Four Activities to Practice Building CVC Fluency

In Kindergarten, one of the major phonics skill we practice with our students is reading CVC words. Kindergarteners should have a solid grasp on blending CVC words before entering 1st Grade. My goal is to have them read a CVC word fluently by the end of the year. Today, I am going to share a few activities to try with your students to get them reading CVC words fluently.

What is a CVC word?
Before I share the activities, it is important that you understand what a CVC word is. A CVC word is a 3 letter word that starts and ends with a consonant, with a short vowel sound in the middle. Students can blend them using the onset and rime or by sounding out each individual sound. I always teach BOTH ways, but ultimately let the students use whichever way is easier for them.

Why is CVC word fluency important?
In addition to learning sight words, students need to be able to decode words. As they go to each grade level, they will need to learn more phonics skills, such as long vowel sounds, multi-syllable words, and variant vowels. Building a SOLID foundation with CVC words helps students succeed in the long run.

How fast should students be reading CVC words?
The first step to reading CVC words is sounding it out slooooooowly. Your student should be saying each sound correctly. Once they can sound it out, they repeat the word quickly. The next step is for your student to sound it out quickly, in about 3 seconds. This is when you start to work on fluency, rather than sounding out each word. Ultimately they will be able to say a word faster than you can snap your fingers. This step may not happen in Kindergarten, and that's okay. However, they should be able to do this within the first part of the year in First Grade.

Here are some of my favorite activities to practice CVC word fluency!

1. Roll and Read 
Grab a dice and go! Roll and Read activities are an easy way to practice fluency with many different skills. Just print the page and slide into a page protector. You can also display it on the SMART Board or under a Doc Cam. The student comes up, rolls the dice, and reads the first word under the number. Cross off the word with a dry erase marker and continue playing.

To challenge your students, have them read the whole line as fast and accurate as they can! You could also time them to see how fast they can read the words.


This activity can be done as a whole group or in centers! I like to use this as a "warm-up" at my teacher table center during our reading centers. I leave it on the table for my group to start, while I walk around and make sure the rest of the class is ready to go. No time is wasted time in my classroom... I make that one minute count!

You can find a variety of Roll and Read resources here! 

2. Reading Nonsense Words
Nonsense words are any CVC words that are not real words- like pag or fet. Why would you want students to practice reading nonsense words? Well, this HELPS their fluency! Nonsense words are words that students have to sound out. Most students will recognize CVC words and can memorize them if they see it enough times, like "cat" or "run". When reading nonsense words, students will not recognize it, so they have to blend the word. It is a great way to see if a student is really able to decode CVC words.


To practice differentiating Real and Nonsense Words, we like to use this pocket chart sort found in the CVC Words Center Activities pack. Students will pick a word, sound it out, and decide whether or not it is a real or nonsense word. This works as either a whole group activity or a center!

3. I Have, Who Has
Another way to build fluency is through playing "I Have, Who Has" games. Pass out all the cards to your students. The student with "START" goes first, "I have ___, who has ____?" and they have to read the CVC word. The student who has that matching picture stands up and says "I have ____, who has ____?" and reading the CVC word. Continue playing until you reach the "END" card.

If you have too many students, you can have students work in pairs to complete. If you do not have enough students, you can take an extra card or two or have a few students have more than one card.

You can find this I Have, Who Has CVC set here! 

4. Around the World
When I was in elementary school, I LOVED playing Around the World to practice math facts. Well, this game doesn't just have to be for math! I like using this as a fluency game to practice whatever skill we are learning- letter recognition, numbers, sounds, and CVC words!

To play, students can sit at their desks or in a circle. The first student stands up next to the student next to them. Show a CVC word flashcard. The student who reads it first gets to move onto the next student, and the other student sits down. Continue playing until you are back to the start or until time runs out.

Around the World is one of the many activities found in the Unit 5: CVC Words Phonics Curriculum!
If you are looking for a comprehensive way to teach phonics, you can check out the CVC Words Unit in my Teachers Pay Teachers store! It includes 25 pre-written lessons, aligning to the Common Core standards, with a whole group activity ( the four activities above plus MORE), phonics song, and daily phonemic awareness practice. You can also find assessments, 12 hands on center activities, and 80 worksheets to choose from. Everything you need to help YOUR students become successful at reading CVC Words fluently.

I hope these activities will help your students build their CVC fluency!




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