General Question

thebeadholder's avatar

How do I explain vowels to my five year old?

Asked by thebeadholder (862 points ) June 5th, 2008

What are they? How do they work? How do I simplify the answer to respond to my five year old?

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10 Answers

robmandu's avatar

I have the opposite problem… my two y.o. talks like she’s from a land without consonants.

Melonking's avatar

Say they are the keys on your computer that keep falling off.

MisterBlueSky85's avatar

Maybe you could tell your five-year-old that vowels make the “sound” of the word. Try giving some examples of words without vowels. “Cat” becomes “ct.” “Dog” becomes “Dg.” “Anti-establishmentarianism” becomes… well, you get the picture.

Can words rhyme without vowels? That could help, too.

Mangus's avatar

I had this exact problem recently! I tried to explain the difference between a consonant and vowel to my 8-year-old. He told me “that doesn’t make any sense at all”. I don’t think I did a good job. :(

Seesul's avatar

Vowels are letters that can “say their name” when used in a word. Actually, we do a disservice by teaching the alphabet by name to a child first, as in the ABC song. I taught my child the sounds first, in the order of the alphabet, and he learned the song later in school. I think it helped a great deal, as he learned to read much earlier than his counterparts. Just tell your child that when letters are used in words, they each have special sounds. The vowels are special because they can also say their names. Then give examples.

Go through the alphabet by writing them out in lower case and make the vowels a different color, usually red vs blue, that way they stick out. Say each one as you go, pointing out how the vowels can be different.

MrKnowItAll's avatar

Consonants are free, but you must buy vowels from Vanna.

Mangus's avatar

@ Seesul: Brilliant! SO much better than my attempts. Funny how one can spend so much time explaining the world and helping one’s kids understand it, and then happen upon a simple ubiquitous concept that you just can’t explain simply.

babiturtle36's avatar

Here’s a little song I taught my preschool class. So they remember them.

a,e,i,o,u are my vowels
repeat
I have 5 little vowels to help me read
a,e,i,o,u are my vowels

Seesul's avatar

…you think that’s hard? Wait till you get to fractions. Pre-schoolers actually grasp them better than 5th Graders. Hint: food (pizza, pie, cake, chocolate bars, anything that works).

tupara's avatar

There are lots of ‘a e i o u’ songs out there ( one to the tune of b.i.n.g.o and another to ‘old macdonald’ ). We have a song for teaching Maori vowel sounds called ‘a e i o u’
It runs through all the consonant sounds with each vowel – ‘a ha ka ma – a ha ka ma na nga pa ra ta wa wha, e he ke me – e he ke…etc. It’s so catchy it was recorded as a pop song and became a hit.

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