K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

The students will be able to identify long and short vowels sounds.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

4 weeks


  • Long and short vowel songs: the long vowel songs that my coworkers and I made up are listed in Activities and the short vowel song can be found on page 56 of The Big Book of Phonics Fun
  • A variety of books focusing on a particular vowel sound
  • Slates and wipe off markers.
  • The books, The Big Book of Phonics Fun by Barbara Wilson and Phonemic Awareness by Jo Fitzpatrick, et al.


Students have already discussed the vowel letters, sounds and vowel patterns.


  1. Begin the lesson by singing the following songs. All are to the tune of “Are You Sleeping?”:

    The Long A Song

    Where is long a?
    Where is long a?
    Here I am.
    Here I am.
    I am in a cake plate
    name game, and snake lake. a a a a a a
    The Long E Song
    Where is long e?
    Where is long e?
    Here I am.
    Here I am.
    I can see Zeke’s feet.
    He eats beans and real meat. e e e e e e
    The Long I Song
    Where is long i?
    Where is long i?
    Here I am.
    Here I am.
    I am in a lime pie,
    bike hike and wide tire. i i i i i i
    The Long O Song
    Where is long o?
    Where is long o?
    Here I am.
    Here I am.
    I am in a row boat
    Toad’s toe and Rose’s coat. o o o o o o
    The Long U Song
    Where is long u?
    Where is long u?
    Here I am.
    Here I am.
    I am in a cute suit,
    cube tube and June’s flute. u u u u u u

    Have a student draw a line under the words with the chosen vowel sound or all the different vowel patterns (ex.a, a-e,ai,ay).

  2. Teacher reads selected books focusing of the vowel sound you are working on. Students listen carefully for the particular vowel sound. After the reading, students call out the words from the story with the particular vowel sound. The teacher writes these on the board as the student spells them. Discuss the words that rhyme, words that have the same vowel patterns, number words, action words etc.
  3. Students can use slates and markers to write a vowel pattern (ex. a-e) as the teacher calls out a word for them and they finish writing the word by filling in the consonants. (ex. take).
  4. Students can get in small groups and look in library books, reading books or any other available resources to find words with particular vowel sounds. The group with the most words at the end of a designated time is the winner. As a challenge, ask each group to read their list.
  5. Using two or three phoneme words sing the song “The Sounds in the Words” (to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus”). Which goes like this: The sounds in the word go c-a-t/c-a-t/c-a-t. The sounds in the word go c-a-t. What is my word? Have students write the word on their slates.

    This can be done with any word replacing cat and any vowel sound you are working on.


  • Teacher Observation
  • Oral Student Feedback
  • Activity Worksheets
  • Journal writing

Supplemental information


We spend about 15 minutes each day working with the vowel of the day. Some vowels may require more practice because the children have trouble distinguishing them, like i and e. It takes about 4 weeks to do all the vowels and vowel patterns, but the songs are basically the same. I select a variety of books that emphasize each vowel and check them out of the library while I am working on that vowel, as well as pulling books I already have in my classroom library.

This lesson plan gives you a variety of activities you can do with vowels. I choose one or two of the activities to do with a vowel each day.The children really enjoy the songs and activities and they don’t realize they are learning at the same time!

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Foundational Skills

        • Grade 1
          • 1.RFS.2 Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes). 1.RFS.2.1 Distinguish long from short vowel sounds in spoken single-syllable words. 1.RFS.2.2 Orally produce single-syllable words by blending sounds (phonemes), including...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 1

  • Goal 1: The learner will develop and apply enabling strategies and skills to read and write.
    • Objective 1.01: Develop phonemic awareness and demonstrate knowledge of alphabetic principle:
      • count syllables in a word.
      • blend the phonemes of one-syllable words.
      • segment the phonemes of one-syllable words.
      • change the beginning, middle, and ending sounds to produce new words.
      • create and state a series of rhyming words that may include consonant blends (e.g., flag, brag).