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Vowel Recognition Exercise

Many children have trouble processing quickly the differences between long and short vowels. This makes their word attack skills very slow and arduous. Vowel recognition is to help children decode words faster. It is usually a precursor activity to syllable reading. Once this exercise is mastered, the child is usually ready to do syllable reading.

In working with children with reading difficulties it is always good to rule out problems with developmental vision. If the child has good developmental vision, Vowel recognition can be taught. If the child does not have good developmental vision, work on developmental vision before dong vowel recognition.

It is also recommended that the participant do balance exercises while doing vowel recognition. After several trials of vowel recognition, add a balance component to the exercises. This should augment learning and help the child to remediate their reading problems sooner.

This exercise requires the use of a metronome (actual or digital) and a piece of paper with the five vowels, list of words that have long and short vowels. This exercise can be very frustrating for poor readers. Try to push the child or encourage the child to go through the steps, but never to the point that the child starts crying. Use frequent praise and encouragement and celebrate personal advances. Do not do this exercise for more than 20 minutes a day.

Step by Step Instructions.

1. Set the metronome for a comfortable rate for the participant (usually about 70 beats per minute). Some children will need a slower beat. It does not matter where the child starts in terms of beat, what is important is that it is the most comfortable beat for the child (not too fast and not too slow). You can also snap a beat with your fingers if you do not have a metronome and only if you have relatively good consistent rhythm.

2. Have the child sound out the vowels a e i o u (long vowel sound) as he reads it from a sheet of paper, one vowel per beat. Keep doing this until the child is good at sounding out each vowel with the beat.

3. On the second sheet of paper will be a list of words grouped together. Pick a set of words with the long vowel sound. Notice some of the words are not really words, but have the child pronounce the non-sense word anyway. Have them get real good at saying each word to the beat of the metronome. Stay with the same group of five words until the child has mastered sounding each word to the beat of the metronome. Have them restart the same group of 5 words without skipping a beat. For some children this may be so frustrating that you have to stop the exercise at this point. You may have to start step one again the next day.

4. For those children able to keep going, select a word set with the short vowel sound (e.g., bat, bet, bit, bot, but). Have them say each one to the beat of the metronome. Correct them when necessary. Hopefully they will self correct within a short time. This step is mastered when they can say each word to the beat of the metronome and restart again without missing a beat and without making a mistake (e.i., it becomes easy for them).

5. Go back to the paper that has the five vowels on it. Have the child say the five vowels with the short vowel sound. Work on this using the same mastery criteria as in step 4. Some children will need to stop at this point.

6. For children ready to go on, pick another long vowel sound group of five words and work toward mastery. Then pick another group of short vowel sound words and work toward mastery.

7. Review the paper with the vowels and have the child say them with the long sound and the short sound. Have them do the long sound and then the short sound without missing a beat.

8. Have the child work on two sets of words (one set long and the other set short vowel sounds) and say them both without missing a beat. Work towards mastery.

9. Repeat step 7.

10. When the child is real good at going through long and short lists of words, try the sets of words that are irregular (e.g., hay, hey, hiy, hoy, huy or shaw, shew, shiw, show, shuw). Work on these lists until mastery. Combine two hard lists together, work towards mastery. Mix some easy lists with the irregular lists and work towards mastery.

11. Overtime increase the beat of the metronome.

12. Overtime add balance exercises simultaneous to this exercise.

13. Mastery is achieved when the child can quickly and with a relatively fast beat (e.g., 120 beats per minute) say any word list (assigned randomly) three times without missing a beat.

Exercise: Vowel Recognition Exercise.

Time: Time: about 10 to 20 minutes depending on how on how frustrating it is for the child that day.

Recommended Frequency: once a day, 5 or 6 days per week until Step 13 has been achieved

Materials Needed. Metronome (actual or digital), a piece of paper with the five vowels, list of words that have long and short vowels.

Pretest Assessment: participant with good developmental vision and can identify quickly letters of the alphabet are unable to sound out words quickly.

Mastery. participant can quickly say any word list (assigned randomly) three times without missing a beat set at 120 beats per minute.

Additional comments: The type of balance exercise is not important. There are many balance exercises listed in our balance section. It can be as simple as standing on one foot or standing on a balance board, or wobble board. After this exercise is mastered, the child will be ready for syllable reading.

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