Long or Short Vowels?


What sounds do vowels make in your favorite English words? With Crayola® Color Switchers™ Markers, short and long vowels stand out—in bright colors!


1. The English vowels a, e, i, o, and u make different sounds in words. When these letters seem to say their own names, they are often called long vowels. You can hear long vowels in these words: game, heat, life, rope, and cute. Vowels can also make short sounds. You can hear them in hat, pen, gift, hop, and run.

2. Use Crayola Color Switcher Markers to write your favorite words on paper. Look at each word, one at a time. Say the word aloud. Listen for the vowel sound you hear. Is it a long or short vowel sound?

3. Flip the Marker and apply the special color switcher to color-code long vowels and short vowels. For example, you could color vowels that make a long sound yellow and short vowels green. If one vowel is causing another vowel to be long or short (such as a silent e), color code that vowel, too.

4. Read your words once more, paying close attention to the long and short sounds. Post your favorite words on a classroom wall, add them to your personal dictionary, or cut them apart to make favorite word flashcards.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.


  • Focus on blends, digraphs, prefixes, suffixes, or other letter patterns. Or discover small words within large ones. Write words with Overwriters under colors and then highlight specific word parts with over colors.
  • Make more word lists. Exchange them with classmates to color code the vowel sounds.
  • Assessment: Do some children identify specific vowel sounds incorrectly? Repeat the activity focusing on those sounds. Does distinguishing between long and short vowels appear to be a challenge? Focus on one vowel at a time.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Giant Floor Pad
  • Color Switchers™ Markers



  • Grades 1 to 3


  • Language Arts
  • Visual Arts


  • Less than 1/2 hour


  • Children identify English vowel letters and their sounds.

  •  Children read, write, speak, and listen as they distinguish between long and short vowel sounds.

  • Children colorfully label vowel sounds by writing over each vowel in a list of words.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards