Teaching Short Vowels

Teaching short vowels came VERY easy for me! I owe it all to Leap Frog – Letter Factory…the DVD took care of it for me! Seriously, P learned all of his letters, and sounds in just under 3 weeks back when he was around 3-4. But now I am tutoring a little girl from the church we work with and she is way behind in school and I am having to reteach her basic skills, such as short vowel sounds. She is watching the Leapfrog DVDs but can’t watch them as much as P was able to (I let her borrow ours). So, I have her 1 hour per week and in that 1 hour I am trying to fill her brain with all sorts of tricks to make this relearning easier for her.

Last week something hit me as we were working together (P works with us too since they are friends from church). I thought I would share it here in case anyone else needs any ideas for teaching short vowel sounds. We used these photos below to make a simple book for her, with the clues of how to remember the sounds. She and P posed for the photos demonstrating what I had taught them. I made up these clues on my own, although I am sure they have probably been used somewhere before 🙂 but yesterday they all came out of my brain and into action! Feel free to copy the ideas in any way you’d like and if you have any questions, let me know!

A: we called it “scary A” and we scream ahhhh when we see it!E: I taught her that her ear is similar in shape to an “e” and she can hear a long eeee in the word ear. When you want someone to speak up you say, “ehhhh.” I: see their arms are the shape of a lowercase i, with their fists being the dot. They are “itching” their arm, to remind them of the short i sound, as in itch.O: open wide for the dentist, say ahhhh, see your mouth makes an O to remind you of the letter sound you’re making!

U: we had 2 tricks for the short u. Their arms are in the shape of the U, they are pushing up. The other way is to imagine they are doing a pull up and it’s really hard and they are saying ugh.I hope that all made sense, it is really helping her a lot, and giving P a great review! This worked for me, for other Works for Me Wednesday ideas, visit Rocks In My Dryer!

  • Anonymous

    That is a great idea! We love leap frog – but I think the pictures you made are the best. I am going to share the idea with my daughters speech teachers.

    Michelle NW Arkansas

  • Brea

    Great idea! I love it, and I’m going to give it a try with my kiddos!


  • Sheila

    That was so creative and awesome. Thank you for sharing…my 4 year old daughter is going to love learning the short vowels this way. 🙂


  • reprehriestless warillever


    If my memory serves, the first two (“a” and “e”) are presented like they are in the Letter Factory video.

    My kids love acting out the letter sounds too.

  • Carisa

    Yup! the A and E worked well for teaching her straight from the dvd, I changed up the i, u and o to make them work more with using the body as a memory trigger.

    🙂 Carisa

  • Mama Teaching 2

    You did GREAT!!!!

  • The four little penguins say:

    What a good idea! I especially like that you made the cards with pictures of the kids themselves.

  • CC

    This is the cutest post ever! I’m going to see if I can get this from my library (I have most the other Leap Frog products!). If I ever blog about it, I’ll try to remember to link back to your adorable post!