Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Teaching Kids to Write: The "CVC Words" Stage!
This is a guest post by Rhonda McDonald, a Title 1 Reading Specialist in Botetourt County Public Schools, Virginia and author of two books in our  Kaleidoscope Collection Polar Bears  and  The White Whale



Developmental Writing Stage: "CVC Words" (6–7 years old)

The magic of writing begins in earnest as children move to the developmental writing stage of initial, middle, and final sounds. We also refer to these words as "CVC words" or consonant-vowel-consonant. This would include words that contain short vowels in a medial position (examples:   box ,   cat ,   run ,   hit ,   pen ). Children are excited to write as they gain confidence in putting words together. Practice with CVC words may include word building with foam or magnetic letters.

Children will select the letters that they hear in the word and place them into letter boxes. As they say the sound of the letter, the child will touch the letter and push it slightly upward. At the end of the sounding out /l/ /o/ /g/ the entire word is pronounced. /log/ Practice with word-building will improve quick recognition when they see the words in the text of a story. This skill will also extend to their writing.

In these writing examples, you will see a well-constructed sentence. A capital letter at the beginning and a punctuation mark at the end are evident. Spacing between words is present. The second example shows lines under the words indicating that the child has a strong concept of word. The writing is well positioned on an unlined page leaving space for an illustration below. The size of the letters is proportionate with appropriate letter formation. A child at this developmental stage is able to control a writing tool such as a pencil or marker.

In the 3 rd   and 4 th   examples you will notice that the students were able to correctly spell the CVC words, but not necessarily other words. The word /the/ is spelled /hte/ in the 3 rd   example. It is considered a sight word and does not fit the CVC rules for sounding out the typical alphabet letter sounds. The letters in the sentences are well formed with a couple of reversals. Children are beginning to add more details to their illustrations that bring out their individuality.

Oops, Mr. Wishy-Washy   is a charming story from   The Joy Cowley Collection . In this story, Mr. Wishy-Washy goes outside to feed the animals and forgets to turn off the kitchen tap. With a little help from the cow, pig, and duck, he is able to clean up the mess and wash all the dishes before Mrs. Wishy-Washy returns from town.

  • After reading the story,   play “I Spy”   with the CVC words:   tap ,   ran ,   pig ,   mop ,   had .
  • Build word ladders   with a dry erase board or magnetic letters by changing one letter of the CVC word to a new word. Give the children a clue for the next word.

Example: "pig"

- Change one letter in pig and make a word that is the opposite of little: big

- Change one letter in big and make a word that is something you put groceries in: bag

- Change one letter in bag and make a word that is something that tells a price: tag

- Change one letter in tag and make a word that means to pull on: tug

  • Give the children some   play dough . Divide it into three small balls. With each ball, create the lower case alphabet letter that represents the sounds in the CVC word. Ask them to touch each letter as they sound out the word.
  • Form CVC words with   bendable pipe cleaners or Wikki Sticks . Touch each lowercase letter as it is sounded out, then say the entire word. The tactile approach reinforces the unique shape of the letters and involves the sense of touch with sight and sound of the letter.
  • Extend the skill   by looking for CVC words in the story with an /s/ added:   cups ,   pots ,   pans . Talk about how adding an   s   creates a word that means more than one thing.
  • Introduce   blends and digraphs   by looking at how the sounds blend in these words from the story:   plug   /pl/,   fast /st/,   went   /nt/,   sink   /nk/,   duck   /ck/,   with   /th/,   path   /th/.
  • Write about the story   with different animals. Ask them how they would solve the problem in the story.
    • Role play   the story. Encourage the use of different voices for the characters.


For more information on the   Kaleidoscope Collection   or the   Joy Cowley Collection , you can download information sheets by clicking on the images below.

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