What are long vowel Teams?
When it comes to vowels and their sounds, it seems like there’s always lots of ground to cover – and there is! These amazing letters pack a big punch and can be used in a variety of ways to make a word. The vowel is the mother bee of the alphabet – they do tons of work! Vowels can say their name, can say their short sound, can pal around with other vowels (vowel teams), and are found in just about every word. That’s a lot of jobs for those busy bees.
Today, we’re going to be talking about long vowel combinations and what they look and sound like (spoiler alert: they sound like long vowels ;)). Let’s dive in!
Long vowel combinations are groups of vowels and consonants that come together to make a long vowel sound. These are usually two vowels right next to each other (called vowel teams), but they can also contain consonants. Below are a list of examples:
Long A – a_e, ai, ay, ei, ea, eigh, ey
Long E – e_e, ee, ea, ie, ei, ey, y
Long I – i_e, ie, igh, y, y_e
Long O -o_e, oe, oa, ow
Long U – u_e, ue, eu, ew, (also oo and ou)
Some examples of words are: rain, pay, feet, tea, soap, aloe, fuel, juice, stew, night, fly, and pie. And the tricky aspect of long vowel teams is that there are numerous combinations that say the same sound. This can make reading (and especially spelling) them difficult for students.
Why are long vowel Teams important?
Just look at the list above and you’ll see that there’s a plethora of long vowel teams, so learning them is key to reading. It’s important to teach long vowel teams because so many words in our English language are made with them. They’re also a source of frustration for kids, as it can be tricky to remember which long vowel teams to use while spelling. So what do we do in order to make our students better readers and spellers? Practice! With these fun activities, your kiddos will be masters of these long vowel teams in no time.
5 Long Vowel Teams Activities
Pro Tip: Try to teach the most common long vowel teams first. That way, students are more familiar with them and will catch onto the idea a bit more quickly. Later on when students are more comfortable with how they work, then it’s best to incorporate less common ones into your lessons.
Fill in the Blanks
How to Play:
- Decide which vowel team you’re going to focus on. For example, long A vowel teams.
- Using blank notecards, write long A vowel teams on each notecard, but be sure that the long vowel combination is missing.
- For example, ai cards might read r__n, p__nt, str__n and ea cards might read st__k, br__k, p__r.
- Pass out a notecard to each student.
- On the board, write columns for each long A team (you don’t have to use all the long A teams – just a few will do. Remember to start small!)
- Students take time to fill in their notecard with the correct long vowel team.
- Then, each student goes up to the board and tapes his or her notecard underneath the correct column and says the word out loud.
How to Play:
- Write a handful of long vowel teams down on note cards (one for each notecard). Be sure that there are three notecards that have the same long vowel combination.
- Pass out the note cards face down to your students.
- Announce to your students that it’s their job to find the two other people in the class with their same long vowel team.
- Once students have found their “triplets”, they write down a word that contains their long vowel team on the back of each card.
- For example, the igh group might write down night, right, and sigh on the back of their cards.
- When the “triplets” are done, each group comes and shares their long vowel teams and words with the class.
Long Vowel Combination Cards
How to Play:
- On the computer, write down words that contain long vowel teams.
- With each word, spell it differently three times. For example, rane, rain, rayn,
- Students go through each word and circle the correct spelling.
- Here are some to get you started:
- hay, hai, heigh
- feet, fete, feyt
- sie, sy, sigh
- bote, bowt, boat
- clue, cloo, clew
- Some students may feel hesitant when they see the options of so many vowel teams and they may feel like they won’t be able to spell the word correctly. But this is a particularly helpful activity because it shows students that much of the time, other spellings of the word look awkward and silly. This activity shows students that, usually, the correct spelling is obvious.
Quiz Your Partner
How to Play:
- This activity is played like the previous vowel teams cards activity, only the students are the ones that come up with the words!
- Each student finds a partner and sits across from them.
- Students share a piece of paper. Student #1 writes down three of the same word, spelled differently each time as to “quiz” their partner.
- Be sure that the “misspelled” parts are the long vowel combinations.
- Student #1 slides the paper to Student #2, who looks at each word. He or she then circles the word that’s spelled correctly.
- Student #2 takes his or her turn to create a list with only one correct spelling.
Long Vowel Teams Reading Intervention Mats
What to Do:
- Grab my Long Vowel Teams Reading Intervention Mats and press print!
- …and my Reading Intervention Mat GROWING Bundle if you’re interested in covering a variety of phonics skills.
What They Are:
- These reading intervention mats are a top-notch way to practice long vowel teams.
- Each mat contains numerous literacy components, such as fluency, fluency in isolation, vocabulary, comprehension, and blending – all in ONE mat!
- Confidence-builders as students make their way through the page, gaining assurance as they practice a specific phonics skill.
- Perfect for teachers, literacy specialists, tutors, classroom aides, and parents alike.
How to Play:
- Print off these mats (one for each student) and watch them work their way through.
- Use in small groups as interventions for students who need extra help
- With my GROWING Bundle, you’ll be able to differentiate based upon the small group’s needs.
- Toss the mats up on the board and work through one as a whole group.
- Use these mats as independent work for “fast finishers” when they’ve completed a task.
- Pair up students as they work through these mats together
- Slip them in a dry erase pocket and use it as a literacy center.
Long vowel teams don’t need to be a roadblock for you and your students. With these fun activities, plus my Long Vowel Teams Mats, your students will be busy bees themselves!
Here are a few more long vowel activity ideas!
Also- here are some long vowel team passages!