Looking for an activity to help your child practice reading those short vowel words? Try these!
Our middle son just turned five and recently mastered short vowel words. These reading mats have been a big help!
During my first year of blogging, I shared a total of 35 picture and word mats for the short vowel word families.
Why we love our short vowel picture mats and word cards
1. They highlight common word families. It’s much easier to learn to read short vowel words in two chunks (/h/ and /am/) than sounding out every single letter. These mats helped my kids learn to recognize familiar patterns in words.
2. They build vocabulary. Most of the mats have a couple of words that are probably new to your child.
3. The pictures give an extra clue for beginning readers. The last thing I want is for my kids to get frustrated when they’re learning to read. The visual aid of the pictures gives beginning readers just the help they need.
4. They’re quick. I love reading activities that provide a lot of practice in a short amount of time. While I taught my oldest two kids to read before kindergarten, our reading practice was only about 10-15 minutes at a time. Your child can read a single mat in just a few minutes.
5. They introduce blends and digraphs. Blends (tr, cl, sw, etc.) and digraphs (sh, ch, th) can be tricky for new readers. I’ve found that by introducing them in these mats, my kids master them more quickly than they would otherwise.
How to assemble and use the mats
1. Print the picture mat and the word cards.
2. Laminate the mat and the page with the cards. Then cut apart the cards. (Tip: for some laminators you will need to cut apart the cards, laminate, and cut apart again. Thankfully, our laminator seals so well I only have to cut afterward.)
3. It’s up to you how you want your reader to attach the cards to the mats.
- Velcro dots are fun and add a little zip to the activity. They’re also a little pricy and time-consuming to assemble. But they last a long time! You can store the mats in a binder, and the word cards usually stay stuck to the mats.
- Recently I started using sticky tack. The cards stick very well for the most part, and you can either leave them stuck to the mats or take off the sticky tack each time.
- You could also use nothing at all and simply have your child place the cards on the mats. In that case, you need a storage solution for the cards.
4. Store the mats. I’ve found that a big 3-ring binder works great! You can also slide a few mats into a gallon size plastic bag and stand it upright in a bin (the bag won’t seal).
Get the mats for free
- Short a word family mats
- Short e word family mats
- Short i word family mats
- Short o word family mats
- Short u word family mats
Purchase a bundle of updated and expanded mats
Want the new and improved version? Here’s what you’ll get when you purchase the bundle:
- No tedious downloading! Just one purchase and you’ll get three files in your e-mail to download and save to your computer. Open and print any time!
- Beautiful new pictures and a crisper font. If you’d like to see the new look, check out the short a mats. I uploaded those into the post. The rest of the mats have the old pictures and font.
- Color-coded cards. If a card comes loose, you can quickly find the mat it belongs to. And if you don’t want to attach the cards at all, you can put them in individual sandwich bags and easily find which picture mat they belong to.
- Games that go with each mat!
Purchase the full bundle in my shop
Short Vowel Word Family Mats & Games
Students love these hands-on reading mats! Print the mats and cards in color or black and white. Watch your students read and match the words to the pictures. You’ll also get a printable worksheet and two games for each mat!