A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y

Vowels and Phonemic Awareness

This site is dedicated to teaching phonics and phonemic awareness, specifically vowels.  Phonemic awareness, along with sight word recognition, can help all students learn to read.  Children who are able to decode words are able to grow as readers because they ultimately read more words. (Blevins, 2006)  Phonics is the relation between a letter and the sound it makes, and phonemic awareness emphasizes the relationship among the letters and their sounds.  Teaching phonics skills is essential for beginning readers.  Literary success spurs from an understanding of words and their letter composition.  (Hults, 2003)


Vowels are very important for young students to develop knowledge.  Every syllable in our language contains a vowel sound.  There are five vowels (a,e,i,o,u).  Some educators also teach that the letter y can sometimes be a vowel.  These 5 (or 6) vowels make 19 different vowel sounds.  There are many vowel rules to help children distinguish what sound the vowel in a particular word may make.  It is important for students to be aware of the vowel rules because it can help them decode words and become better readers.  There are also various vowel combinations that produce different sounds.  Because vowels tend to break the rules at times, it is also important to teach children words by sight reconition.  Words you teach by sight, or sight words, are normally words that do not follow the rules of phonics. (Blevins, 2006)

Getting started with vowels

To get started with vowels, you first need to be aware of the many sounds that they make.  Different sources classify vowels in various ways (ie. digraphs, diphthongs), but the sounds they make (in the United States) remain consistant.

Here are the vowel sounds with word examples:

long a     short a     long e    short e     long i     short i
take        sat           free        let           lime        pin
pain        ran           these      web         pie          fit
play                        me                        might
long o    short o    long u    short u
vote       box         June       tub
goat       cot          dude       cut

aw/au/al       ir/er/ur      ar            or          oi/oy
law                  stir               far           form       boil
cause               her              alarm       corn        joy
fall                   churn

ou/ow         (oo)                oo
out                took               mood
brown            put                clue
                     should            flew  

(Blevins, 2006)