Consonants and Short Vowels

Now that we are accustomed to the phonic progression that will be followed in this blog, It’s time we get started with the lessons. The entire lesson progression has been mentioned in a tabular form in our previous blog post entitled Phonics Progression.

The first lesson taught to the learner will be- Letter Names and Symbols. This topic also has been covered by us in our previous blog. Make sure you start teaching the next lesson, Consonants, and Vowels only after your learners have gained enough practice with Letter Names and Symbols. 

The second lesson that the learners will be taught according to the Katelyn’s Phonic Progression is Consonants and Vowels. The sequence of alphabets is mentioned the progression. Please refer to the previous blog for more details. We recommend this progression based on our experience in classrooms. We are very thankful to Teach For India for laying it out so clearly.

What are consonants and vowels?

Consonants and vowels are fundamental speech sounds that make up the alphabet. The English alphabet has 26 letters out of which 21 are consonants and 5 vowels. The 21 consonants are “b”, “c”, “d”, “f”, “g”, “h”, “j”, “k”, “l”, “m”, “n”, “p”, “q”, “r”, “s”, “t”, “v”, “w”, “x”, “y”, “z” and the 5 vowels are “a,” “e,” “i,” “o” and “u”. Although, the letter “y” is both a vowel and a consonant depending on its pronunciation. For instance, “y” is a consonant in the word yellow, but a vowel in the word happy.
The consonant sounds are produced by stopping the breath in the vocal tract while uttering them. While the vowel sounds are produced by keeping the mouth and throat open while the vocal cords vibrate without friction. A syllable always has a vowel sound in it. Consonant sounds by themselves cannot form syllables.

Difference between Vowels and Consonants also has a very good video to explain this difference to children.

Since vowels and consonants are covered now, we will now be getting into explaining short vowel sounds.

What are short Vowel sounds, Long vowel sounds and silent vowels?

Every vowel has two sounds- one short and the other long. When a vowel sounds like its name, this is called a long sound. A vowel letter can also have short sounds. Whether a vowel has a long sound, a short sound, or remains silent, depends on its position in a word and the letters around it.

For more detailed information, you can refer here This site has demonstrated audio-visual utterances of all long and short vowel sounds. This could be useful for both teaching and learning.

How do we start?

To teach the difference between consonants and short vowels, this youtube video is extremely beneficial:

Strategies that can be used:

  • The learners should be told to utter the alphabets loudly and clearly. The teacher should take the repetitive practice of this. The teacher can use basic English alphabets chart for the same. Initially, focus on all the alphabets. Then turn their attention to the vowels only.
  • This is a audio-visual representation of all the vowels in tune of the rhyme Old Mac-Donald had a farm. This is to explain all the vowels in English Alphabet. Alongside, the teacher can give examples for every vowel sound.
  • In order to teach the consonants, the teacher can start off by playing this consonant song. This video has been uploaded by Have Fun Teaching. Although this video is very long, it is very elaborate. The teacher can pick the alphabets that should be taught according to the given progression.


  1. Sort them!
    Sort them is a simple game, where the teacher will need several plastic or fiber alphabets. He/she can put them on the floor and ask the learners to sort them into vowels and consonants. While the learners pick individual letters, they have to utter the sound and then sort them. A simple game can be played in small groups where the learners compete with each other as to who will complete the sorting first.
Fig: Alphabets that can be used for the game

2. Guess the letter
Guess the letter game works exactly opposite to Say a Word game. The teacher has to provide a lot of images of objects and place them on the notice board or floor facing upside down. The learners have to individually pick the images and recognize the object. Followed by which they have to recognize whether the object name starts with a consonant or a vowel. For instance, the picked image is of a ball, the learner will say “ball” “b for ball” “b is a consonant”.


Online games
This game is by which is a very simple game. The learners have to differentiate between vowels and consonants. They have to put the vowels and consonants on the right sides. This game enables the learners to identify as well as to distinguish between vowels and consonants.

This is another online game by EZ School which is to choose the odd man out. The learner will be given three options out of which he/she has to pick the odd letter out. The clusters will be of either vowels or consonants.
This link is to another online game given by fun the game has several cards that have both consonants and vowels and the learns have to do the right match.

Helpful Videos

  • This video is by, which gives an introductory video for consonants and vowels. The video also tells the differences between vowels and consonants.
  • This video link is to vowels practice video by Shemaroo Kids. It is an animated demonstration given by a teacher to a class of young learners. Emphasize on the repetition of the vowels along with the video.


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