One of the things I like about the Montessori approach is the movable alphabet. The consonants are blue and the vowels are red and you tell an early speller that all words have to have at least 1 red letter.
So after ALuv (almost 6 years old) re-matched his short u words and pictures from Words Their Way,
we looked at our Word Wall. I showed him how I backed A, E, I, O, and U in a red color and the rest of the letters were backed in blue. I explained that the “red” letters were special letters: vowels and that you have to have at least one in each word.
I wrote out all the words from his word sort and he used a blue marker (for the consonants) and a red marker (for the vowels) to trace over the words. This was also a great way to sneak in some handwriting! He was quick to point out that all of these words only had one vowel and every word had the same vowel. I love it when kids make their own discoveries.
That afternoon, as he ate a bowl of cereal (his favorite “food group”), he noticed that Cheerios had 4 vowels. This gave me an idea. We could go on a vowel hunt.
The next day, I prepared this Vowel Hunt & Sort. (It’s formatted in Word just in case you wanted to change it up for your purposes.) I picked labels from around our schoolroom. (Labels are a great way to give emergent readers an authentic reason to read & to integrate literacy into every day life.) I purposely didn’t pick Word Wall words, since most of his words only have 1 vowel.
At first, he was reluctant. “I can’t read these words,” he claimed. But I encouraged him to simply cut them out and we’d figure out the words together after that.
I gave him a highlighter to highlight the vowels. But after highlighting two words, he decided he could sort the words by 1, 2, or 3 vowels without this extra step. He also figured that he could sort them without reading them; since he was only counting the vowels. Just a side note: we sorted window as having 2 vowels, even though technically the w at the end is considered a vowel. Explaining that will be left for another day.
Then came the fun part. I picked up board (the sample word) and showed him how I could find the matching word in the schoolroom. He quickly caught on and away he went. He really enjoyed doing this.
So much so, that I challenged him to find other words around the house that had more than 3 vowels. He found…
I challenged him further to figure out who had the most vowels in our family. He was excited to find out that he and his sister had the most. I did have to explain that the y counts as a vowel in my name and his name because it makes the long e sound.
He’s been counting vowels all afternoon! Can anyone tell me how to get him to stop?!? 🙂
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christine munn says
So fun! That is a great game to raise his vowel awareness!