay, ee, ea, oi) you want to review. Then read aloud a word. Students hop to the space on the hopscotch board that contains that word's vowel sound and spelling.
- Provide students with a set of word cards. Have them sort the word cards first in any way they choose, such as word length or beginning consonant. Then suggest they sort the words by long vowel sound and/or long vowel sound-spelling. Be sure that the words you provide can be sorted in more than one way. For example, use words containing the long /a/ sound spelled a_e, ai, and ay.
- Were students able to identify the long vowel sound for the word choices on each storybook page?
- Did they successfully identify other words with the same short vowel sound?
- Were students able to identify the long vowel sounds for objects in the Concentration: A Clifford Interactive Storybook Activity?
- Could they match words with the same long vowel sounds?
To further assess knowledge of long-vowel-sound spellings:
- Create a contrast word sheet (e.g., cut/cute, rod/road, red/read).
- Individually test students as they read the words on the sheet. Note sound-spellings they struggle with by marking a photocopy of the sheet as each student reads.
- Provide additional instruction on the sound-spellings students struggle with.
While students enjoy Clifford Interactive Storybooks, they will be participating in activities that correlate with many of the national standards for reading and language arts. The relevant standards for reading instruction as set forth by the National Council of Teachers of English include:
- Students demonstrate competence in general skills and strategies of the reading process. Students:
- Understand that print conveys meaning
- Use picture clues to aid comprehension
- Decode unknown words using basic elements of phonetic analysis
- Read aloud familiar stories
Listed below are the specific phonics skills covered in each of the Clifford Interactive Storybooks:
- Where Is Emily? — initial consonants
- Clifford's Big Dig — confusable letter pairs
- Here, Clifford! — short vowels
- Emily Elizabeth Goes to School — long vowels