How to Make Vowel Sticks

It is so, so important that our kindergarteners and first graders learn those short vowel sounds.  It’s amazing how those five little letters can cause so much havoc in learning to read and write if learned incorrectly.   The vowel sticks activity is a great activity to teach and reinforce short vowel sounds.  Not only can this activity be used during small group instruction, the self-checking feature makes this an awesome literacy center activity too!  To make this activity, you will need large craft sticks, black and red fine point Sharpie permanent markers, a clothespin and a small foam star (optional).  I purchased a package of stars at Office Max in the teacher supply section.  Be sure to make a set for each student in your intervention group.

Step 1:  Print the pdf file with the vowel discs on cardstock.  Cut out the discs along the dotted line.

Step 2:  Glue the vowel discs at the end of each large craft stick.

Step 3:  Write vowels on the craft stick making sure one of the vowels is the correct vowel for the picture.  I wrote 3 vowels on the sticks for this particular activity.  Differentiate this activity by writing all 5 vowels.

Step 4:  With the red permanent marker, place a dot on the backside of the stick behind the correct vowel for the picture.

Step 5:  Adhere the star to the end of the clothespin.

Your students will name the picture, decide which vowel is contained in the word and then clip the clothespin over the vowel.  Students then turn the stick over and if the clothespin is covering the red dot, the answer is correct.

Click the following link to download the Vowel Stick pictures. Vowel Sticks

If you need more activities for teaching short vowel sounds and consonant-vowel-consonant words, be sure to check out the Response to Intervention Short Vowels/CVC Activity Pack.  The pack contains 15 hands-on activities!


The RtI Short Vowels/CVC Activity Pack is available through the Make, Take & Teach website or through my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.


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  1. Dale List says

    Thank you so much for sharing. I am new to K after teaching 3rd (5years) and 1st (7years) I am so looking forward to working with the wonderful 5 and 6 year-olds. The vowel sticks are such a great activity for a station/center.
    Thank you,

  2. doris mehl says

    Hi !
    Thank you so much for your ideas. I am a teacher in germany. I work with handicap children.

  3. catherine williams says

    Thank you very very much for your fantastic resources. I have been teaching Kindergarten in Australia for quite few years and love the new ideas you have. I greatly appreciate your generosity .

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