Learning Short I Sounds With Decodable Stories, Word Lists & Activities

Teaching short vowel sounds to kids is much easier when you have good resources.

We have found that learning short I sounds with decodable stories, word lists and activities is a great way to get kids engaged with this important reading and writing skill. 

Learning Short I Sounds With Decodable Stories, Word Lists & Activities

We take a look at what the short I sound is, why it is important for kids to learn and the many ways (see also: Best Way To Use An ABC Chart For Kids)you can help them to learn it. 

What Is The Short I Sound?

There are two types of vowel sound, long vowels and short vowels.  When young children start learning to read they will typically start with short vowels. More specifically short I and short A. 

These two short vowels are the ones that are most commonly used and kids will hear the most often. But they are also the short vowels that have the fewest spelling variations. 

In phonics the short I sound is formed with relaxed lips and the front area of the tongue in the upper and central area of the mouth. 

The sound of the short I is ‘ih’ as in pig, bin and six. This is opposed to the long I sound such as in ice and pie. In long vowel sound (see also: Long Vowel Sounds With Word Lists & Activities)I, the sound that the letter makes is the same as its name. 

When first introducing children to the short I sound, start with words that begin with it such as igloo or itch. While these are longer words for children to learn, it is actually easier for them to discern the sound at the beginning of a word rather than in the middle. 

Once they have mastered the sound at the start of words children can move on to using words with the short I sound in the middle like pin, fit or bib. 

Make learning these new words fun by using rhymes and songs. 

Why Is It Important For Kids To Learn The Short I Sound?

As we have seen, the short I sound is one of the most frequently used sounds that kids will encounter, so it is important for them to get it right early on. 

It is also a sound that can be easily confused with the short E sound particularly in some regional accents. For example, it can be hard to distinguish between ‘pin’ and ‘pen’ in some areas of the country. 

When teaching the short I sound to children it is really important to make sure that it is being pronounced correctly. 

It is best not to teach young children the two different short vowel sounds of I and E too close together so as not to confuse them. It may be a good idea to let several weeks go by before introducing the short E sound after teaching (see also: Short E Sounds: Everything to Teach Your Child About This Vowel Sound)kids the short I sound. 

To further reinforce learning of the short I sound use some phonic picture cards. Make sure that the pictures accurately represent the short I sound particularly if you are creating your own. 

Short I Sound Families

The following are the common short I word families. The first eight are what you will likely be starting out with when teaching this sound. The bottom four are slightly more difficult, so you can move on to these when your kids are confident with the shorter words. 

Introducing young children to these sounds usually involves CVC words. These are one syllable words that follow a pattern of consonant, vowel, and consonant. Within these word patterns the middle vowel is always a short sound. 

This system is typically used for children who are around four years of age. Using CVC improves their reading fluency, phonetic awareness and their handwriting skills. 

Examples of CVC words using the short I sound are pig, hid, and tip. 

  • -ib
  • -id
  • -ig
  • -im
  • -in
  • -it
  • -ip
  • -ix
  • -ill
  • -ish
  • -ist
  • -ink

These words can be sorted into word families to allow children to practice decoding and give them confidence when reading. 

A word family is a group of words that contain the same two or three letters. So a word family would look like this:

  • bin
  • win
  • fin
  • tin
  • pin

You can add longer words when children get more confident and have learned more letter sounds. So you can also include words like:

  • chin
  • twin
  • skin
  • grin
  • thin

How Do Decodable Stories Help Kids Learn To Read?

To help children learn how to read, short decodable stories are a great tool. These texts only include the graphemes that children have already learned.

This allows them to read the story by themselves without the need for prompting on your behalf. 

The books contain no sounds or combinations of letters that are unfamiliar to the children and are always age appropriate. Decodable stories allow children to build their phonic skills, fluency and very importantly, their confidence with reading. 

Kids can sound out words rather than guessing at words or using the pictures as clues. By encouraging children to sound out words it gives them confidence with their reading skills. 

Decodable Stories With Short I Sound

There are of course limitations when writing stories with controlled text, and it can be difficult to keep them entertaining and interesting. If kids don’t engage with the stories then it won’t help them to learn and progress. 

Decodable stories with great illustrations help to keep kids interested so that even a book with few words (see also: Learning Short U Sounds With Decodable Stories, Word Lists & Activities)can become one of their favorites. Humor is another way to get kids engaged as they love funny and silly stories. 

The writing itself is important as well and action writing will help. If the character has a logical objective and acts to achieve that objective kids will relate to them and want to see what happens next. 

Despite the short and limited text in decodable stories they are very important for giving children the opportunity to read independently. This builds their confidence and makes them want to expand their skills. 

Some of the decodable stories that you can find which include the short I sound are wonderfully illustrated and many are free to print if you need extra resources. 

Learning Short I Sounds With Decodable Stories, Word Lists & Activities

Word Lists For Short I Sounds 

When introducing kids to new short vowel sounds practice makes perfect, so it is important to have lots of different examples of the short I sound for children to learn.

Below is a list of CVC or consonant, vowel, consonant words which are ideal for teaching children this important short vowel sound. 

  • bin
  • bid
  • big
  • bit
  • dim
  • did
  • dig
  • dip
  • fin
  • fig
  • fit
  • gin
  • gig
  • him
  • his
  • hid
  • hit
  • hip
  • jib
  • jig
  • kin
  • kid
  • kit
  • lid
  • lit
  • lip
  • nip
  • pin
  • pig
  • pit
  • rim
  • rid
  • rig
  • rip
  • sin
  • sit
  • sip
  • tin
  • tip
  • win
  • wit
  • zip

When kids are quite confident with these words and can read decodable stories containing them you’ll want to move on to slightly harder and longer words. 

Below is a short list of some of the longer words featuring the short I sound (see also: Short A Sounds: Word Lists, Decodable Texts & Practice Activities)that children can be introduced to once they have gotten used to the ‘ih’ sound in CVC words. 

  • hill
  • kiss
  • pick
  • fizz
  • miss
  • lick
  • sick

Fun Activities For Learning Short I Sound

So when you have introduced the short I sound to your children what kind of activities can you do with them to reinforce what they have learned? 

There are lots of things you can get children to do either in groups, in pairs, or individually. The important thing is that the activity is fun and engaging while also teaching kids about the concept of the short I sound. 

Clip Cards

Clip cards are pieces of card which have CVC words on them with a corresponding picture of the object the word describes. On the right hand side of the card are three boxes containing a vowel in each box. 

The word on the card is missing the vowel needed to complete it. The kids use clothespins to indicate the correct vowel that is missing from the word and which matches the picture. 

If the cards are laminated older kids can use wipeable markers to also write in the missing vowel. A recording sheet is used to help you keep track of which vowel sounds you have covered in these lessons. 

Pin The Fin

Pin the Fin is a great group activity and is played like the traditional game Pin the Tail. It involves a poster of a fish on the board, the children then form a line in front of the board. 

You will show each of them a card, and they need to identify if the card displays a word which contains the short I sound.

If they identify the vowel correctly the kids get to close their eyes and attach the fin to the fish. This is easier with magnetic tape on the back of each fin. 

When the displayed card doesn’t have the short I sound the student doesn’t pin the fin on the fish. 

Build It Mats

Build It Mats allow children to spell out CVC words (see also: Building Words With Lego Bricks)with the short I sound. Each mat has a CVC word and a bright and colorful corresponding picture. Children have a set of letters which are divided into consonants and vowels. 

To help with the activity the vowels are colored red and the consonants are in black. The object of the activity is for the kids to build the word using their set of letters. They can sound out each letter of the word as they are building it. 

Musical Pig

A game for word recognition that kids will love is musical pig, and it also gets them up and moving around. Each child gets a card with a CVC short I sound word. 

You play some music, and they move around the room trading their card with another student, they can swap as many times as the music allows. 

When the music stops you call out ‘Pig’ and whoever has the card with the word Pig on it is the winner of that round of the game. 

Word Dominos

Word dominoes are cards set out like a domino with a word and picture of a short I sound on each one. The object of the game for the children is to match the picture on the previous card laid down with the word that corresponds to it. 

Puzzle Cards

Puzzle cards feature a word and a corresponding picture of a short I sound word. The cards are divided into pieces either like a jigsaw puzzle or into strips. Kids then reassemble the cards to form the correct short I sound word and complete the picture. 

Final Thoughts

We hope that you have enjoyed this guide to learning short I sounds and that it has been helpful and informative for you.

Suzy Anderson
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