13 Manipulatives Every Kindergarten Teacher Needs to Teach CVC Words

As a kindergarten teacher, one of most vital literacy skills you'll teach all year is CVC words. CVC words are the building blocks to future reading skills. It's safe to say that working on CVC words often is extremely important for young readers. I'm excited to share some of my favorite manipulatives for teaching CVC words with you today.

From hands-on and digital activities to manipulatives and games, your students will have a blast working on words. Want to learn more about CVC words and their importance? You can read more in this CVC words blog post.

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Word Building Resources

1. Magnetic Letters

Magnetic letters are a versatile manipulative for teaching CVC words. They can be used for a variety of activities, such as CVC Sound Mazes, or on their own to practice building words. The different colors for consonants and vowels helps students distinguish the differences in letters and short vowel sounds.

2. Word Building Spinners

Another fun word-building manipulative for kindergarteners is word spinners These neat little wheels help students learn to quickly read and spell CVC words as they spin the blocks to make new words. Picture cards are included as well. These are so great for practicing beginning and ending phoneme substitution.

3. Play Dough

Any kindergarten teacher will tell you that play dough is a classroom staple, so of course it makes the list! Play dough helps strengthen fine motor skills, but did you know it can also strengthen phonics skills? Yes, it's true! Using play dough to build letters and words improves both. Students roll the dough into long snakes to form words or use letter stamps.

Letter Manipulatives

4. Letter Tiles

Letter tiles are extremely versatile when it comes to practicing letters and sounds and decoding CVC words. Students can use these to build words, practice manipulating letters, and more. To keep practice fresh, these are an alternative to magnetic letters.

5. Pop Boards

Your tactile learners will love these. These CVC pop boards combine those famous “pop it” toys with word building. Students pop each bubble as they say the letter sound and then blend the word. These make great morning tub activities.

6. Pocket Chart Letter Cards

The pocket chart center is one of the most popular centers in kindergarten. Pocket charts work well for sorting activities and word-building activities. These pocket chart pictures and letters come with a small pocket chart, but you could easily use a larger pocket chart that you already have in your classroom.

Fine Motor Activities

7. Plastic Spinners

Plastic spinners are probably one of my favorite learning tools. They are versatile because they can be used for math, literacy, games, and more. Plastic spinners take an ordinary activity and make it extraordinary, and engagement immediately goes up. I use these plastic spinners from Amazon. They were used in the Spin and Cover CVC Words image below.

8. Bingo Dabbers

This manipulative for teaching CVC words ranks right up there with play dough on my list of favorite classroom resources. Do a Dot bingo dabbers are my favorite brand. They can use them for various CVC bingo dabber activities, such as word family dab, real vs. nonsense word dab, and more. Be sure to teach your students how to use a bingo dabber by dabbing lightly and not pushing down for longer than a quick second!


9. Letter Dice

Instead of building words with blocks or tiles, students roll foam letter dice to create different CVC words. You can use these to teach real and nonsense words. You'll need a whiteboard and dry-erase markers. Divide the whiteboard into two sections: real words and nonsense words. Students roll the dice and read the word to determine if it is a real word or a nonsense word. Then, they write the word under the correct column. Plus, the foam dice eliminate a ton of noise in the classroom.

10. Dry Erase Dice

Speaking of dry erase, have you seen these dry erase dice? These can be used for any subject, skill, or game, but they are especially useful when working on CVC words. You can write onset on one dice and rime on another. Have students roll the dice, put them together, and read the CVC word. This is another great activity to practice real vs. nonsense words as well.

CVC Games

11. CVC Boom Cards

If there's anything students love, that's digital games they can play on the computer or a tablet. CVC Word Boom Cards are fun, digital task cards that allow students to practice decoding CVC words all while having fun. They are self-checking, so students get immediate feedback on their work. Bonus: It saves the teacher time, too!

13 Manipulatives Every Kindergarten Teacher Needs to Teach CVC Words

12. Small Group Games

Games that students can play in small group not only build phonics skills but they enhance classroom cmmunity, good sportsmanship, and cooperation. Here are some fun

  • Memory Game CVC Version: This game is a version of the classic Memory games. Students uncover two cards to make matches.
  • CVC Cosmic Spelling: This also doubles as a word-building activity. Students can use the spaceships to build CVC words.
  • ABC Cookies: This game can be used at the beginning of the year for letter recognition and later in the year for word building.

13. Zingo Word Game

This last game for teaching CVC words is the perfect CHALLENGE for your advanced learners. Zingo is a fun word building game. Students will slide the Zinger, build a word using the letters and their word card, and try to be the first to fill their card up. There are 2 levels of difficulty for this game.

CVC word practice doesn't have to feel like a drag with the same activities over and over. Incorporating these games and manipulatives for teaching CVC words will infuse fresh learning opportunities into your literacy lessons and centers. Which of these are you going to use first? Comment below and let me know!

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