There are two types of word sounds for the letter i: short i and long i.
Here are some examples of each sound:
Short i: in, it, is, sit, lit
Long i: ice, light, time, pie, by
At the kindergarten stage, children are already expected to know words such as “like” and “into.” We can help children learn the sounds through repetition, flashcards, and sounding out the words.
Let’s look at some common short ‘i’ and long ‘i’ vowel sounds words that we can introduce to children.
Short I Vowel Word Sounds
The short ‘i’ vowel is made with only one mouth position. The International Phonetic Alphabet symbol (IPA) for the ‘i’ English short vowel is /ɪ/.
What are short i vowel word sounds?
Short ‘i’ vowel word sounds are the sounds that the letter ‘i’ makes in words like in, it, is, sit, lit. The letter ‘i’ usually has a short sound when it is followed by a consonant.
What are some common short i vowel words?
Here is a non-exhaustive list of short ‘i’ vowel sounds. Most of the words contain three or four letters which are perfect for a beginner.
- ib: bib, crib, rib, jib
- ic: pick, sick, kick, nick, lick
- id: kid, lid, did, hid, rid, skid, slid
- if: gift, rift, sift
- ig: pig, wig, fig, gig, dig, big, rig, zig, jig
- il: ill, mill, kill
- im: swim, dim, him, slim, trim
- in: fin, bin, gin, pin, win, tin, thin, chin, skin, twin, sing, ring
- ip: skip, hip, dip, nip, rip, sip, zip, lip
- is: kiss, miss, hiss, this
- it: sit, fit, bit, kit, mitt, with, pit, hit, lit, wit
- ix: fix, mix, six
- iv: give, live
Short I Vowel Word List Printable
Feel free to download these words to help your child sound out words.
Long I Vowel Word Sounds
The long ‘i’ vowel sound is noticeably longer than the short ‘i’ sound. This is represented as /aɪ/ in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
What are long i vowel word sounds?
The long ‘i’ vowel sound is a vowel sound that is pronounced like the letter itself. The long ‘i’ vowel sound can be found in words like ice, light, time, pie, by.
What are some common long i vowel words?
- ie: die, tie, pie, lie, cried, fried, dried, tried
- ice: ice, nice, slice, twice, rice, lice, price, mice
- ide: ride, side, tide, wide, bide, glide, idea
- ife: wife, life, knife
- ike: bike, like, spike,
- ile: mile, file, smile, pile
- ime: time, dime, lime, line, prime
- ine: shine, fine, pine, vine, line
- ipe: wipe, pipe
- ire: wire, tire
- ise: rise, wise
- ite: kite, bite, site,
- ize: size, prize
- igh: high, sigh, bright, light, fight, sight, tonight, knight
- y: my, cry bye, buy, dye, shy, spy, why, sly, July, dry, fry, rely, sky, reply
Long i Vowel Word List Printable
Feel free to download these words to use as flashcards or to help your child sound out words.
How to Teach the Short and Long I Vowel Sounds
Here are some tips and tricks to help your child learn the long and short ‘i’ vowel sound:
- Focus on one vowel at a time
- Say each word with your child and stress the vowel sound
- Create flashcards and play games like a scavenger hunt and bingo.
- Trace the words or get them to write them on their own
You can even think of other words to include outside of the list or make new words. You may be able to think of longer words.
Working on these words can help a child with their rhyming skills. They can think of other rhyming words with the ‘i’ vowel sound. This would also be a good time to discuss words that are real and not real.
For English Language Teachers or Those Looking to Get Started…
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Learning the short and long ‘i’ vowel sounds is an important skill for young learners. By learning how to identify these sounds, they will be better equipped to read and spell words. With some practice, your child will be a pro in no time!
I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain, and online.
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