Red Cat Reading Teach phonics short i sound

Teach Phonics: Short “i” Sound — for Parents

Red Cat Reading Team Phonics

Introducing the Short “i” Sound

The short “i” sound, which is the vowel sound in “hit” and “big,” is an important sound for new readers to learn. Start with words where the short “i” comes first, like “igloo” or “iguana,” so that your child can hear the “i” sound clearly.

The short i sound says “ih,” as opposed to the long i sound, that says “i” (like in “pie,” or “ice”).

Once you and your child have practiced with words that begin with short “i”, you can move up to words that have short “i” in the middle. There are lots more of these! A few examples are “fig,” “pig,” “mitt,” “bit,” “fit,” “bin,” “pin,” and “win.” This is a great time to play with rhyming words, songs, and books that use the short “i” sound.

The short “i” sound can be tricky though! In some regional accents, especially, the short “i” sound sounds very similar to the short “e” sound. Take care when teaching to enunciate clearly (I had to practice a lot as a 2nd grade teacher with a Southern accent!).

As always, make phonics time fun! Choose a time when you and your child are both relaxed. Approach these games like play more than work, and your child will learn without even realizing it!

Red Cat Reading: phonics short i sound

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Play “Spin a Word”

Spin a Word is a game pairing “word families” with starting letters. Word families are the last two letters of a consonant-vowel-consonant word, so the “ig” in “pig,” or the “in” in “bin.” First, make a “spinner.” You can print this one out and attach a paperclip through the center so it can “spin.”

Red Cat Reading: Teaching Phonics Short i Words

Next, make a sheet of “fill-in-the-blank” words. That is, you want to have just the first letters with room to write in the word family endings. Here is an example:













To play, help your child to spin the spinner and write the word family ending in the blank. Read the word together. Is it a real word or not? This can result in a lot of silly words, but either way, they will get practice hearing and reading the short “i” sound. You can print more than one copy of the fill-in-the-blank words, if you’d like, and see what words you come up with the second time around.

Red Cat Reading Teaching Phonics short i sound – I Spy Game

I Spy

This is a great activity for if the weather outside isn’t great or if you simply haven’t had much time to prepare something special. Find a book with lots of pictures that your child enjoys. Books by Richard Scarry work especially well for this game! Now, instead of reading the words to the story, look through the pictures together and ask your child what he sees. You can offer a few things you see, too (“I see a lion driving a car!). Then, listen to the words you are coming up with together and “hunt” for the short “i” sound. It might go like this,

You: “Let’s see, ‘car’ do you hear ‘ih’ in that word?”

Kid: “Caarrr… No?”

You: “That’s right, no ‘ih’ in ‘car.’ What else do you see?”

Kid: “I see a pig!”

You: “Do you hear an ‘ih’ in ‘pig’?”

Kid: “Piiiggg… yes!”

You: “That’s right!”

You may need to help point out some words with short “i” sounds (maybe there is a dolphin with a fin?). Keep going as long as it is fun, but don’t force it. These games have lots of “replay” value, so don’t be afraid to try these more than once. Enjoy!

Kids will have loads of fun with Red Cat Reading books!

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Spin a Word game inspired by “Miss Giraffe”.