Long and Short Vowel Sounds
Vowels and consonants are two types of letters in the English alphabet. A vowel sound is created when air flows smoothly, without interruption, through the throat and mouth. Different vowel sounds are produced as a speaker changes the shape and placement of articulators (parts of the throat and mouth).
In contrast, consonant sounds happen when the flow of air is obstructed or interrupted. If this sounds confusing, try making the “p” sound and the “k” sound. You will notice that in creating the sound you have manipulated your mouth and tongue to briefly interrupt airflow from your throat. Consonant sounds have a distinct beginning and end, while vowel sounds flow.
The pronunciation of each vowel is determined by the position of the vowel in a syllable, and by the letters that follow it. Vowel sounds can be short, long, or silent.
If a word contains only one vowel, and that vowel appears in the middle of the word, the vowel is usually pronounced as a short vowel. This is especially true if the word is very short. Examples of short vowels in one-syllable words include the following:
This rule can also apply to one-syllable words that are a bit longer:
When a short word with one vowel ends in s, l, or f, the end consonant is doubled, as in:
If there are two vowels in a word, but the first vowel is followed by a double consonant, the vowel's sound is short, such as:
If there are two vowels in a word and the vowels are separated by two or more letters, the first vowels is usually short, for example:
The long vowel sound is the same as the name of the vowel itself. Follow these rules:
- Long A sound is AY as in cake.
- Long E sound is EE an in sheet.
- Long I sound is AHY as in like.
- Long O sound is OH as in bone.
- Long U sound is YOO as in human or OO as in crude.
Long vowel sounds are often created when two vowels appear side by side in a syllable. When vowels work as a team to make a long vowel sound, the second vowel is silent. Examples are:
A double “e” also makes the long vowel sound:
The vowel “i” often makes a long sound in a one-syllable word if the vowel is followed by two consonants:
This rule does not apply when the “i” is followed by the consonants th, ch, or sh, as in:
A long vowel sound is created when a vowel is followed by a consonant and a silent “e” in a syllable, as in:
The long “u” sound can sound like yoo or oo, such as:
Most often, the letter “o” will be pronounced as a long vowel sound when it appears in a one-syllable word and is followed by two consonants, as in these examples:
A few exceptions occur when the “o” appears in a single syllable word that ends in th or sh:
Weird Vowel Sounds
Sometimes, combinations of vowels and consonants (like Y and W) create unique sounds. The letters oi can make an OY sound when they appear in the middle of a syllable:
The same sound is made with the letters “oy” when they appear at the end of a syllable:
Similarly, the letters “ou” make a distinct sound when they appear in the middle of a syllable:
The same sound can be made by the letters "ow" when they appear at the end of a syllable:
The long “o” sound is also created by the letters “ow” when they appear at the end of a syllable:
The letters "ay" make the long “a” sound:
The letter Y can make a long “i” sound if it appears at the end of a one-syllable word:
The letters ie can make a long “e” sound (except after c):
The letters ei can make the long “e” sound when they follow a “c”:
The letter “y” can make a long e sound if it appears at the end of a word and it follows one or more consonants:
Watch Now: Should You Use A, An or And?
Short vowels sounds are somewhat tricky to teach but if the instruction process is animated and playful, it’s fairly straightforward.. That said, short vowels can be frustrating for struggling readers. Their sounds are similar and it takes practice to become familiar with each one. This tutorial should prepare you to teach young children about short vowel sounds.
A child must master the 44 sounds of the English language before they can learn to read including the five (5) short vowel sounds. These 5 five sounds don’t sound like their “letter names” and tend to be quite similar to each other. Before we begin discussing how to teach short vowel sounds, we’ll take a quick look at long vowel sounds, and how they differ from short vowel sounds. They are much easier to teach.
Long vowel sounds versus short vowel sounds
Long vowels are fairly easy to teach as they say their alphabet letter name. They’re typically encountered in words that end in E. But that rule of thumb can be misleading. For instance, here are some words that contain long-vowel sounds, not all of which end in “e”:
Short vowels sounds and how to teach them
Short–Vowel “Rules”: Short vowel sounds often appear when a vowel is placed next to a consonant. If a word contains only one vowel, and that vowel appears in the middle of the word, the vowel is usually pronounced as a short vowel. This is especially true if the word is very short. If the letter after the vowel is f, l, or s, this letter is often doubled.
Use Repetitive Activities to Teach Short-Vowel Sounds: The short vowel sounds can be quite tricky to learn. Students especially struggle with short vowels because the difference between their sounds can be subtle. To make things worse, these vowel sounds can vary from word to word. If you’re tutoring kids who are struggling with reading, the best way to improve their vowel skills is to use intensive repetitive activities and teach kids some hand motions to help them recall the short vowel sounds.
Emphasize how mouth shape and tongue position help to form Short-Vowel Sounds: Your tutoring exercises should focus on listening and distinguishing between two specific vowel sounds. You can begin by demonstrating how the shape of your mouth and the position of your tongue and lips help you to form the short vowel sounds. Before struggling students can learn to say short vowel sounds they need to understand how the shape of their mouths and tongues help to differentiate these sounds. Students who cannot pronounce the short vowels properly will have an even harder time hearing them and spelling words that contain them. Model the proper mouth shape and sound for the students and, if needed, use mirrors to let them see if they are making the proper shape. Talking about the mouth shape will also provide the students with visual cues for distinguishing the sounds.
Make Teaching Short Vowel Sounds Fun: Teach short vowel sounds with multiple activities. Use various games and, with little kids, include a lot of movement. Make short vowel cards that show the letter and “reminder image” (such as umbrella for the short u sound. You can arrange short vowel cards on a table and have your student tap them with their hand. You can paste short vowel letters and their “reminder image” onto Popsicle sticks. You can play games where sometimes you say the short vowel sound and your student taps the appropriate letter, while other times you tap the letter and your student says the sound.
Other tips for teaching short vowel sounds
- First, be sure you’re teaching the correct sound for each short vowel.
- Use picture cues and key words to cue the correct vowel sound.
- Teach children to use “reminder hand signals” to remember each vowel sound.
- Provide frequent opportunities for students to practice short vowel sounds.
Teaching short vowel sounds: Multi-sensory hand and mouth gestures
Short A: The short A sound is “ah” as in apple. Other shot A words are fan, can, man, van, black, back, mat. Apple should become your key word, however. You can pretend to hold a big apple, open your mouth and pretend to put the big apple in it, while making the “ah” sound. You can reinforce this idea by putting your hand under your chin. This is because when you say /ă/ your chin drops down to touch your hand; say “short a says /ă/”.
Short E: The short E sound is “eh” as in egg, exercise, end, else, elm, edge and ebb. To teach the short E sound, make your pointer finger look like a toothbrush, hold your finger in front of your teeth and produce an /ĕ/ sound. You can also teach kids to smile while brushing their teeth because, when making the “eh” sound, the edges of your mouth turn up at the corners.
Short I: The short I sound is “ih“as in itch, igloo, inside, inner, innocent, inch and ill. Use the motion of scratching your cheek or arm when you practice mouthing the short I sound. NOTE: The mouth should be open taller when you say the short E sound than when you say the short I sound.
Short O: Sound is “aw” as in octopus, got, dog, olive, top and bob. The motion that words best to teach the short o vowel sound is to pretend you’re at the doctor’s. The doctor tells you to say “aw”. So have your student say “aw” while tracing a circle around their open mouth.
Short U: Sound is “uh” as in umbrella, under, sun, up, bun, rug, but, and slug. Many people teach the short u sound by pretending to hold an umbrella and sliding their hand up its handle while saying “up, up, up” or “uh, uh, uh”.
Multi-sensory Approaches to Teaching Short Vowels
There’s a valuable YouTube Video appears on the Reading Rockets website. It features Linda Farrell, a reading specialist working with Calista, a first grader in Maryland. The video contains a lot of good tips and shows an actual reading tutoring session with a 7 year-old child learning her short vowels.
There is also a cute video with a song about the five short vowels. It uses an elephant instead of an egg for short e.
Short vowel sounds tend to be consistent in their letter arrangements. They are not impossible to teach; it just takes time and many different “drills”. Once a child masters short vowels, consonants and long vowels are much easier to learn. This, they are the perfect place to start. This is especially true if you explore the short vowels through “word families” (groups of three letter words with endings that rhyme).
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Is the word hand a short a sound?
The short "a" sound is the vowel sound in act, as, and at. Or go to the answers. Find and write words that have a short A sound. The words are ham, cat, bag, can, hat, man, rat, hand, bat, mask.
Correspondingly, what is I ve short for?
the usual way of saying or writing 'I have'. This is not often used in formal writing. I've just been to the supermarket. Short forms:aren't, can't, couldn't
What is a short vowel sound definition?
When a vowel sounds like its name, this is called a long sound. A vowel letter can also have short sounds. Whether a vowel has a long sound, a short sound, or remains silent, depends on its position in a word and the letters around it. Click on the following vowel letters to hear their long and short sounds.
What does it mean to be short with people?
Curt often just means "terse." In fact it comes from the Latin word curtus, which means “cut short, abridged.” But sometimes it has the added sense of being rudely short, like when you're irritated that someone's asking a stupid question so you give a brusk, curt response.
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Short or hand vowel long
He's a Masulman. -I specified -Yes, circumcised. It was cool, a smooth one, entered into his mouth and holes easily, easily. -In the holes, did he bang you in the ass too.The Shocking Truth About Long And Short English Vowels – American English Pronunciation
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