Beginning readers first learn to read cvc words (also called short vowel words). CVC words for kindergarten are consonant-vowel-consonant words like bag, fan, met, cup… etc. CVC words include short vowel sounds:
a_ as in apple (ex. mat, fan)
e_ as in elephant (ex. met, ten)
i_ as in igloo (ex. pit, dig)
o_ as in octopus (ex. dog, hot)
u_ as in up (ex. dug, tub)
Reading Elephant offers printable CVC books for kindergartners in our shop.
Why do kids start with CVC words?
CVC words are some of the easiest words to decode. It’s much better for a child to start off decoding “cat” than to start off trying to learn to read “bouncy.” CVC words are some of the least complicated word types.
Short vowels are also continuous sounds, which are sounds kids can hold for a long time without any sound distortion. For example, kids can say the “a” in “hat” for a long time without adding an “uh.” This helps the child link the sounds together.
A list of CVC words for kindergarten
Kids should start off by decoding about 6 cvc words. For example, a beginner that just learned short a can read a list like the following:
After the kindergartner learns all of the short vowel sounds, he can read a list of 20 short vowel words like the following:
For a complete printable list of cvc words for kindergarten, check out:
CVC words for kindergarten
Typically, kids with speech difficulties struggle to pronounce short e words. Thus, you can introduce short e words last. This will give kids time to master the other short vowel words before they learn the hardest type.
short a words
bad, dad, fad, had, mad, pad, sad, wad, rad, tad, lad, bag, hag, lag, gag, rag, sag, tag, wag, zag, Mag, nag, dam, bam, Pam, jam, ram, ham yam, Sam, ban, tan, van, Dan, fan, can, pan, ran, man, bat, hat, fat, mat, cat, rat, vat, sat, pat, jab, tab, dab, nab, lab, cap, map, nap, tap, yap, sap, gap, zap
Reading Elephant offers printable phonics books for kindergartners in our shop.
short i words
bid, lid, rid, did, hid, kid, rim, him, Tim, Jim, dim, big, dig, fig, pig, gig, jig, zig, rig, wig, mix, six, fix, bit, fit, hit, kit, pit, wit, sit, lit, bin, fin, kin, pin, tin, win, dip, hip, lip, nip, rip, sip, tip, zip, bill, fill, mill, till, ill
short o words
Bob, mob, Rob, sob, cob, job, cod, nod, pod, rod, odd, jog, hog, log, fog, bog, cog, dog, cop, hop, mop, pop, top, boss, loss, doll, off, box, fox, pox
short u words
shut, but, cut, rut, hut, nut, jut, gut, gum, hum, sum, bun, fun, nun, pun, run, sun, bug, hug, lug, rug, tug, dug, mug, pug, jug, cup, pup, sup, fuzz, buzz, puff, buff, dull, gull, tub, hub, cub, sub, rub, bud, dud, mud
short e words
bed, fed, led, red Ted, wed, zed, beg, leg, Meg, peg, Ben, hen, men, pen, ten, Zen, den, get, let, net, pet, set, wet, yet, bet, met, vet, yell, sell, well, tell, bell, fell, mess, less
Reading Elephant offers printable CVC phonics books in our shop.
When are kids ready to learn to read CVC words?
Kids are ready to learn to read CVC words after they know letter sounds. Kids have to have some practice with the phonemic awareness skill of blending to read. For example, if you say “SSSS-aaaa-mmmm,” the child should be able to connect the sounds to say “Sam.”
When kids are ready to read CVC words, you can do what I call a letter switch out activity. For example, have them read one word, then switch out one letter and have them read the next word. Here’s a sample letter switch out word list:
Notice how I just changed one letter at a time. This activity gently eases beginners into decoding CVC words. Plus, they get to see that changing one phoneme can change the entire meaning of the word.
Should you teach word families?
I don’t recommend teaching word families. Word families are CVC words that contain the same 2 ending sounds. For example, in the word family “-at” are the words “bat, mat, sat, fat, cat… etc.” Teaching word families can backfire. Kids can begin to ignore the last 2 letters in the word.
Instead, teach kids to decode CVC words for kindergarten one sound at a time. Teach your student to analyze each and every sound: “b-aaaa-t.” In this way, they’ll become accurate decoders.