While at the grocery store, your child will help you shop for items with long or short vowel sounds.
Learning Area(s): Reading and Writing
Before doing this activity at the store, create your shopping list. Be mindful of the vowel sounds in each item on your list so that your child can practice listening for short and long vowel sounds.
Remember: Long vowels sound like the name of the letter, like in the words ace, we, hi, over, use. Usually, vowels make a short sound, like in the words apple, well, swim, doll, mud. Find more examples of grocery store items with long and short vowel sounds in Tips.
On the way to the supermarket, explain the activity to your child: “I need your help shopping today! I’m going to read you some items on our shopping list and you’ll help me find them in the store. Then you’ll say if you hear a short or long vowel sound in the word. Remember, long vowels sound like the name of the letter, but short vowels make a different sound. Let’s try one. Is the vowel sound in meat short or long?” (Long.) “Is the vowel sound in met short or long?” (Short.) Extend by asking, “Which letter makes those sounds?” (The letter E.)
“When we’re at the store, if I say we need grapes, we’ll go find the grapes and you’ll put them in the cart. Then I’ll ask you, ‘Does the word grapes have a long or short vowel sound?’ and you’ll say…” Allow your child to fill in the blank.
- If they answer correctly (long), provide a challenge by asking your child to say the vowel sound on its own and say which letter makes that sound. (/aaa/ and the letter A.)
- If your child can’t identify the vowel sound, stretch out the word into its sounds and have your child repeat: “Grapes. /gr/-/aaa/-/ps/. What vowel sound do you hear in the middle of the word?” Praise your child for identifying the vowel sound.
When you get to the store, remind your child of what to do. Follow these steps:
- Read an item from your shopping list.
- Find the item with your child.
- Your child identifies the short or long vowel sound. Provide support as needed.
- Your child puts the item in the cart.
Play for as long as your child is interested.
|short vowel words
|long vowel words
- If the item has more than one syllable or word (for example, cucumber), have your child say which vowel sound they hear in the first syllable or word (for example, the first syllable cu has a long u vowel sound).
- When a syllable has two vowel sounds that “slide together,” that’s called a diphthong. You hear them in words like soy, foil, and flour. If your grocery item has a diphthong in it, explain to your child that it’s a special type of long vowel sound that is actually two sounds!
- If your child cannot go shopping with you, have your child “shop” for items in your kitchen.
- Some of the items you shop for may have names that come from other languages (for example, salsa, pasta, or naan). Though the letters may not make the same sounds in other languages, encourage your child to think about the vowel sounds they hear in those words.
- an additional challenge, your child can spell each item as they put it in the cart. Some words with long vowel sounds may be tricky to spell! For example, a, ay, ai, and eigh all make the long a vowel sound.