In this game, your child will find the vowel in a word and say its sound before reading the word.
Before you play, make a game board by printing the template or by making your own. If making your own, you or your child can randomly write one vowel (a, e, i, o, u) in each space. Next, print the word cards or make your own. If making your own, you will need 15 to 20 note cards or pieces of paper cut to the same size. Write one word from one of the word lists (in Tips section) on each card. Stack the cards face down near the game board and place the game pieces on the start space.
Tell your child that you are going to play a reading game called Vowels First. “Let’s say each vowel’s sound before we play.” Point to the vowels on the game board one by one as you say the short sound for the vowel and ask your child to say it after you, “This sound is /a/ like in cat, say ‘/a/.’” Repeat with the other vowel sounds: /e/ like in pet, /i/ like in sit, /o/ like in pot, and/u/ like in cut. You may want to go through the first ten spaces on the game board until your child seems familiar with the sounds.
Explain how to play the game by saying, “We will take turns drawing a word card from the top of the pile and turning it over. First I need to find the vowel in the word.” Point to the vowel as you say, “I found the vowel. The vowel’s sound is /a/. Now I’ll start at the beginning and glide my finger under the letters as I say the sounds slowly and smoothly: st-aaa-ck. Then I read the whole word: stack. The vowel in this word says /a/, so I get to move my game piece to the first matching vowel on the board.”
Place your game piece on the first corresponding vowel sound space and invite your child to take a turn. Guide your child through the steps:
Take turns until you reach the end of the board!