Long Vowel Sounds are Important Basic Skills

Phonics Skills, Teaching Long Vowel Sounds May Help Struggling Readers

Long vowel sounds are some of the first reading skills your child will begin learning in a phonics-based reading program. These tips and worksheets will help you reinforce skills in long vowel sounds.

What Are Long Vowel Sounds?

Effective Reading Strategies for Children with Learning Disabilities
Direct instruction has been considered most advantageous for students with reading challenges, but with today’s classroom sizes and the wide range of strengths and needs that kids have, it makes it difficult for one teacher to address each individual need. Getty Images

Long vowel sounds are the long versions of A, E, I, O, and U and their sounds match the spoken name of the letter They are usually taught from preschool through first grade.

Often, a word with a short vowel is transformed into one with a long vowel by placing a silent letter e at the end of the word (or, in the case of e, placing two e's together in a word). For example:

  • A: mat vs. mate
  • E: met vs. meet
  • I: win vs. wine
  • O: dot vs. dote
  • U: tub vs. tube

There are many ways that long vowels are written in English words, which can create confusion when learning to read and to speak aloud the written words.

Common Reasons for Difficulty with Long Vowel Sounds

Reading to Your Child Teaches Long Vowel Sounds
Learning Long Vowel Sounds. Getty Images

Long vowel sounds may be hard for people with learning disabilities because of these issues:

Find Out Why Your Child Isn't Learning Long Vowel Sounds

If your child struggles with long vowel sounds, it is important to find out why:

  1. See your pediatrician. Get a physical examination that includes vision and hearing screening. Ask your child's doctor if she feels that your child needs testing for frequency hearing loss.
  2. If you suspect expressive or receptive language problems, have your child tested by a speech and language pathologist.
  3. Talk with your child's teacher about screening or referral for full assessment to determine if she has a learning disability.

Address Physical Problems Before Teaching Long Vowel Sounds

  • If your child's testing shows vision, hearing, processing, or learning problems, be sure to follow through with recommendations you are given.
  • If your child is diagnosed with speech or language problems, developmental delays, or learning disabilities, continue to work with his school as his program is developed and implemented for special education services.
  • Make sure your child attends school regularly. If possible, try to avoid changes in schools or school districts unless absolutely necessary.
  • Work with your child's teachers to ensure that any work missed because of absences is promptly made up.


Flash cards are good teaching tools to help learn long vowel sounds. Be aware that flash cards may not help if your child has physical problems.

Allow your child about three seconds per card. You can help reinforce your child's skills in correct pronunciation.

SchoolExpress.com Long Vowel Flashcard Sets: free downloadable sets feature a picture of an item and its name. Print them out, cut into cards, and fold the paper so only the picture is showing.


Long Vowel Sound Worksheets

Worksheets help children learn long vowel sounds. If your child does not recognize most of the words on these sheets, you may teach the words first. You may also stop working on these words and save them for a later date.​

SchoolExpress.com Long Vowel Worksheets: free printable worksheets for each long vowel.

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