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Lesson Plans
Long Vowel Combinations
1st–2nd Grade

CCSS Reading: Foundational Skills
  • RF.1.3b: Decode regularly spelled one-syllable words.
  • RF.1.3c: Know final -e and common vowel team conventions for representing long vowel sounds.
  • RF.2.3b: Know spelling-sound correspondences for additional common vowel teams.

Materials Needed

  1. Write the following words on chart paper:
    tap    hop    fin
  2. Ask a volunteer to read each word aloud. Point out that the vowel sound in each word is a short vowel (as in “apple,” “object” and “igloo”).
  3. Next, write an “e” at the end of each word to form the words “tape,” “hope” and “fine.”
  4. Tell students that this final -e (sometimes called a “magic e”) changes the vowel sound from short to long.


  1. Explain to students that the “magic e” is only one way to create a long vowel sound. Invite students to help you discover other spelling combinations that create long vowel sounds.
  2. Display the Long Vowel Words building board on an overhead projector or interactive whiteboard. Then place the long vowel picture cards on the board, and lead students in helping you build the word with the corresponding letter tiles. Complete the board using one vowel sound at a time.
  3. When you sound out the words, emphasize which letter combinations are used to make the long vowel sounds. (For example, long “o” sounds can be made by combining “o” and “a” or “o” and “e.” Long “a” sounds are made by combining “a” and “i” and sometimes “a” and “y.” Long “i” sounds are made by combining “i” and “e.” And long “e” sounds are made by combining “e” and “a” or “e” and “e”.)
  4. Continue displaying picture cards and building the corresponding words (long “a”: rake, nail, hay; long “e”: ear, leaf, teeth; long “i”: hive, pie; long “o”: goat, nose, hoe; long “u”: cube).
  5. As you build the words, discuss the letters that make up the long vowel sound and write them on an anchor chart like below:

Long “a” Long “e” Long “i” Long “o” Long “u”
ai ea ie oa u__e
ay ee i__e oe
a__e y o__e

Guided Practice

  1. Give each student a copy of the “oa” Word Ladder activity page.
  2. Have students look at the picture on the top rung and say the picture name aloud (“goat”). Point out that the word is spelled for them in the blank (“goat”). Tell students, “In this example, the long ‘o’ vowel sound is made by the ‘oa’ combination.”
  3. Encourage students to use their letter tiles to spell the word “goat.”
  4. Explain that the other words on the page have the “oa” combination and also make the long “o” vowel sound. Students will need to look at the picture clues, say the picture name aloud, and listen for the beginning and ending sounds to determine the correct spelling.
  5. After students have used their letter tiles to spell out each picture name, have them complete the page by writing the name of each picture on the writing lines.
  6. Finally, challenge students to select another Word Ladder activity page to practice long vowel combinations.

Independent Practice

  1. Download and print out the Three-In-A-Row game spinner, word list and game board. Make several copies of the game board. Set the materials up in a learning center.
  2. Give students a Three-In-A-Row game board. Have them choose nine words from the word list and write them on the game board in any order.
  3. Next, have students use a paper clip and a pencil to spin on the spinner. Encourage them to say the vowel sound that the spinner points to and then use a small scrap of paper or game marker to cover the word on their game board that has the same vowel combination.
  4. Invite students to continue playing, taking turns spinning and covering words with the same vowel sound combinations. The first player to cover three words in a row (down, across or diagonally) wins the game!

View the 1st–2nd grade lesson plan. (Includes all printable materials.)
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