What Are Long and Short Vowels?


Duck is a short vowel word. Duke is a long vowel word.

Duck is a short vowel word. Duke is a long vowel word.

There are six vowels: Aa, Ee, Ii, Oo, Uu, and Yy. Each of these vowels has a long sound and a short sound.



Long Vowels


When a vowel is long, your child can hear the vowel say its name, as in snake. Long vowels are either arranged with two vowels side-by-side, like the examples: air, flea, weasel, goat, pie. Or long vowels are arranged with two vowels separated by only one consonant, like the examples: cane, line, hope, style.


There are two rules for long vowels:


1) When two vowels go walking the 1st vowel does the talking. Examples include: leaf, peach, coat, train, air, day, pie.


2) When there is only one consonant between two vowels, the first vowel will be long. Examples include: poke, nose, lake, tiger.

What's Next?

Teach Your Child Vowels


Use my Long and Short Vowels book to quickly improve your child's reading level.

Short Vowels


Short vowel sounds: grass, limb, pond. Long vowel sounds: air, doe, leaf, hide.

Short vowel sounds include: grass, limb, pond. Long vowel sounds include: air, doe, leaf, hide.

When a vowel is short, your child will not be able to hear the vowel say its name.


A vowel is usually short if it is the only vowel in the word, as in man, hen, fish, hop, tub, raft.


And, it is short when there are two or more consonants between two vowels, for example: better, mother, whisper, pitcher, catcher, wiggle, pickle


There are two rules for short vowels:


1) When there is only one vowel in a word, the vowel usually does not say its name. This type of vowel is called a short vowel. Examples include: drink, sip, walk, log, dark, limb, with, will, soft, wet, trunk, match.


2) If there is more than one consonant between vowels, the 1st vowel will be short as well as the 2nd vowel. Examples include: panther, battle, better, sister, mother, father, brother.


However, there are exceptions to these rules. Some words have a short sound regardless of what vowels are involved. For example, the short vowel words: panic, feather, family.


Another group of exceptions are words that should have short vowels, but instead they have long vowels: paste, waste, taste, haste, tangle, strange, stranger.


For more information about vowels and vowel practice exercises, you may want to consider my Long and Short Vowel exercises book for grades 1-3 or my Prefixes and Suffixes exercises book for all other grades. All my books put the tricky letter teams like ce in bold so that your child sees them and learns them as she reads the stories.

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I'm Mary Maisner, and I have experience teaching reading as both a teacher and a tutor. While completing my masters in teaching, I devised an incredibly effective method to help students learn how to read. I put together this site to share my teaching method with you. It's called the Zoom Reading Strategy.

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