If you’re teaching your child to read or spell short e words, these printable milk cap spelling mats are perfect!
My Four is learning to sound out short vowel words. We’ve used my word family houses, read ‘n stick mats, and other hands-on activities to practice “sounding it out.” We’ve also used milk cap spelling mats. Today I’m sharing a set for short e word families.
I got out our new spelling mats and our milk cap letters (learn how to make them and get a free pattern in this post). When you go through the cards you will find both easy and more challenging words within the word families.
The short e spelling mats contain these words:
bed, red, shed sled
net, wet, vet, jet
hen, pen, ten, men
vest, nest, test, best
well, bell, shell, smell
tent, cent, bent, dent
peck, deck, neck, check
Since my little guy is just starting out with sounding out words, we kept it simple. I pulled out only the 3-letter spelling mats. After your child has mastered those, the next step would be to add the words with a beginning blend or digraph, like shed and sled. Even more challenging words have a more complex ending, like peck or well. And the most challenging of all have a beginning blend or digraph plus a longer ending: shell, smell, and check.
It might be a good idea to start with the sides with the printed letters first, no matter your child’s ability. That way he knows what words he’s going to spell. While some are pretty obvious (“pen”), others are a little tricky (“dent”).
Here’s how it sounded at our house:
“Okay, let’s get a new card. What’s this a picture of?”
“Right! What letter do we need first?”
“N…. where’s the n? Here it is. Now a red letter. E.”
“What sound does the e make?”
“Eh. And now I need a t.”
After we had done the easy side of a few mats, I decided to see if my Four could spell without seeing the letters. I turned the cards to the blank side and helped him stretch out each word. After he was done, he slid the letters off and flipped the card over to check his answer (see the above picture).
Here’s what it sounded like when we did the harder side:
“What’s this picture?”
“Can you stretch out the word like a rubber band?”
“I don’t know how to do that.”
“Say it like this. Rrreeeeeeed.”
“That’s perfect! What’s the first letter?”
“Now what do you hear in the middle?”
“It’s a red letter. It’s E.”
“Can you stretch out the word again to figure out the last letter?”
“Reeeeed. I don’t know.”
“Reeeeed. /d/ What letter says /d/?”
“You got it!”
I was surprised and pleased by how well he did with this. The last time we tried it (a month or two ago), he would not attempt the harder side.
For kids at a more advanced level, you might try my free spelling printables for short vowel words.
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