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CVC words and closed-syllable words

  What is a CVC word?

Typically taught in kindergarten, grade one, and beginning readers, a CVC word is made up of consonant, vowel, and consonant sounds. It includes the vowel-consonant VC word in this category. CVC and VC words are closed-syllable words because there is only one vowel and the vowel is short in each word. The vowel is short because it has a consonant after the vowel, for example, at, kib, pus, mod, and bed.


CVC words are simple closed syllables because they have no clusters of consonants or blends before and/or after the vowel. They are the easiest concept to learn and are decodable, thus they are the first step and the most important words in learning to read the English language because they help to attain the level of awareness that will fully support word recognition, spelling, writing, vocabulary development, and reading comprehension.

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How to teach CVC words effectively?

The sounds of the English language are the basic foundation for learning to read and connecting the sounds is the pillar for learning to read; teaching the CVC words is no exception.

The teacher must teach the students the correct sounds along with strategies, one after another but must focus on one vowel at a time in a structured method by arranging the CVC words with the same consonants at the end of the words such as cag, dag, lag, hag, etc. Incorporating strategies and explaining the rules are extremely important so that students even with severe dyslexia can learn each concept in less than 10 minutes.


The teacher must be creative, by including any activities that she may have or can think about such as play-doh, clay, rice boxes (I do not use sand because it is so messy), big cardboard shapes as sounds, etc, to reinforce learning.

Students need practice, tons of practice for fluency, and for preparing them to read longer words. They would have a very weak foundation for this concept which would hinder them from reading multisyllabic words if they lack fluency and if the instruction is incorrect.


What is next after CVC?

After teaching the CVC words, the teacher can introduce the one-syllable words with clusters of consonants or blends to the students, and of course, with appropriate teaching along with strategies and tips, they can also learn each concept within 10 minutes of instruction even with severe dyslexic students.


Closed syllables can have more than one consonant clustered together with only one vowel before them which is short. Cluck, drink, spring, and splash are all closed-syllable words. The teacher must introduce this level with one concept and one vowel at a time structurally followed by fluency in each concept then fluency for all the blends, for example, blog, blot, blop, concept, followed by a structured cl blend such as, clog, clot, clop, then flog, flot, flop then combine all the blends with this consonant with l blend.


 What is next after the consonant digraphs?


Depeding upon the students capacity to learn, you might introduce the exceptions to the closed syllable rules or the welded sounds; ang, ong, ung, ing, first before the exceptions to the rules of the closed syllables. The focus is the same, with the same concept and one vowel at a time first, followed by the fluency of each concept and then mixing them for fluency, for example, the teacher must teach the sh only first and not mix with ch at the same time because mixing them both at the beginning of the lesson creates confusion. 


Again with appropriate teaching along with strategies and tips, students with mild and severe dyslexia can also learn each concept within 10 minutes of instruction.

Teaching the exceptions to the closed syllable rules will follow after the closed syllable words.


Although there is only one vowel with consonants after the vowel, the vowel is not short, but long, therefore, the following sound combinations are exceptions to the closed syllable rules.


For example:

old = bold, cold, mold

olt = bolt, colt, jolt

ost = host, most, post

ild = child, mild, wild

ind = bind, kind, grind


 What is next after the exceptions to the closed syllable rules?

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