Long Vowels

What are they?
We already learned about short vowels in our blog entitled consonants and short 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.

This site has demonstrated audio-visual utterances of all long and short vowel sounds. This could be useful for both teaching and learning.

How to recognize the long vowels?

When a vowel says its name, it is a long vowel. A short vowel sound is a vowel sound that does not say its own name. When reading a word that uses a short vowel sound, we will say the sound that the letter can make is not its actual name. So in the case of “A,” the word “main” might have a long “A” sound because we pronounce the “A” as /ā/, whereas the word “man” has a short vowel sound.


Vowels Short Long
A a /æ/

Ex: fat


Ex: fate

E e /ɛ/

Ex: wet


Ex: wheat

I i /ɛ/

Ex: win


Ex: wine

O o /ɒ/

Ex: bot


Ex: boat

U u /ʌ/

Ex: cup


Ex: cube


How do we start about?

The teacher can play this introductory video about long and short vowels. The teacher must emphasize on long vowel sounds. This video is by study.com narrated by Ira Heinichen. The teacher can use the technique of comparing the short and long vowel sounds.

Make a Chart
Make a chart specifically for long vowels with examples. This chart can be made as an activity in the classroom itself. Adding in more examples is always beneficial. Put this chart up in the classroom and point out the vowels using a ruler. Let the learners recognize the vowel and repeat the examples after the teacher. Practicing this regularly can improve their vowel recognition. An example of a chart has been mentioned below.


-Making a comparative chart between short and long vowel sounds also is another good chart idea for the class. The images provide a visual aid to the learners and learning long vowels in comparison to short vowels helps understanding better. An example for the same has been as follows.1ac4cfcd0b92224df229bb4662b2a94d


Strategies to be used

Singing songs of vowel sounds repetitively also acts as a practice for long vowels. The use of songs and melody in the classroom sets the learning atmosphere which enhances the teaching-learning activities. Music also helps boost memory and makes learning better. This is an example a song of long vowel sound ‘a’, ‘u’ and ‘o’ by Pinterest.  


Roll a Long Vowel
This is an example of a board game by measuredmom.com that has simple rules. The teacher can print the game board and grab a dice and playing pieces. The learners can take turns and roll the dice. Then check the key at the top of the page, and move to the closest picture with that vowel sound. Whoever gets to the last space first, wins!


Long Vowels Sort
The teacher can give a long list of simple words with vowel sounds. The learner has to sort these words out by uttering them. He/she should be able to recognize the vowel sounds from the words. The next step is to sort these words into long and short vowel sounds. The learner must know to differentiate between long and short vowels. The final step for the learners is to fill in the table given below.


Online games

This is an online game for long vowels by turtle diary.com. As grammar learning is an interactive lesson for young learners, this game helps them get introduced to the concept of vowels, particularly, long vowels. This acts as a good game because it uses simple examples. The learners have to pick the examples having a long vowel sound and they will be awarded points. This game has two practice sessions; the first one being the identification of long vowel sounds and the second is to spell out the words with long vowel sounds. As the words are uttered, the learners learn the accurate pronunciation.    

‘Make a match’ is an online game by ‘Starfall’ for long vowel sounds. The game is very simple where the learner has to turn the cards. A few will have the word with the long vowel sound and the other will have the image. The right matches will help the player earn points. Make sure the learners are uttering the vowel sounds as they are making the matches.

A game for the practice of both long and short vowels by Education.com. a set of objects are given as options and the player has to recognize them and put them in the right basket. One basket is for long vowels and the other for short vowels. Practicing vowels in comparison helps to learn them better.


This video is directed towards the teaching and learning of long and short vowels. The video is by Stickyball TEFL and is called – ESL Phonics Lesson: Short and Long Vowels – Word List and Sentences. It has a comprehensive list of words and sentences which are helpful in understanding both long and short vowels.

This video link is to Singing The Long And Short Vowel Song by The Last Roundup. The video is a song for long and short vowel sounds. The teacher can play this video and make the learners sing along.

This video link is to Long And Short Vowel Trucks by Vids4Kids.tv. this can be played in the classroom and the learners can repeat after the video.

You can explore many videos like these that can be very helpful to teach your child.




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