The foundation of reading skills starts by introducing kids to individual letter sounds, followed by teaching them CVC words. These simple words are formed by blending three phonemes with distinct sounds. CVC words follow the consonant-vowel-consonant pattern and are integral to introducing kids to the art of reading.
Teachers use a multitude of tools to teach CVC words in their kindergarten classrooms. A wonderful teaching aid that never fails to engage students is a “pocket chart.” In this write-up, we are going to talk about the use of pocket charts to facilitate early childhood education, how you can make a DIY pocket chart for CVC words, and a couple of activities to go with it. So, let’s get started!
Use of pocket charts in early education
Pocket charts are immensely useful in early education classrooms. They offer great versatility and can be used in numerous ways to support classroom learning. As pocket charts allow for hands-on activities, they are particularly beneficial in keeping wandering minds engaged in the lesson.
Teachers can use pocket charts to conduct individual, group, or partner activities without having to spread out a lot of learning materials on a table. You can use them to teach word formation, sentence construction, number recognition, and even counting. Some teachers also use them for displaying name cards, questions of the day, and visual class schedules for kids to refer to.
Pocket charts to learn CVC words
Many teachers love using pocket charts as a teaching tool in their classrooms. They’re great because they need less storage space, are super easy to use, and offer a visual and interactive way to reinforce learning. Some ways in which pocket charts are useful for teaching CVC words are as follows:
- Improves phonemic awareness: Manipulating individual sounds in CVC words on the pocket chart can reinforce phonemic awareness skills, which are essential to fostering early reading skills in young children.
- Allows visual representation: Pocket charts provide a visual representation of CVC words, making it easier for students to recognize and understand the letter-sound relationships.
- Supports hands-on manipulation: Students can physically handle and manipulate letter cards in the pocket chart. This experience helps reinforce learning and engages kids more effectively.
- Encourages word building: With pocket charts, kids can build CVC words by changing the position of individual letter cards. This activity helps them grasp the concept of forming new words by blending different letter sounds.
- Facilitates word family exploration: CVC words often belong to similar word families (e.g., -at, -et, -ig). Pocket charts allow kids to explore and compare word families, helping them identify patterns in a group of words and increase their word recognition skills. You can also incorporate different word recognition strategies to facilitate learning.
Once kids get the hang of CVC words, teachers can use pocket charts to help them construct simple sentences. This activity will help kids understand how CVC words fit into context and how they can be used to construct sentences. Overall, pocket charts are versatile and effective tools for teaching CVC words. It is one of those tools which can be easily clubbed with strategies to encourage active learning and foster literacy skills in young learners.
DIY CVC pocket chart to make learning fun
Things You’ll Need:
- Black marker
- A pair of scissors
- Black chart paper – 1
- A4-size white sheets – 2
- Colorful markers (optional)
- Small Ziplock pouches (or any other transparent pouch) – 6
- A few colorful sheets of paper (Choose two of your favorite colors)
Steps to Follow:
Gather all the materials mentioned in the list above to get started.
Begin by creating the title for the pocket chart. We will write CVC on white sheets to make the title. Use a scissor to cut A4 sheets horizontally, right from the middle, to obtain four half A4 sheets. Out of these, you’ll need only three sheets for the pocket chart.
Write the letters CVC, one on each sheet, to create the title. Use your own creativity or your favorite font style to make an attractive title. After you have outlined the letters with a pencil, go ahead and color them with a black marker.
Now use the six small ziplock pouches to make pockets for the CVC chart. Simply cut the top ‘zip-up’ portion out of the pouches so kids can easily slide the cards in and out. If you only have large ziplock bags with you, cut them out to make six pouches of the desired size and seal the ends with glue. Remember to use a size that’s large enough for the kids to be able to see the big, bold letters from a distance.
- Make as many pockets as you would like, as per your requirements and size needs.
- If you want a longer chart, combine two black chart papers by gluing them together.
- Don’t forget to align the pockets in a 3×2 grid for easy identification of the C-V-C word pattern.
Use the colorful sheets to make cut-outs for the pocket chart. Cut them into a size that will fit into the pockets easily. Basically, the size of the cards must be slightly smaller than the size of the pockets.
For our pocket chart, we have used green color sheets to highlight consonants and yellow sheets for vowels. You can always use any other color as per your liking.
Once the cutouts are ready, slide them into individual pockets, as shown in the image below. Your pockets are now ready!
The green and yellow colors will help little learners distinguish between vowels and consonants when you present them with a pile of letter cards during activity sessions.
Now let’s assemble the pocket chart in the following steps:
Grab your white sheets with CVC written on them and use some glue to stick them on top of the chart in portrait form. This forms the title of the pocket chart and related activities.
Next, glue the pockets you prepared earlier in the form of a grid right below the title. Please note that beginning and ending letters will be consonants (green), while vowels will be at the center (yellow). So make sure you place the pockets accordingly.
It’s time to make the letter cards! Cut out more colorful sheets to write consonants and vowels on individual cards. For our pocket chart, we have cut out 10 x 10 cm cards. You can vary the card size depending on the size of your pouches.
Use a black marker to create dark, bold letters on the cards. You may even use markers in other colors for writing the letters, but we prefer black as it offers optimal readability, even from afar.
The best way to ensure you don’t miss out on any letters is to segregate your tasks. Start by making vowel cards first, followed by cards with consonants. Make sure you make enough of them so every student gets their own set of letter cards.
We totally understand that making so many cards will be a time-consuming activity. To cut it short, you could make only those letter cards you will need for an upcoming activity. As time progresses and you introduce new activities, you can make new cards as and when you need them.
And there you have it! The pocket chart is ready! Pin the chart to a bulletin board or use tape to fix it on the chalkboard or whiteboard during CVC word activities. Your students will love manipulating letters and forming words on their own!
Activities to do with your CVC pocket chart
Place the beginning and ending consonants in the pouches and leave the vowel space blank. For example, you could do C _ T or D _ G. Give vowel cards to your students and ask them to form words by placing the correct vowel in the blank center pouch.
You can repeat this activity several times so every child gets a turn to work on it. Later, let your students experiment with different letter sounds to see how many new words they can come up with. Common words like RAT–MAT and DIG–PIG are easier for kids to form. If you find them getting stuck, guide them appropriately to continue with the activity.
As shown in the image below, cut out white sheets to match the size of your pocket chart pouches to form the background and letter cards. It’s similar to what we prepared using green and yellow cards.
Prepare 10×10 cm white cards or cards according to your previous measurements. But now, instead of individual letters, write different sounds that constitute CVC words. For example, -at, -ap, -en, -ot, -it, -un, or -og.
Print multiple images matching the sounds. For the sound ‘-at,’ you could have pictures of a cat, hat, bat, mat, etc. Similarly, for the sound ‘-un,’ you could have images for bun, sun, run, and so on.
It’s easy to find these images on the internet. But to make your job a tad bit easier, we have compiled a PDF of images just for you! Feel free to download and print it. It’s totally free!
Insert full white cards in all six pouches to create a plain background. Place image cards on a tray so kids can shuffle them easily and use the ones they need.
Add sound cards to the first column of pouches. Target only those sounds you want your students to concentrate on that day.
Encourage your students to think about which words they can form with the sounds mentioned on the chart. They can now search for relevant images from the tray and place them next to the sounds, as seen in the following image. This way, kids not only identify different sounds but also learn to match words with their images.
That’s a Wrap!
So you see how using simple materials, you can create an interactive learning tool for your young learners. A CVC pocket chart is a must-have in any early education classroom as it fits the basic requirements of educators – it’s simple, effective, and so much fun! Much like cool CVC word games kids love to play online.
Sure, you can always buy readily available pocket charts from Walmart or the Dollar Store. Those nylon-based charts with clear vinyl strips are a great alternative if you don’t have the time to do it yourself. But your students will be more excited to try their hands on something their teacher has made especially for them! If this seems interesting, do give it a try!
I am Priyanka Sonkushre, a writer and blogger. I am the person behind “One Loving Mama,” a mom blog. Equipped with a Bachelor’s degree along with an MBA, my healthcare background helps me deeply understand learning difficulties. I know how challenging it can be for parents to find the right resources to help their children excel in life. So, here I am to blend my healthcare expertise with my parenting experience to create valuable and helpful resources for parents and teachers supporting children with learning differences. If you wish, you can follow me on Facebook and LinkedIn.