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Teaching Vowels and Consonants

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Letters come in two varieties: vowels and consonants.

How can you teach them in a fun and memorable way?

We’ve got the answers!

Teaching Vowels and Consonants

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What Are Vowels and Consonants?

The alphabet has 26 letters.

Each letter can be categorized as either a vowel or a consonant.

A vowel is formed from air passing over the vocal cords.

You simply open your mouth and say the vowel (think about saying “ahhhhh” for the doctor).

Consonants are formed when you block the flow of air or sound with your lips, teeth, tongue, or soft palate.

Think of a baby learning to babble, “ba ba ba ba.” She blocks the flow of sound by closing her lips to form the sound of the consonant b.

All vowels require the voice.

They are sounds you can sing.

Consonants, however, only sometimes require the voice.

For example, make the sound of the letter s (hiss like a snake).

That does require any noise from your vocal cords.

It takes only air passing through your teeth.

Teaching Vowels and Consonants

Vowels and Consonants List

The vowels are easy to spot because there are only five: a, e, i, o, and u.

These vowels can make more than one sound (for example, a can stand for “ah” and “ay”), but all these sounds require only the voice.

Vowels can even be put together to form other vocalized sounds like “oo” and “ou.”

The consonants are the remaining letters: b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, and z.

All of these letters require the teeth, tongue, lips, or soft palate to form.

Little learners do not need to know this at first, but two letters are “sometimes vowels.” The letters y and w sometime make a vowel sound (as in the words “try” and “bow”).

Teaching Vowels and Consonants

Activities for Teaching Vowels and Consonants

How can you teach kids to tell the difference between vowels and consonants?

Try some of these hands-on activities!

Use Classic Songs to Learn the Vowels

After you learn the 26 letters of the alphabet, it is the most efficient to memorize which ones are the vowels.

By process of elimination, the others are all consonants.

You can teach the child the five vowels by rewriting classic children’s songs like “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” and “Bingo.”

Old MacDonald Had a Farm
a, e, i, o, u,
And on that farm he had a dog
a, e, i, o, u

There was a farmer who had a dog and Vowel-y was his name-oh
a, e, i, o, u
a, e, i, o, u

a, e, i, o, u
And Vowel-y was his name-oh

Teaching Vowels and Consonants

Find the Quiet Consonants

Which letters are the quietest?

The consonants that take only air to produce.

Use flashcards to sort and find the quietest letters of the alphabet by pronouncing each one (answers: c, f, h, k, p, s, t, and x).

Color Sort

Make a set of alphabet flashcards where all the consonants are one color and all the vowels are another. Pretty soon your student will learn by sight the difference between vowels and consonants.

Opera Vowel Song

You can sing all the vowels.

Using five flashcards with vowels on them, arrange them in a random order.

Have fun singing the song like an opera singer as you sing the name of each vowel (“oooohhh, eeeeee, ayyyyyy, yuuuuuu, iiiiiii”)

Teaching Vowels and Consonants

Teaching Kids About Vowels and Consonants

Learning letters is the foundation for reading.

Start your kids on the path to success by teaching about vowel and consonants with these fun activities.

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