These cards are suitable for beginning readers of any age who need practice decoding letter sounds and blending them together.
Most of the words in the sets below are 3-letter CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words, with just a few 4-letter words mixed in (CCVC and CVCC). All of the words have short vowel sounds. Each set progressively adds more letters and sounds to decode.
When to Introduce CVC Words
After students have learned the individual sounds of the letters of the English alphabet, your next step is to teach your class to put those sounds together. Usually CVC words are the first words to teach when introducing reading by phonics.
How quickly or slowly you teach English phonics will depend on whether your students can already read in their native language and whether Language 1 is phonetic, uses the roman alphabet, reads left-to-right, etc.
CVC Word Sets
This particular groupings of letters, in non-alphabetical order, comes from the Jolly Phonics method. Visit their website to learn more about their method and to purchase their extensive materials.
When making these free sets I’ve tried to choose vocabulary words that will be familiar to young ESL students. However, for the sake of reading practice I’ve included some words that will probably be new. These words cards do not have pictures, so to teach the meaning of the words you will have to draw and mime. Of course that’s the fun part!
With very young learners, you can pick out only the nouns and present tense verbs from this list, such as: ant and pan, pat and sit. Who wants to mime “it”?
A set of 2-, 3- and 4-letter words made using only the letters: S, A, T, P, I, N. Fourteen words follow the CVC pattern, the rest are a mix of VC, CCVC, and other patterns.
at, in, it, ant, nap, pan, pat, pin, pit, sap, sat, sit, sip, tan, tap, tin, tip, pant, snap, snip, spin, spit, spat, pants
A set of words made up of letters C K E H R M D in addition to Set 1 letters. Set 2 contains thirty CVC words and fourteen 4-letter letter words with blends.
can, cap, cat, did, dip, had, ham, hat, hen, hid, him, hip, hit, kid, mad, man, map, mat, men, met, pen, pet, ram, ran, rat, red, rip, sad, set, ten, camp, damp, dent, hand, hint, kept, mend, melt, mint, mist, rest, risk, sent, step
Set 3 contains thirty-two CVC words, plus twelve 4-letter words. This set adds the letters G, O, U, L, F, B to the letters from Sets 1 and 2.
bad, bat, bed, big, bit, bus, but, cut, dot, dug, fat, fit, fun, gap, get, got, hop, hot, leg, let, lid, lip, lit, log, lot, mug, not, pot, rot, rug, sun, tug, best, bill, clap, club, flat, gift, grub, help, loft, lump, milk, stop
Set 4 contains 3-letter CVC pattern words, plus 18 4-letter words. Words in the set contain the letters J, Z, W, V, Y, and X, in addition to the letters from the previous sets.
jam, job, jog, jet, jug, jazz, just, junk, zebra, zip, zap, buzz, fizz, win, web, wag, wig, wet, went, wept, west, wind, swim, van, vet, vast, vest, vent, yes, yak, yam, yap, yet, yelp, yell, six, fix, mix, fox, box, wax, next, exit, exam