Short & Long Vowel Activities & Games

Instructor: Frank Clint

Frank has been an educator for over 10 years. He has a doctorate degree in education with a concentration in curriculum and instruction.

Reading foundations set the stage for successful reading. Why not engage your students with fun, hands-on activities that will help them master short and long vowel sounds? Give these activities and games a try!

Short and Long Vowel Activities and Games

A great way to get students familiar with short and long vowel sounds is through various word sort activities and games. Often it is a good idea to get into a weekly routine of vowel sound practice and practice the short sounds first. Provide activities with consonant vowel consonant (CVC) word sorts to begin. You can gradually work your way up to long vowels based on the progress of your students.

Short Vowel Word Sort


  • CVC word cards
  • 5 small baskets
  • vowel letters on cards or stickers


Prepare word cards, and set up baskets ahead of time. Attach vowel letters to the front of each basket. This works well as a station and can be changed out each week.

How to Play:

Have students work independently or in pairs. Students read each word from the CVC cards. The goal is for students to sort each word according to its short vowel sound. For example, the words 'sip' and pig would be placed in the basket labeled 'short i words.'

Short Vowel Word Finger Hopscotch


  • short vowel word cards
  • hopscotch outline


Create several hopscotch outlines on 8 1/2 x 11 pieces of paper or card stock. Depending on the level of your students, write short vowel words that you feel are most appropriate in each square. You can also include pictures if your students require more support. Create enough copies for students to play in pairs or use as a center.

How to Play:

Students take turns using their pointer and middle fingers to play hopscotch. As they land in each square the goal is for the student to name a word that rhymes with the word in the square. For example, if 'hat' is on the hopscotch square then a correct answer is 'cat'. They cannot move until they name a word. When it's the next student's turn, he or she cannot repeat words used by the other student. If you prefer, a chip or bean can be used as a marker for younger students.


-You can also convert this to a board game to make it a longer activity, but it will require chips or beans to mark where each student lands as they take turns.

-You might even decide to play hopscotch live on the blacktop.

The possibilities are endless!

Long Vowel Pattern Word Sort


  • cups
  • stickers or cards
  • large craft sticks


Decide on the long vowel sound and patterns you want your students to practice. Gather the amount of cups and stickers or cards needed for that particular pattern. Write each pattern on either a sticker or card, and attach to each cup. Find as many words as you need that match the patterns. If your students require more support, you can also include pictures. Put one word on each craft stick that matches each pattern.

How to Play:

Students should sort words according to the long vowel pattern found in each. For example, if a student is working on the 'long a' sound, there should be three cups with the patterns, 'a_e, ai, ay', on them. If a craft stick has 'say' on it, the word would be placed in the 'ay' cup.

Long and Short Vowel Word Sort


  • long and short vowel word cards
  • envelopes

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