Having trouble finding printable short vowel books?
Here’s a common complaint I hear:
“I cannot find books low enough for my child to read! I’ve checked out all the beginning readers at the library. Even those are too hard for her. What do I do? This is hurting her confidence. It’s heartbreaking. Are there any beginning books for struggling readers?”
YES! A beginning reader should start on short vowel books. These are books that a student can read after she’s learned letter sounds. That’s right, once a child knows letter sounds, she can start reading books!
WHAT ARE SHORT VOWELS?
The following are short vowel sounds:
a_ as in apple
e_ as in edge
i_ as in itch
o_ as in octopus
u_ as in up
WHAT ARE SHORT VOWEL WORDS?
Short vowel books contain words like “cat.” These are words with three sounds. The middle sound in “cat” is the short vowel “a_.” Some other examples of short vowel words include: fin, get, hop, tub, bat. A word like “car” does not count as a short vowel word because the “a” does not say /a/ as in apple.
All beginning readers start with short vowel words. They are the entryway into reading. Short vowel words are common. They are also the easiest words to read. Since short vowel words are phonetically regular, students can sound them out. To read short vowel words, all a student needs is letter sound knowledge.
Once your student knows letter sounds, she can read printable short vowel books.
WHAT ARE SHORT VOWEL BOOKS?
I offer printable short vowel books here. Short vowel books ONLY contain short vowel words and very few sight words. Here’s a sample sentence in a short vowel book:
Meg the hen had an egg. The egg was big.
Most words in the above sentence can be read sound-by-sound. Sight words “the” and “was” are taught as sight words. Short vowel books set students up for success. All a student needs is letter sound knowledge to read:
Meg the hen had an egg. The egg was big.
With short vowel books, your child will be a confident, successful reader. She’ll also start building a solid reading foundation.
HOW TO FIND RESEARCH-BASED SHORT VOWEL BOOKS
There’s a lot of beginning reader books out there. As you know, many of these books do not ease children into the reading process. Here are some features of high-quality short vowel books that will get your child on the path of independent reading:
EARLY BOOKS SHOULD NOT BE GUESSABLE
Guessable books teach children that reading is about guessing. Don’t know the word? Guess! We all know guessing is not reading. We have to decode and analyze words sound-by-sound.
Thanks to the great work of neuroscientist Stanislaus Dehanae, we know that even expert readers decode. Words are sent to the “letterbox area” in our brain first, where they are pulled apart into phonetic units. Our “letterbox area” analyzes these phonetic units to arrive at the correct pronunciation. In short, all readers decode.
Thus, don’t get books that are guessable. They will cause your student to form bad reading habits. The habit of guessing is hard to break and can result in reading failure!
BOOKS FOR BEGINNERS SHOULD NOT BE REPETITIVE
Many books for beginners repeat the same phrase over and over. Avoid these. Repetitive books teach students reading is about memorizing. Reading is not about memorizing. Reading is decoding. We simply do not memorize the 500,000+ words in English. In contrast, if we learn phonetic units, we can read endless words.
Here’s an example of a book that teaches memorization:
“The cat sat on the mat. I can see the cat. The girl sat on the mat. I can see the girl.”
The above excerpt creates poor reading habits. Your student will easily learn that the book can be memorized. She’ll blabber every single line without so much as looking at the words.
Your student will not be able to memorize every single book! She’ll begin to feel discouraged when her reading failure continues. Start on short vowel books that really teach children to read words sound-by-sound. The skills she learns on non-repetitive short vowel books will translate into real reading progress!
STUDENTS SHOULD NOT LEAN ON PICTURES
Some books use pictures to help students read. The pictures are clues. These books promote a sham form of reading. Here’s an example:
“Jim can ride a carousel.” [picture of a carousel]
“Jim can ride a horse. [picture of a horse]
The phrase “Jim can ride” is repeated. There is a picture of the only word that is not repeated. Thus, the student is never actually reading the books. They are memorizing and using pictures. A sham form of reading.
Books like these claim to foster reading skills, but they do nothing but encourage kids to look at pictures. This is a poor reading strategy. Students that use pictures to read become inaccurate readers. They might read a sentence like, “ Jim ate lunch” as “Jim had a picnic.” When students learn to read with pictures, they become lost when the pictures are taken away. They never progress beyond books for beginners.
PRINTABLE SHORT VOWEL BOOKS TEACH PHONICS
Short vowel books are a stepping stone in the reading process. Good short vowel books force students to analyze phonetic units and read sound-by-sound. They only contain short vowel words and very few sight words. Excellent short vowel books set students up for success.
If a student masters short vowels, they can begin to learn other phonetic units. They will also be able to transfer their sound-by-sound method to other words. If pictures are taken away, they can still READ. If a book cannot be memorized, they can still READ. Students that start on excellent phonics-based books acquire foundational reading skills.
WHERE DO I FIND PRINTABLE SHORT VOWEL BOOKS?
Reading Elephant offers printable short vowel books. The books start off simple and slowly ease your child into the next stage of reading. The step-by-step program creates confident, successful readers.
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