CVC Words

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Here are 4 sets of easy-to-print CVC flashcards! These cards are suitable for beginning readers of any age who need practice decoding letter sounds and blending them together.

Wait, what are CVC words? you might be asking. They are words that follow the consonant-vowel-consonant pattern and have short vowel sounds.

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.

4 sets of CVC word cards

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.

The 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 beautiful materials.

When making these 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”? 🙂

CVC Words Set 1

A great first set of phonics cards to use when introducing phonics and reading to ESL students. This set uses only six letters: s, a, t, p, i, n. If you’re familiar with Jolly Phonics, these are known as ‘Group 1’ words.

These six letters give beginning readers a lot of words to decode without having to master the entire alphabet. Also, these letters have distinctly different shapes (no confusing pairs like b and d, for example), making it easier for learners to work out the sounds.

Note: All 24 words in this set have short vowels. However, a few words follow the CCVC and CVCC patterns with initial or final consonant blends: sp-, sn-, -nt . Omit the blends if your class is just starting out, or practice the VC and CVC pattern words first.

  • 24 word cards
  • 3 page PDF

Download CVC Words Set 1

Word list:
at, in, it, ant, nap, pan, pant, pants, pat, pin, pit, sap, sat, sit, sip, tan, tap, tin, tip, snap, snip, spin, spit, spat.

CVC Words Set 2

Building on CVC Words Set 1, this card set adds seven more letters to practice blending simple words with c, k, e, h, r, m, d. These are ‘Group 2’ words if you are using Jolly Phonics. With Sets 1 and 2 you will be practicing 13 letters total. Your students will be able to read over 60 words using only half the alphabet! Again, a small number of the words in this set have final consonant blends.

  • 44 word cards
  • 5 page PDF

Download CVC Words Set 2

Word list:
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.

CVC Words Set 3

CVC Words 3 adds six more letters to those in the first two CVC word card sets. The Jolly Phonics materials refer to these as ‘Group 3’ words. The following letters make up this set: s a t p i n (Set 1) + c k e h r m d (Set 2) + g o u l f b (Set 3)

  • 44 word cards
  • 5 page PDF

Download CVC Words Set 3

Word list:
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.

CVC Words Set 4

Introducing some of the least frequently used letters of the English alphabet! Set 4 contains words made with the exciting letters j, z, w, v, y, and x. Building on the three earlier sets, the 44 words here include almost all the letters except q. Poor q.

  • 43 word cards
  • 5 page PDF

Download CVC Words Set 4

Word list:
jam, job, jog, jet, jug, jazz, just, junk, 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.

UPDATE March 2020: We’ve added colour-coded borders to easily separate the sets, as well as a matching Colour Coded Alphabet Set.

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