Current eBook Series: Short Vowel Shorts

RIOMO is Making Learning to Read Fun!

By Tate Johnston on November 21, 2012 in News

We pride ourselves on helping kids like learning to read.

What has been my motivation to write Short Vowel Shorts? My kids. Specifically, my son, Reuel (rhymes with fuel), who is four and has learned all his letter sounds. The next step in learning to read seemed to be putting two letters that he knew phonetically together: it, for example, or on.  So I would write a two letter word like OX with a Sharpie in big thick black capital letters on a Post-It Note. He’d sound it out, and we’d celebrate. After a while, I’d write a series of words. Below OX, I’d write FOX and then BOX. Like this:




He could read them! He’d get excited. We’d get excited. He was reading! And that was about enough reading for one day. I learned from my children’s teachers that these types of groups of words with the same vowel and end consonant were called word families, like red and bed.

Over days and weeks, we continued with these little homemade word families: up and pup, cat and hat (maybe that’s where Dr. Seuss got started!). I used all capitals because Reuel hadn’t learned lower case letters yet. I didn’t use any blends or sight words because he couldn’t sound them out on his own. To read a blend or sight word you have to decode (another learning to read word I learned from my kids’ amazing teachers!) a group of two or more letters all at once as a whole. Conversely, I didn’t use any silent letters like b in thumb or g in gnome, not even silent e’s at the end of words such as “home.” To decode these you have to learn not to make their sound when reading a word. Tricky, tricky.

Then came:




That was almost a sentence! Add an s and you’ve got one: Big pig digs. That seemed more interesting than red bed. There was a character and an action. Maybe I could make a whole story that Reuel could read all by himself! …

[image by Michael 1952 in Creative Commons]

About the Author

Tate JohnstonView all posts by Tate Johnston


Add comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *