Known by my students as, “Pen caps on, switch colors now,” Focus on Vowels provides black-line masters from which 12 guided practice student booklets can be generated. Individual assessment pages are included in each of the student booklets. Students use color markers to trace vowels and consonants in contrasting colors so that visual representations of the patterns that control long and short vowel sounds emerge. In this way, struggling students discover the patterns in a "hands-on" way. The materials are specifically designed for readers who are struggling with blending and/or making the transition from short vowel to long vowel single-syllable words. . By using and rotating color markers and by tracing the targeted letters while chorusing the corresponding sounds (ie: the a says /ă/, the a says /ă/), both tactile/kinesthetic and auditory dimensions are added to the instruction. On-task behavior is high in most cases because the movement involved in the rotation of the markers encourages students experiencing attention deficits to stay focused, and some students that resist writing in pencil will readily use color markers.
These materials may not be suitable for students with severe visual impairment.