The letter /v/ is one of the last sounds that students will learn when studying phonics and the English alphabet. The reason for this is /v/ is a less common sound in English. As the letter v sound can be a bit harder to pronounce for younger students, as the sound vibrates off of your lips, which many not be common in other languages.
Spend more time on the vibrating /v/ sound and how to make it with your students. If needed, checkout some phonics books to help say this sound!
Phonics Pronunciation of the Letter V Sound
The letter /v/ sound is usually taught to students while pretending to drive a van, and saying the vvvvvv sound. You can have fun with students and make your action more exaggerated as revving up the engine or turning with the vvvvvv sound. Make this sound by resting your front teeth on your bottom lip, similar to making an /f/ sound, but vibrate this sound with your mouth. As this sound is voiced, your vocal chords will also vibrate when making this sound. If your students are having a hard time making the /v/ sound, and instead are making the /f/ sound, take time to show them the difference between the vibrating /v/ and voiceless /f/.
Practice the /v/ sound with your students clearly by holding the /v/ sound for a few seconds, to show them that this sound has no inherent end. Once your students can say and repeat this sound well, add in the vowel variations as in va,va,va, vee,vee,vee, voo,voo,voo. After they are able to blend these sounds well and can remember the /v/ sound, move on with the three letter CVC words for more blending.
Checkout this letter v sound video for help!
As students usually master the /v/ sound at an older age, use visual hints to help them with this sound. You can also use a mirror and show them how to form the sound with their mouth and teeth, and what they need to do to correct this. Have them feel the vibrations in their throat or lower lip when making the /v/ sound. You may also try a technique by putting your four fingers on your chin and move them away as you say the /v/ sound. This actions shows the “blowing away” of the /v/ sound.
Also encourage them with pictures of cars, and pretend to be driving fast while saying vvvvvvv.
You can pick slow and fast cars, vans, trucks, and others that go vvvvvrrrrooom!
ABC Sound Books
Here are some ABC books to help with learning the alphabet:
ABC (Letterland Picture Books) on Amazon
A is for Apple (Smart Kids Trace-And-Flip) on Amazon
A good activity for students to practice the /v/ sound is by pretending to be in a big race. You can pretend to be racing other while saying the vvvvv sound, either by running around in an open area, or by sitting with toy cars.
Another idea is by having a conversation, but adding “very very” in front of things, such as “Are you hungry, or very very hungry?”. “I am very very happy, are you very very happy?”.
Letter /v/ Blending
As the letter /v/ can be a bit harder for students, especially younger children, be sure to practice the vibration of the sound. You can even review the /v/ and /f/ sound together, and have students learn the differences in the two letters with voiced and voiceless. This will also come in handy when they are learning the /th/ sound, as this sound also has the two versions of voiced and voiceless. Once the student can say and repeat the /v/ sound well, move on with adding the vowels with them. However do not pressure the students too much if they cannot say the /v/ sound.
Ask your students to blend with the easy sounds at first, such as va,va,va, vee,vee,vee and voo,voo,voo. Once they can blend these sounds well, you can introduce the three letter CVC words as in v-a-n, v-e-t, v-a-s-e. As the letter /v/ is not a very common letter in English phonics and words, you may need to introduce more 4 and 5 letter words for the students to practice blending. By now, the student should be able to blend most three letter CVC words independently, and longer words with a little help.
After the students can say the /v/ well, review their blending to make sure they can do it well. As with other letters, it’s just as important to introduce words that end with the /v/ sound as well, such as l-o-v-e, d-o-v-e, f-i-v-e. With these words you will need to explain the exceptions for these vowels, as they have not learned this upper level phonics yet. Otherwise, they will pronounce these words as l-ah-v, d-ah-v, and f-ee-v. Also make sure they do not end the words with a “v-uh” sound. The last 5 or 6 letters of the alphabet should also be a sort of test to see how well your students blending as come along.
If your child still struggles with this sound, be sure to checkout some ABC books to help them out.
Once the students can say and blend the /v/ sound well, they can move on with learning more everyday words. Introduce these words so they can learn more everyday words!
There are many objects that start with /v/, such as van, vase and violin. You can pretend to drive a van while saying the vvvvvv sound.
Many important verbs have the letter /v/, like love, live and give. You can draw hearts and talk about love!
For the more advanced students, challenge them with longer /v/ words such as vegetable, volcano and volleyball. They may even know the words lava!
Letter /v/ sentence reading
After learning how to say and blend words with the letter /v/, it’s good to introduce basic sentences to the children to read. These sentences are meant to be basic for students learning the alphabet letters and phonics as their second language.
Here are some short sentences you can read together with the students.
A big van.
Five big vans.
A very good vet.
I love (luv) the vet.
It’s important your students practice reading short sentences, so they gain the confidence and can practice their blending skills. Therefore, encourage your students to read these sentences to improve their phonics and blending with the letter /v/ !
Letter V tongue twisters
The letter /v/ tongue twisters can be fun to say together. Get your teeth and lips ready for some fun /v/ sentences!
My very vain uncle vern has a vampire bat.
Victor’s friend vincent rinsed his vests in vinegar
Very volatile vets visited several wives.
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