This activity was born when I suddenly had the realization that English Language Learners have likely never been exposed to basic English phonics. If they are coming from a first language that has clearly defined vowel phonetics (like Spanish), then the 19 vowel sounds used in English can get really complicated. For me, this lesson was straight out of kindergarten, but for my learners, this was often the first time they'd heard of phonics, even with many of them being 5 years into their English learning.
This interactive speaking activity helps them listen carefully and learn the different pronunciation of the 10 basic vowel sounds; 5 long and 5 short vowel sounds. Then they help one another determine what sounds they hear in 90 different words. This task can be used as a partner task for intermediate to advanced learners or as a listening activity for learners with a basic knowledge of English.
This is a 7-page printable containing 2 pages of an introductory lesson on the long and short vowel sounds and 2 pages that are used for the interactive activity, where learners categorize words based on their vowel sounds. A Teacher Key is also included.
*This activity is based on phonics used in American English. British English phonics may have slight variation.