Reading Reminder: Vowel Sounds

Vowel SoundsThere are 18 vowel sounds in the English language.  The five main vowels are A, E, I, O, and U.  Sometimes W and Y also act as vowels.  Vowel sounds can be put into the following categories:

5 Long Vowels:  Long vowels are when the sound is the same as the letter name – faith, dream, smile, vote, rule.

5 Short Vowels:  Short vowels are often the hardest for people to hear differentiated.  They are the sounds at the beginning of the following words – Ultimate optimism, attitude is everything.

3 R-Controlled Vowels:  Vowels make these sounds when paired with an R.

  • AR as in scarf
  • OR as in storm
  • ER, IR, and UR as in her, sir, or fur

5 Special Vowel Sounds:  These vowel combinations do not use long or short sounds, but create a special sound of their own.  W and Y are part of some of these special combinations.

  • AU and AW as in Paul and saw
  • OU and OW as in sound and how
  • OI and OY as in voice and joy
  • OO as in zoo
  • OO as in book
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