Are you looking for long vowel stories? After kids read short vowel stories they shift over to long vowel stories that include sounds like ea as in “beach” and ow as in “snow.” Long vowel stories allow kids to develop more word analysis skills, since they have to discern whether the vowel is long or short.
What are long vowels?
Long vowels are vowel patterns that say their name. For example, ai as in “snail” says the letter name A. Also, ee as in “tree” says the letter name E. Likewise, ow as in “snow” says the letter name O. Other long vowel sounds are the e at the end pattern (or silent e) as in words like “lake,” “bike” and “hope.” Long vowels contrast with short vowels. Short vowels do not say their letter name.
Kids learn long vowels after they’ve mastered short vowel sounds, consonant digraphs and consonant blends.
Long vowel stories
Reading Elephant has offered a few free long vowel stories. The one attached in this post is “In the Snow,” a free long vowel story for kids that have already learned all the long vowel sounds.
For “In the Snow,” I reused the pictures from the short vowel story, “The Red Cat.” If you have a classroom of kids at different levels, you can print out “The Red Cat” for those focusing on short vowels and use “In the Snow” for those learning long vowels.
The free long vowel story is attached here:
Click the above link for the free long vowel story.
Why are long vowel stories important?
Long vowels are a critical step in the learning how to read process. If you skip long vowel sounds, struggling readers will experience a stasis. Do you have a student that is stuck on the same short vowel series? Are they reading consonant digraphs and consonant blends accurately and fluently (quickly and with ease)? Then, it might be time to introduce long vowel stories.
A student might be stuck reading short vowel stories for too long. Then, the same student might be forced to leap into sight readers as if she can already read. At that point, she’s a struggling reader—a master only of a small sliver of phonics sounds. The problem of skipping long vowel stories is widespread.
Some of the most popular phonics book series skip long vowels. Perhaps a systematic long vowel series isn’t marketable enough? Maybe educators grow exacerbated with the sound-by-sound reading phonics books require. A leap into sight readers is tantalizing: finally, you might think, I get to immerse my student in natural language. Gone are the days of “The cat sat” or “Shell had a fish shop.”
Whatever the reason, Reading Elephant will offer a systematic long vowel series.
Kids need to learn how to read and spell long vowels. For now, if your student has already learned long vowels, print out, “In the Snow” for some fluency practice.
Missing Long Vowels
Maddie was in second grade and she was stuck on short vowel books. The other books at school had a wide variety of phonics sounds, and she’d only learned short vowels systematically. Thus, Maddie didn’t know her long vowel sounds. She stayed at the Kindergarten reading level for another year and a half.
Once Maddie began learning long vowels systematically, she began to progress. All she needed was explicit exposure to each long vowel sound, to build upon her knowledge incrementally and to review all old phonics sounds.
Kids like Maddie struggle with reading because they’re encouraged to jump from short vowel books to sight readers—this is quite a big leap. There are few systematic short vowel books available, but there are even fewer systematic long vowel books available.
Once she read long vowel books, she began to improve in accuracy and fluency.
In sum, if a child misses long vowel instruction, they are at risk of experience a reading stasis—a period in which they don’t progress at all—and they’re at risk of becoming a poor speller too.
If you’re interested, Reading Elephant will release a long vowel series soon.