Each of the five long vowels is represented by six cards with images of words containing that long vowel (for a total of 30 cards plus five key word cards). For example, full-color images for the long vowel o, /ō/, include: robe, rose, globe, score, snore, and drone.
Note: Each long vowel and its sound should have been presented individually to students before it is included in Long Vowel Deck activities.
Goals for use of the Long Vowel Deck
1. Auditory Discrimination of Long Vowels – Many students need practice in identifying the long vowel sounds they hear in words. By practicing with images rather than written words, students can focus solely on the vowel sound rather than on the spelling pattern. Because students typically have less difficulty identifying long vowel sounds than short vowel sounds, there are six image cards for each long vowel sound (in contrast to the 12 image cards for each short vowel sound).
Working with the long o and long u sounds, for example, students can sort the image cards under the correct key word card. The teacher puts the opener /ō/ and unicorn /ū/ key word cards at the top of two columns. Students sort the 12 image cards (6 for each short vowel) into the correct column, either under /ō/ or under /ū/. More than two columns may be used for card sorting if appropriate for students’ skill levels.
The back of the key word card lists all of the images for each long vowel.
Another activity to develop auditory discrimination is a Go Fish game. The long vowel image cards are shuffled and each player is dealt five cards. The other cards form the draw pile. The goal is to make a group of three (“a book”) of the same long vowel. If a player is dealt a group of three of the same long vowel or forms a group during play, they place the group on the table and take another turn. Players ask the player to their left if they have a designated long vowel (“Do you have a long /ō/ as in opener?) If yes, the player’s long /ō/ cards are given and the asker gets another turn. If no, the asker is told to “Go Fish,” and draws from the draw pile. If they draw the vowel sound they are seeking, they get another turn. The player with the most books of three wins the game after all cards have been played.
Go Fish can be played a combination of both long and short vowel cards. One player might ask, “Do you have a short e, /ě / as in elephant?” The next player might ask, “Do you have a long e, /ē/ as in equal?”
2. Making the Concept of Short Vowel and Long Vowel more secure -- Many students are not clear about which is a short vowel and which is a long vowel. To help make those concepts more secure, do card sorts (see above) with both a long and a short vowel. When placing an image card (such as cape) in the long vowel column (under the key word card cake), student will say, “cape, long a, long vowel.” Conversely, when placing an image card (such as bat) in the short vowel column (under the key word card apple), student will say, “bat, short i, short vowel).”