"Park your car in Harvard Yard." This famous phrase will test if you're a true Bostonian- those vowel sounds will get ya!
Oh yes, vowels: The way we pronounce vowels can change the meaning of a word (bow 🎀 vs bow 🙇♂️) and create accents and dialects. As a fluent speaker of Mid Atlantic English, California English, and Southern English my husband can always tell who I'm on the phone with based on a few changes in vowel pronunciation.
Vowels take time: While these five little letters a, e, i, o, u (cue a 2nd grader screaming "and sometimes y!") may seem straight forward, they often take the longest time to teach and learn. Consider this: children should know their letters confidently by the end of kindergarten, but they will continue to learn new vowel sounds and spelling patterns through second grade.
In my experience, children that speak multiple languages struggle the most with vowels since their sounds vary so much. Even if they speak fairly fluently, spelling with the correct vowels will take time.
Ok but why?: Consonant sounds are created using your whole mouth, teeth, lips, and tongue. To make the "f" sound you need to touch your teeth to your lips. To make the "l" sound you need to touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth. To make vowel sounds, you just open your mouth and let the sound come out (I bet you're making those sounds right now).
Sure it's simple, but if you aren't making the sound correctly, heard it wrong, or have an accent it can be hard to correct. It really takes practice, memorization, and a grasp of the language to master vowel sounds.
How can we practice? (some links are affiliate links to things I love that I will earn a small commission from. There's no extra cost to you)
⭐︎ This puzzle will get your child thinking critically about vowel sounds
⭐︎ I had a spelling flip book like this in my classroom. Kids love it and will be delighted with the real and nonsense words they can create.
⭐︎ Practice filling in the missing vowel in words. You can try this in my packet on spelling CVC words!
⭐︎ And finally my favorite song about the long and short vowel sounds- it's so mellow
Did you learn something new? I'd love it if you would forward this to a friend!
I'll be back next week with part 4 of my five part series on phonics!
Yours in education,