What are cvc words and how to teach them in fun ways that work?

Stepping stones are critical as they determine the distance that we go on any journey

Do you agree?

CVC words are stepping stones in reading for your child, hence learning about them is very important. If you are a parent of a kindergartner or teacher and trying to find answers for what are CVC words then you have come to the right place. I will share what CVC words are, how to teach them to your child, and fun activities to use in your home to practice reading, writing, and teaching CVC words.

What are CVC words exactly?

CVC words are the basic, three-letter words that are the stars of easy readers and first books. 

In this definition, the C stands for “consonant” and the V stands for “vowel;” therefore, CVC words begin with a consonant, have a single letter vowel sound, and end with a consonant. They’re easy to sound out because they don’t include any of the diphthongs or other complications of the English language.

These words also all use the “short” vowel sound associated with each of the five vowels, so you don’t have to worry about confusing your children with differentiating between long and short vowels. CVC words are about as simple as it gets, which makes them the perfect place to start your reading lessons. That is why these CVC words are important building blocks for your child’s reading journey 

Bat is an example of a CVC word. Each letter makes its sound and is therefore decodable and easy for a beginning reader to sound out. Dog, big, pot, sun, and bag are also examples of CVC words.

Is your child ready for CVC words-When to start

Before getting to CVC words it is very important to learn letter-sound identification- phonics. Phonics will teach the child sounds of each letter. Phonics is a necessary part of any good method of teaching children to read. Teaching Children phonics and helping them develop phonemic awareness is the key to mastering words, which is the first key step toward successful reading.

 Children need to develop knowledge of the letters, the sounds represented by the letters, and the connection between sounds created by combining the letters where words are formed. This is an essential part of mastering reading and enabling children to become independent readers. By learning phonics and phonemic awareness, children gain the ability to pronounce new words, develop clear articulation, improve spelling, and develop self-confidence

If your child knows letter sounds then it’s a perfect time to move to the next step of introducing CVC words

Teaching Children How to read CVC words

1.Beginning Sounds in CVC Words

To teach children how to blend sounds in CVC words, we have to teach them to segment these sounds. When you introduce your class to CVC words, start by having them work with just the beginning sound. We want to help our children learn to break apart each sound in the word. Ways to practice this could include showing them a picture of a hat and asking “what sound do you hear at the beginning of the word?” You can also do fill in the blank activities with the initial letter missing from CVC words. 

What are cvc words & How to read CVC words

2.Vowel Sounds in CVC Words

Once children are comfortable identifying the beginning sound in CVC words, move on to identifying the vowel sound in the word. Vowels can be tricky because it is hard to hear the difference between them. Practice with this is very important. Find activities and printables that focus on vowel sounds in consonant-vowel-consonant words. Allow your children to build fluency, as it will greatly help when it comes time to blend all three sounds.

The above activity allows children to focus solely on identifying the vowel in the word. Picture clues prompt the child to say the word and listen to the middle sound. An activity like this is a great way to encourage vowel sound identification while also engaging your class.

how to read cvc words-vowel sounds

3.Ending Sounds in CVC Words

Naturally, once you have practiced beginning sounds and vowel sounds in CVC words (in isolation), work on identifying the last sound in consonant-vowel-consonant words. Children should be able to successfully hear and identify the three sounds in isolation before they move on to the next step.

How to read cvc words-Ending sounds

4. Blending

Coming to the most important part. How to Teaching blending CVC words to the child?

One of the most prevalent methods is to use Sound Boxes


how to blend cvc words

You may have heard of these before. Children touch each box as they say a sound in a word, and then blend the sounds

In phoneme blending, you would teach your child to turn the three sounds /d/ + /o/ + /g/ into the word ‘dog’. 

If the child is having difficulty with blending sounds leave less “space” between sounds.

For example, instead of making the sounds in “bat” choppy, like this: /b/ /a/ /t/, make it sound more like this: “bbbbbaaaaatttttt.”

Another way of doing is to do it first with 2 letter words and then move to 3 letter ones

Start with 2-sound words, like…







Also, when you get onto 3-sound words, have them blend two sounds together first, then add the third.

Like this, for the word “bat:”

/b/ /a/ -> “ba”

/ba/ /t/ -> “bat”

Start small, and then build from there!

CVC word Types

There are 200 CVC words in English.it will be confusing for the child to see all of them together. The CVC word you need to start is the short vowel a and then go to e, i, o, u. These CVC words for kindergarten are building blocks that will build the foundation for more future vocabulary.

Short a CVC words

This is the short ‘a’ vowel sound we use with the following words

short a cvc words


ab: cab, dab, gab, jab, lab, nab, tab, blab, crab, grab, scab, stab, slab

at: bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat, sat, vat, brat, chat, flat, gnat, spat

ad: bad, dad, had, lad, mad, pad, sad, tad, glad

an: ban, can, fan, man, pan, ran, tan, van, clan, plan, scan, than

ag: bag, gag, hag, lag, nag, rag, sag, tag, wag, brag, drag, flag, snag, stag

ap: cap, gap, lap, map, nap, rap, sap, tap, yap, zap, chap, clap, flap, slap, snap, trap

am: bam, dam, ham, jam, ram, yam, clam, cram, scam, slam, spam, swam, tram, wham

ack: back, hack, jack, lack, pack, rack, sack, tack, black, crack, shack, snack, stack, quack, track

ash: bash, cash, dash, gash, hash, lash, mash, rash, sash, clash, crash, flash, slash, smash

Other: gal, pal, gas, yak, wax, tax, bath, math

Short e CVC Words 

ed: bed, fed, led, red, wed, bled, bred, fled, pled, sled, shed

eg: beg, keg, leg, peg

et: bet, get, jet, let, met, net, pet, set, vet, wet, yet, fret

en: den, hen, men, pen, ten, then, when

eck: beck, deck, neck, peck, check, fleck, speck, wreck

ell: bell, cell, dell, jell, sell, tell, well, yell, dwell, shell, smell, spell, swell

Other: yes, web, gem, hem, pep, step

Short i CVC Words 

it: bit, fit, hit, kit, lit, pit, sit, wit, knit, quit, slit, spit

id: bid, did, hid, kid, lid, rid, skid, slid

ig: big, dig, fig, gig, jig, pig, rig, wig, zig, twig

im: dim, him, rim, brim, grim, skim, slim, swim, trim, whim

ip: dip, hip, lip, nip, rip, sip, tip, zip, chip, clip, drip, flip, grip, ship, skip, slip, snip, trip, whip

ick: kick, lick, nick, pick, sick, tick, wick, brick, chick, click, flick, quick, slick, stick, thick, trick

ish: fish, dish, wish, swish

in: bin, din, fin, pin, sin, tin, win, chin, grin, shin, skin, spin, thin, twin

Other: him, this, mix, six, fix, crib

Short o CVC Words 

ot: cot, dot, got, hot, jot, lot, not, pot, rot, tot, blot, knot, plot, shot, slot, spot

ob: cob, gob, job, lob, mob, rob, sob, blob, glob, knob, slob, snob

og: bog, cog, dog, fog, hog, jog, log, blog, clog, frog

op: cop, hop, mop, pop, top, chop, crop, drop, flop, glop, plop, shop, slop, stop

ock: dock, lock, rock, sock, tock, block, clock, flock, rock, shock smock, stock

Other: box, fox, pox, rod, sod, mom

Short u CVC Words 

ut: but, cut, gut, hut, jut, nut, rut, shut

ub: cub, hub, nub, rub, sub, tub, grub, snub, stub

ug: bug, dug, hug, jug, lug, mug, pug, rug, tug, drug, plug, slug, snug

um: bum, gum, hum, mum, sum, chum, drum, glum, plum, scum, slum

un: bun, fun, gun, nun, pun, run, sun, spun, stun

ud: bud, cud, dud, mud, spud, stud, thud

uck: buck, duck, luck, muck, puck, suck, tuck, yuck, chuck, cluck, pluck, stuck, truck

ush: gush, hush, lush, mush, rush, blush, brush, crush, flush, slush

Other: pup, cup, bus

If you can’t remember them all, no worries. I’ve made a set of printable CVC word lists that you can use to teach your child, craft assessment for your child, or just keep on hand for reference when you need them. These printable CVC word lists come in a set of five and is broken down by vowel sound first (a, e, i, o, u). Within each vowel, pages are five or six columns that further organize the words by the ending sound, which makes these perfect for teaching the child to recognize their first rhymes as well.

These words are alphabetized within each column and are perfectly organized for you to find exactly what you need at a glance.

You can get all of the CVC word lists here:

Fun Ways to Use CVC Word Lists With Your Children

Try these ideas to get started with CVC words with your child

1)Musical Word Families

Make a pack of family CVC word cards. Put them on the floor. Then, start the music.

 Whenever the music stops the child has to pick up the closest card on the floor. If the child gets it right, it goes to her/his pile. If it’s incorrect you get to add it to your pile. The person with the most cards at the end is the winner

2)Scavenger Hunt

For this word family scavenger hunt, use flashcards and write several words on them. Then, go and tape them around the house. Make a sheet with the number of words to find and the child checks them off as she “earned” them. To earn them the child has to 1) find it and say it correctly  2) The child will love running around the house looking for them 

3)Word Family Rollers

Fun Ways to Use CVC Word Lists-Word Family Rollers

Here is something useful to do with all those empty toilet paper rolls. Cut a strip of construction paper long enough to wrap around the empty TP roll and glue it. You want it to be tight enough that it won’t slip off, but loose enough that it easily spins.

 Write a “family” on the roll just after the construction paper. Then, write a letter that would make a word when put with the family. For example, if you were doing the “-an” family, you could write m. Spin the paper just a bit until you have an empty space. Now write another beginning letter that creates a word in that word family. Continue until you have filled up the entire construction paper.

 Now your child can practice their word families by spinning the construction paper around and saying the words he or she creates!

These word family spinners made from toilet paper rolls are a great way for kids to practice each word family

4)Reading Flashcards

Use a paper cutter to slice apart the columns and then slice each word off into its rectangle. Place the cards face down on the table and have children sound at the words as they flip them over for oral practice. Pro Tip: Add a second set to play Memory or Go Fish by finding pairs

5)CVC Clip Cards

 Clip cards are always a favorite among children it seems. Children love to choose the answer and clip that clothespin on. These clip cards are great because children are given a picture and they have to clip both the beginning and ending sound.

fun ways of teaching cvc words-CVC Clip Cards

CVC Words with Pictures-Things to Note

While teaching child CVC words with pictures you need to take care of one thing. Pictures can distract the child, giving a false indication of whether they know what they are reading.

 Simply reading the word to the child and getting them to repeat it after yourself is not enough. Let’s start off with the key component, reading the word. Follow these instructions carefully.

Sound out each letter apart in order.

Say the word after the last letter.

Get the child to repeat after yourself, with them trying it by themselves after multiple repetitions.

To break it down, even more, let us look at the word bat. 

Break it down. B–A–T, BAT. Repeat it one more time for the child to register the pattern in their brain. B–A–T, BAT. Get the child to repeat the pattern on the third try, if no success, simply keep repeating until they are able.

Download some CVC words with pictures below for your child to get working

Child unable to learn the CVC concept?

If your child is having difficulty blending, do not worry. Putting pressure on a child will only cause them to resist and fear you more. Encourage positive learning. Positive reinforcement is key. Here are some key tips when teaching CVC:

Teach with rhythm, children will be able to pick up the pattern more effectively.

Break the word down even more. For example with cat. Start off with just C–A. Add the ‘T’ later on.

Positivity, The smallest achievements mean the world to learners, especially ones in Kindergarten.

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