3 Tips for Teaching CVCE Words

Are you looking for a fun way to teach CVCE words and help your students master "silent e"? This can be a tricky topic for first-grade students, so I like to approach it in a couple of ways. Today I'm sharing all about my top 3 tips for teaching CVCE words! 

These 3 tips will help your students stay engaged and excited while you are teaching CVCE words.

First graders spend much of their week focused on phonics activities and skills. There is so much to cover during the year! Time after time, I have noticed my kiddos need a little extra practice when it comes to "silent e" words. Do your kiddos struggle with these words as well? If so, you're in the right place. Let's talk about teaching strategies for CVCE words!

1. Start with a Great Introduction 

First off, you'll want to make sure you spend some time introducing this topic to your kiddos. In my room, I like to do this as a whole group before we split off into small groups and center activities for the day. I'm a big fan of using a short, fun video like this one by Jack Hartmann. Firsties LOVE to sing and dance, so anytime I can incorporate a quick and snappy song into our learning, I know it will be a hit. 

Typically, after our video, I will use a poster for whichever vowel we're working on that day. You could also make an anchor chart with your class covering the same topic. The posters we use discuss different long vowels and provide examples of words that use that specific long vowel at both the beginning and middle of words. 

For example, when working with Long A, our poster shows pictures for words like angel, acorn, apron, cake, game, and vase.
Posters like these long A and short a posters are a great visual to hang in your classroom as your students are practicing and learning CVCE words.

I like to call on volunteers to guess what CVCE word each picture represents and then emphasize the long vowel sound they hear. Next, I have my students jot down this information in their phonics journals for reference. This is a bit like making their own mini anchor charts. I find that if the kiddos take a few minutes to practice saying the CVCE words aloud, writing them down, and drawing pictures to illustrate them, it helps the information to stick a lot better! We do a quick introduction like this each time we begin working on words with a new vowel sound. 

2. Use Engaging CVCE Centers

Fun and engaging center games and activities are key in the primary classroom. Young children thrive in active learning environments with hands-on materials. For this reason, I use a variety of center games when working on CVCE words. 

Sorting CVCE Words

One of my favorites when we first begin working on CVCE words is a word-sorting activity that asks kiddos to group words by vowel type. Students will choose a card and place it in the right category.

Using visual aids like these cards will help your kiddos learn to group words by vowel type AND get in some valuable spelling practice as well.

Giving students the opportunity to sort words into separate categories helps them to hear the difference in the way the vowel sounds when silent e is present. This is a great activity for center time or assigned as a partner game. Children can take turns choosing a card and sorting it into the correct category. Once all the cards are sorted, they record their answers on a worksheet. 

Long Vowel Word Building 

Another fun activity I use for teaching CVCE words is word building. This activity works best when it's done in small groups first and then assigned as centers once children can be more independent. To play, we use CVCE word cards with the "e" missing as well as picture cards and "magic wands" that have an "e" on the end. Children will choose a word and use their wand to build the CVCE word. They say the word and find the matching picture card. Then, they write down their answer on a recording sheet. 

This engaging CVCE words center activity is even more fun when words cards are paired with a "magic wand" with the letter "e".

My students LOVE this activity and the use of the "magic" wands. I find this activity to be helpful in illustrating to students that the addition of the silent e magically changes the word into a new one. 

CVCE Word Clip Cards 

Classic clip cards are always a classroom favorite since they are super simple for first graders to use independently and provide many opportunities for practice. The clip cards we use feature 2 words, one with a CVCE word using a long vowel and one without. Students will look at the picture on the card and find the word that matches it. Kiddos can use a clothespin to clip it to the correct spot. 

To extend this activity, sometimes I'll have kiddos write down the long vowel words in their phonics notebook as well and draw a quick picture to illustrate it. You could also ask students to write a sentence in their journals for each word. 

This fun, hands-on CVCE words activity is a great way to get your students excited to practice their CVCE words independently.

I love that these center activities give my kiddos plenty of practice with CVCE words in a fun, hands-on format. We use these center activities a couple of times for each long vowel we focus on to help students master those sneaky, silent e-words! 

3. Follow Up with CVCE Word Worksheets

After my students have had plenty of opportunities to work with CVCE word center activities, I love to follow up with printable worksheets. Worksheets are great for checking in on student understanding and creating even more opportunities for practice. We use them during independent learning, small groups, intervention, and as homework. 

CVCE word worksheets like these are perfect for in class work or even as homework to give your students a little more fun practice with these new concepts.

Some of the things our worksheets target include: 

  • identifying pictures with long vowel words
  • filling in the missing letters on CVCE words
  • highlighting long vowel words in a sentence
  • identifying CVCE words among other words
  • CVCE word search 
  • identify words with the same vowel sound
  • secret code activities for CVCE words
  • unscrambling CVCE words
  • writing sentences using CVCE words
  • short and long vowel word sorting booklet

Using a wide variety of worksheets really helps to cement the concept of silent e among my students. I tend to assign them based on ability and skillset to meet the needs of each student. If I notice a few kiddos are struggling with a specific vowel, I'll have them work directly with me in small groups on a few of these activities. Being able to assign different tasks to different learners is key in making sure everyone gets what they need!

Using CVCE Word Activities In Your Room 

Using this blend of group instruction, small group intervention, center activities, and worksheets has worked so well in my classroom for helping children learn CVCE words. If you're looking to try something new in your room, you can find all of the activities we use in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I have a set of activities for each vowel or check out the bundle so you can ensure your students get all the practice they need with those silent e-words! 

This bundle includes everything you need to help your students practice, learn, and master CVCE words in fun and engaging ways they will love.

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Teaching CVCE words to your students doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming. With these 3 easy to implement tips, your students will love learning CVCE words this year. From hands-on activities, to posters, worksheets, and more, your students will be begging for more CVCE words practice. Use the activities as independent work, group work, in centers, or even as homework your students will love! Check out the complete bundle for all of the CVCE words activities you need this year. #thechocolateteacher #cvcewords #cvce #teachingcvcewords #cvcewordsinfirstgrade #firstgradecvcewords

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