Ron was in the second grade and was significantly behind in reading. Though he could stumble through some words, he lacked a lot of phonetic knowledge. Ron’s mom wasn’t sure how he fell so far behind. He did well in Kindergarten. At times, it even seemed that Ron was ahead in reading. By first grade, however, he started guessing at the words. Many of his errors seemed random. He said “pen” for “paint,” and “where” for “way.” When I gave Ron an assessment, it was clear he couldn’t read ai words and other long vowel sounds.
What are ai words?
At the end of this post, check out the free printable ai/ay book.
At the start of second grade, Ron was still reading Bob Books. Ron’s mom had trouble finding books Ron could read successfully. She went to the library, checked out many level one readers and still, Ron couldn’t read those. Why not? Ron had never learned long vowels, including ai words and ay words. Ron was one of the worst readers in his class and he knew it.
Since Ron couldn’t read ai words and ay words, long vowel sounds were holding him back. Long vowels say vowel letter names. Some examples of long vowels include: ee, ea, igh, ai, ay. There are many other long vowel units. Here are some sample long vowel words: seek, hear, paint, light, faint, ray. Do you notice how these units say the letter names: a, e, i, o, u? Yet, these units are a series of letters.
In Ron’s case, he knew some long vowels, so he managed to stumble through a few long vowel books. However, he was missing specific units, including ai words and ay words.
Here are some sample ai words:
paint, rain, faint, taint, saint, pain, main, train, brain, wait, pail, rail, mail, tail, trail, drain
Here are some sample ay words:
day, say, may, bay, ray, pay, tray, pray, gray, way
If a student is missing ai words and other long vowel units, he’ll get stuck
Ron was stuck on low-level Kindergarten books because he never learned long vowel sounds. Once I learned that he was missing ai words and ay words, I focused on these units in instruction. Ron also read phonics books with these units, including the free printable ai/ay book that’s attached at the end of the blog.
As soon as Ron mastered ai words and ay words, he learned all other long vowel sounds. His reading improved dramatically. He was no longer stuck on low-level Kindergarten books. He could finally read those leveled books his mom checked out from the library. His confidence improved. He was on the path toward independent reading.
For more on ai words check out: ai Words Phonics.
For more phonics books, check out: The Printable Phonics Books Library.