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My Favorite Songs for Short Vowels

I am a firm believer in phonics! I love that phonics is having its moment right now – the more light we can shine on the importance of letter sounds and what amazing things can happen when we put those sounds together, the better!

We know that music is a powerful way to help our brains retain information. Music is a highly engaging, multi-sensory tool that helps build knowledge through repetition and a catchy tune! So of course it’s a great tool to use with our early readers.

There are so many important skills that kids must master as they learn to read. However, if they can’t master vowel sounds, reading and writing can be a bitch tricky. I’m sharing my favorite vowel songs and videos I use in my first-grade classroom, as well as some activities to go along with them!

Classroom Full of Kids

One of my favorite songs I learned early in my teaching came from The Mailbox magazine. Sung to the tune of BINGO, Vowels! is a catchy tune that will help your students remember the vowel letters.

There was a classroom full of kids who knew their vowel letters.
And sometimes letter Y, too!

We frequently sing this song at the beginning of the year as we dive deep into words and the letters in our names.

Secret Stories

While the Secret Stories are not a song, they have become an invaluable tool in my classroom. As their website says, “Secret Stories are the “’secret’ reasons WHY letters get together and make the many different sounds that they do. Secret Stories are about a whole lot more than just vowels, but I think they are worth their weight in gold!

I love Secret Stories are taught. You teach the stories as you come across them in your classroom. So for example, when the calendar says August it’s the perfect time to point out the AU/AW story. Connecting the sound to something your class is learning is more impactful than simply teaching the sound in isolation.

At the beginning of the year, we start by singing the Better Alphabet song daily for the first month or so of class. This updated version of the alphabet song reviews both the letter and the sound {or sounds!} that the letter makes. While some students have mastered the sounds, we have plenty of students who still struggle with sounds, especially vowels.

This quick 3-minute warm-up is an excellent reminder for everyone!

I also love that there is a Secret Stories app. This is a fabulous resource to share with families at the beginning of the year. If kids are going to be on a device, at least let’s make it a helpful learning resource!

Dr. Jean’s Vowel Songs

A few years into teaching, I was lucky enough to go to training by Dr. Jean Feldman. I walked out of that professional development armed with a stack of her CDs. To this day, I STILL pull those CDs out for all sorts of skills from letters to geography.

While you can still purchase the CDs, thankfully her songs are readily available on streaming services!

Here are a few of my favorite vowel songs from Dr. Jean.

• Vowel Cheer gets your students up and moving while you sing about long and short vowel sounds.
Vowel Song covers the two sounds vowels can make in a call and response tune
• The Vowel Family attaches a family member to each of the short vowel sounds.
Sweet Vowels covers all the sounds vowels can make {including the r-controlled versions!}

Leap Frog Vowel Song

This Leap Frog Vowel song gives a quick intro before it launches into the sounds of vowels.

Vowel Bat

Any students you have who are fans of superheroes will LOVE Shari Sloane’s Vowel Bat! This song is an earworm so I’m warning you in advance 🙂

Two Vowels Go Walkin’

After mastering the short vowels, it’s time for the long vowels! Secret Stories will definitely help with all the sounds, but sometimes you just need a catchy jingle to remind students about two vowels next to each other.

This Between the Lions song is a fun reminder of the phonics “rule”

And Jack Hartmann is always a solid choice for a catchy tune, too!

Vowel Activities

Singing songs is awesome BUT we need to give our students lots of chances to practice vowels! Read on to check out some of my favorite vowel activities.

Decodable Readers

Ready to test out that new vowel knowledge? Get your class reading with these print & go decodable books.

Read all about what’s included and how you can easily add these activities to your small group lessons here.

Short Vowel Word Mats

This is an excellent activity to add to your Centers routine. Each short vowel word mat {in either color or black and white} comes with letters. Students need to add the onset to the rime and determine if the word is a real word or a nonsense word.

The best part is that once you prep the activity, you’ve got a Center for years!

These short vowel word searches don’t necessarily teach anything new, but more of a fun review of vowels. And you know what? Sometimes that is okay! These word searches are a great activity to slip into morning word or to leave with a sub.

Short Vowel Poems

I love these poems! Read more about them here!

Have any songs you’d add to this list? Leave a comment and let me know!

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