Short Vowel Word Mapping Activities

I’ve been learning more and more about Structured Literacy and all things Science of Reading lately. Orthographic mapping is the newest element of the science in how we read that I have been learning more about. I have been learning about and implementing it with the students I tutor and my homeschool kids. Orthographic mapping is a highly effective way to help children feel confident reading new words. These word mapping activities allow children to make multiple connections throughout the brain and learn the words quicker and more efficiently than just flashcards to memorize.

Word Mapping Activity Example Video

You can find this resource at my Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s homepage.

Why use word mapping activities instead of flashcard memorization for short vowel learning?

The more connections students can make when learning a new word, the better they can store and retrieve that information from their brains. For example, looking at the word, tapping it out with their fingers for sounds, and then trying to build the word in various ways allows them instant practice and brain work to help store this information in their long-term memories.

When is the right time to use word mapping and sound mats?

After my students have been explicitly taught the specific letter sounds they will see in the words we build on the mat, I start using word mapping mats. For example, I would have letters for the short vowel A and only five other consonants when I started sound mats. I began with Short Vowel A words and only a handful of consonants like; M, S, P, T, and N. Then, I continued to teach more and grow this resource.

What are some of the best ways to organize word mapping activities?

I place the small parts of the center activities and word map mats in the colorful photo boxes. I saw them for a long time online, and finally, last year, I realized how helpful they are for organizing each short vowel activity.

There are a variety of options included for word mapping in this document. Some mats can be printed in black and white on colored paper. While other pages are in color for printing using a colored printer. I recommend laminating the pages and letter cards for continued play. I store the picture cards in photo cases and the laminated mats and photo cases in a mesh zippered puzzle container.

What is a quick warm-up activity with short vowel words using word mapping mats?

Word scrambles are a great daily activity we do as a warm-up activity before teaching a new skill. I use the CVC graphic cards and letter cards for students to create different words quickly. Then for encoding practice, they use the sound box charts to practice further writing these words.

This image includes all the activities in the photo box for short vowel I activities.

The photo box for each short vowel sound includes; the Dot the Spot game, mini erasers in a dollar tree container, tiny star beads for game pieces, a short vowel sound mat, and letter & picture cards for the word scramble and decoding activity. I laminate all the pages in the resource for continued use.

For more word scrambles please see my other posts for short vowel activities that include more scramble style activities.

What are some simple materials that can be added for word mapping?

  • Magnetic bingo chips & magnetic wands
  • Mini erasers
  • Colorful photo boxes (Michael’s has 40% off these normally)
  • Pointers
  • Gems, rocks, loose parts (wooden pieces)

I may earn from qualifying purchases through the affiliate links below from Amazon. These products helped my students to pull apart the sounds in the word and have an easier time decoding them. I also use them for other activities, especially in math. But these have been the most valuable purchases I have made when using mats for decoding.

Word Mapping Amazon Resources

Hand2mind Letter Cubes: We use these daily to help build words. I love that these blocks are color-coded so I can sort and organize them by the skill I’ll teach. An entire skill can fit neatly in a photo case for easy storage and use.

Magnetic Bingo Chips & Wands: I LOVE this resource! My favorite way to use these bingo chips is to write letters using permanent markers on the front side of them. First, I color-coded vowels and consonants. Then sort them in a mini tray, and students must build words. Then they slide over the term they created while reading it to pick up all the letters with the magnetic wand. For easy clean-up, Expo markers erase the permanent marker. But I usually keep a set ready with vowels and the most frequently used consonants. Hand2mind also have a new set of circle letter chips and wands with a great design if you want a premade letter set of magnetic chips.

Mini Erasers: This set has so many different types of animals and fruit that it is used daily with my kids. For math, they love to sort, count, add, subtract, and weigh them. In addition, they are the perfect tiny size for reading and writing for the smaller word mapping mats I made.

Rainbow Mesh Zipper Bags: I use these mesh bags for puzzles, 8 x11.5 documents for all subjects, and organize each subject activity for the day. I also use it as my tutoring bag to sort the student. They fit an entire puzzle to easily fit all the word mapping mats, photo boxes, and additional materials needed for grab and go activity.

Pointers: Kids love using all kinds of pointers to help them decode words. These are small and cheap and were used on repeat with my kids. They don’t fit in a photo case with the smaller center activities, but they do fit in the mesh bags. We also love using invisible ink light pens, and the dollar tree mini magnifying glass with light.

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